Gymnastics: No. 5 Red Rocks conquer No. 9 Georgia on Senior Night

IMG_6959 Emily Juchau

The No. 5 Red Rocks were victorious on Senior Night, defeating No. 9 Georgia 197.675 to 197.125 on Saturday. Seniors Kailah Delaney, Breanna Hughes and Kassandra Lopez delivered signature final performances at the Huntsman Center in front of 15,403 fans, which brought the season average to 14,928 fans per meet, clinching the Utes’ sixth straight all-women’s sports attendance title as well as the Red Rocks’ 12th straight national gymnastics attendance title.

“It was awesome to be out in front of our fans after three weeks on the road,” said all-around top performer Breanna Hughes. “They really give us an extra boost and extra energy knowing that they’re there cheering for us.”

The Red Rocks (9-1) have now defeated five top-20 opponents on the season with their only loss coming on the road at UCLA six weeks ago. Georgia, despite having lost six meets prior to Utah, is a talented squad who has defeated two top-3 teams in the nation (Florida and LSU).

The Utes began with the vault, totaling a team score of 49.225, led by Hughes with a score of 9.875. Baely Rowe, Tiffani Lewis and Delaney each scored a 9.850 on the apparatus to complete the solid event score. Meanwhile, Georgia, in its first rotation of the evening, competed in the bars, scoring 49.125. Brittany Rodgers led the Bulldogs with an impressive 9.925.

In the second rotation, the two teams switched events, with the Utes on the bars and the Bulldogs on the vault. Rowe impressed the crowd with an outstanding 9.950 score, while Sabrina Schwab and Hughes each were awarded a score of 9.925. The Utes’ team score on the bars was 49.550, adding to the running score to make it 98.775 after two rotations. Georgia then proceeded to conquer the Utes’ vault score with a 49.375, but the Bulldogs still trailed, standing at 98.500.

In the next rotation, Lopez scored a career-high of 9.950 in the beam. The faithful Utah fans proceeded to give Lopez a standing ovation following her final performance at the Huntsman Center. The Utes finished the beam event with a total of 49.325, giving them a slight lead overall, 148.100-147.775, heading into the final rotation.

In the final event of the evening, floor, the Utes received a stellar team score of 49.575. Red Rocks fans rose to their feet, as Hughes finished the incredible evening off with a perfect 10. The Utes’ two all-around performers, Hughes and Rowe, scored 39.650 and 39.525, to finish in first and second respectively.

“We had to face a little bit of adversity — that’s common in sports — but we battled through that, and that just shows you the determination of this team,” said co-head coach Tom Farden.

The Utes will spend the week preparing for the Pac-12 Championships next Saturday in Seattle, Wash. The Red Rocks will be attempting to win their third consecutive conference championship.