ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The No. 6 Utah gymnasts put a damper on No. 5 Michigans senior night by scoring a season-high 197.525 to beat the host Wolverines (197.050). The Utes, who improved to 8-1 overall in picking up their first win at Michigan since 2012, have now topped 197.000 in six straight meets.
I told the team we are rounding into championship form, said coach Tom Farden. I liked the demeanor, which was light and fun. Theyre at their best when they are having fun and they had fun from start to finish tonight. Our team chemistry is at a high right now.
For the first time this season, Utah trailed at the midway point, but the meet would be decided on the balance beam. On the third rotation, while Utah was posting a 49.375 on floor, the Wolverines suffered two falls off the balance beam, scoring a 48.800 and allowing the Utes to take a half tenth lead entering the final event.
Michigan rallied furiously on the final rotation, scoring a 49.475 on floor, but Utah snuffed any hopes of a comeback with a season-best 49.450 on the beam.
Utahs beam set featured back-to-back 9.90s from Kassandra Lopez and Baely Rowe and a 9.925 from anchor Maddy Stover. Setting them up were steady routines from Samantha Partyka (9.85), MaKenna Merrell (9.775) and Breanna Hughes (9.875).
We had a nice bar set to start things out, finished strong on vault and had a beautiful floor, said Farden. To close out the meet with that beam set was tremendous.
Hughes scored career highs on vault (9.90, tie), bars (9.975) and in the all-around (39.650), tying for first on the two events and finishing second in the all-around. Stover tied for first on beam (9.925).
Utah opened the meet with a season-tying 49.475 on the bars, led by Hughes 9.975. Lopez tied her own career high with a 9.925 and after one event, Utah led UM 49.475-49.275.
Hughes picked up her second victory of the night one event later, scoring a 9.90 on vault to lead a 49.275 set. But Michigan blazed to a 49.500 on the bars take the lead at the midway point, 98.775-98.700.
Utah got back in the game on the third rotation, aided by two falls off beam by Michigan. Tiffani Lewis and Hughes scored 9.90s from the second and sixth position, respectively, in a 49.375 floor set. After three rotations, Utah led by a half tenth, 148.075-147.575.
The lights out beam set by Utah assured their fourth-straight win and their third straight on the road against top 15 teams (No. 12 Stanford, No. 14 California and No. 5 Michigan).
Up next for the Utes is their own senior night on March 12 in the Huntsman Center against No. 10 Georgia. It is the final regular season home meet of the season and for seniors Hughes, Lopez and Kailah Delaney. Utah will also host an NCAA regional on Apr. 2.