Lady Utes’ Gymnasts Beat BYU In Preseason Opener

Lady Utes' Gymnasts
2016 Lady Utes' gymnastic team. Photo Courtesy: University of Utah

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Jan. 9, 2016 (Gephardt Daily) — On opening night in the Huntsman Center, the Lady Utes’ gymnastics team beat Brigham Young in a preseason match-up.

It was an opportunity for those to see what the Lady Utes had to bring to the table with their new lineup after winning back-to-back Pac-12 Championships in 2014 and 2015, and finished second in the nation last year.

Freshmen Sabrina Schwab and MaKenna Merrell made their Ute debuts and upperclassmen Samantha Partyka, Kari Lee and Breanna Hughes played larger roles than last year when they apprenticed behind three senior all-arounders.

The 196.175 score to BYU’s 193.850 was Utah’s lowest since 2013, but coach Tom Farden said it was not indicative of the team’s performance.

“We coaches are very pleased with how our (gymnasts) competed, and also how they didn’t allow outside factors such as the tight scoring and longer-than-usual TV delays to bother them. They showed all the signs of being good competitors and we’ll continue to improve with a few meets under our belts.”

Junior Baely Rowe, whose uneven bars performance garnered the highest score of the night, said, “We did a really good job. This was a great start to the season.”

There is a new, more rigorous vault-scoring table this year that partially accounted for some of the lower than normal scores. Only three Utes received a 9.80 or better.

All-America senior Kailah Delaney took first place with a 9.85, while Breanna Hughes received a 9.825.

The highlight of the night came on the final rotation when Schwab scored a 9.90 on the floor exercise. Schwab secured a Ute victory sweep in the four events, joining Delaney on vault, Rowe on bars and Stover on beam.

“I’ve never experienced anything like this,” said Schwab. “I’ve never competed in front of this many people, and to hear them roar like that was the greatest feeling ever.”



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here