ST. CHARLES, Mo. — The No. 4 Ute gymnasts tied the school record for most consecutive 197 scores but fell from the ranks of the unbeatens, finishing second to No. 5 LSU in the GymQuarters Invitational on Friday. The final scores were LSU 197.250, Utah 197.075, Missouri 196.475 and Stanford 195.850.
Utah (6-1, 4-0 Pac-12), which has started the season with seven 197-plus scores for the first time in history, won’t have long to like its wounds. The Utes will meet the Cardinals (5-5, 0-4 Pac-12) in a Pac-12 dual meet on Monday in Stanford.
The Utes led through two events, posting the best vault score of the night (49.375) and tying for the best bar score (49.275). But a wobbly night on the balance beam allowed LSU to surge ahead in the third rotation by three-tenths of a point. The Utes outscored the Tigers on the final round but couldn’t make up enough ground to overtake them.
“We had every intention of running the table (this season), but it wasn’t our day,” said co-head coach Tom Farden. “We had some incredible vaults and we tied LSU on bars, which is a great event for them. Then we opened the door on beam. Fifty percent of the lineup did their jobs and the other three performers had significant errors. I told the team afterwards that we have to simply find a solution on that event.”
Kari Lee was one who performed well on the beam, winning her third straight title on the event with a 9.90. Missy Reinstadtler tied for first on bars (9.925) and MyKayla Skinner tied for first in her return to the floor lineup (9.925). Skinner placed second in her first all-around competition in three weeks, scoring a 39.550 behind LSU’s Sarah Finnegan (39.650).
The Utes got off to a nice start on vault and their 49.375 set was headlined by a 9.925 from MaKenna Merrell-Giles and 9.90s from Macey Roberts and Skinner. After one rotation, Utah’s 49.375 led LSU (49.275), Missouri (49.250) and Stanford (49.000).
Reinstadtler picked up her second bar win of the season to pace the Utes in round two. Utah’s 49.275 bar score brought its two-event total to a 98.650, ahead of LSU (98.525), Missouri (98.275) and Stanford (97.875).1 comment on this story
The good run ended on the balance beam, beginning with wobbles by Shannon McNatt and Sydney Soloski. Merrell-Giles (9.85) and Lee (9.90) were brilliant in the middle of the lineup before freshman Adrienne Randall succumbed to nerves with a big break. Skinner (9.85) ended the set with a solid routine, but the damage was done. After three events, LSU’s lead had swelled to 148.000-147.700 over the Utes.
The Utes battled gamely on floor but the help they needed from LSU on vault didn’t materialize. Soloski redeemed herself from last week’s fall on floor, scoring a 9.90, and Skinner finished the night with a 9.925 and her 17th individual win of the season.