Utah finally has some clarity on how the rest of its season is going to play out.
After suffering its first loss in over a year, Utah will return to the mat this weekend as the Pac-12 conference announced its finalized schedule for the remaining 2021 season.
With the schedule finalized, head coach Tom Farden can now finalize his roster and figure out his plan to get the Red Rocks peaking at the right time towards the end of the season.
The nation has taken notice of how special the Red Rocks program is as they'll be featured on the ESPN Networks at least two more times throughout the season.
“We are thrilled that ESPN continues to showcase women’s gymnastics and our program,” said Utah head coach Tom Farden. “Viewers nationwide had the opportunity to see us this past weekend on ESPN2, while two additional meets will be nationally televised on ESPNU this season and we could not be any more pleased. The extensive coverage by ESPN and the Pac-12 Networks for every meet through the end of February is something we do not take for granted.”
*Saturday, Jan. 23 vs. Arizona / 1 p.m., Pac-12 Network
*Saturday, Jan. 30 vs. Washington / 8 p.m., ESPNU
*Saturday, Feb. 6 @ Arizona State / 1 or 7 p.m., Pac-12 Network
*Monday, Feb. 15 @ Stanford / 3 p.m., Pac-12 Network
*Friday, Feb. 19 vs. UCLA / 7 p.m., ESPNU
*Friday, Feb. 26 vs. Cal / 7 p.m., Pac-12 Network
*Friday, March 5 @ Oregon State / TBD
*Friday, March 12 vs. Utah State (Senior Night) / 7 p.m.
*Saturday, March 20 @ Pac-12 Championships (West Valley City, UT) / TBD, Pac-12 Network
*Thursday, April 1 @ NCAA Regional 1st Round / TBD
*Friday, April 2 @ NCAA 2nd Round Semifinal / TBD
*Saturday, April 3 @ NCAA Regional Finals / TBD
*Friday, April 16 @ NCAA Championships Semifinal (Fort Worth, TX) / TBD
*Saturday April 17 @ NCAA Championships (Fort Worth, TX) / TBD
The Red Rocks ended their 14-match winning streak when they fell 197.025-196.550 to No. 2 Oklahoma.
“Hats off to Oklahoma,” Farden said. “They won today and had an incredible day. The right team won.”
One Ute who did not disappoint was sophomore Maile O'Keefe.
She shined throughout all four of her routines, notching the top score for the Utes in the vault, beam and bars portions. Her score of 9.950 on the beam was the highest of the competition, while her 9.875 on the bars placed second overall and 9.850 was third in the vault competition.
O'Keefe's performance allowed her to win the overall with a score of 39.550, narrowly taking down Oklahoma's Anastasia Webb's 39.525. Utah's Cristal Isa finished in third overall with a score of 38.975, a far cry from her 39.400 she posted during the 'Best of Utah' event.
“Maile was in her zone tonight,” Farden said. “She came out on bars, and as soon as I saw that and the vault, we knew that Maile was here. She was one of the individuals that came to play. Brilliant performance by Maile. I think that was the best beam routine of her career. She gave us a good shot in the arm, and I wish we had taken advantage of it.”
Sydney Soloski was the other Ute who shined as her floor routine of 9.900 tied with Oklahoma's Emma LaPinta for the top score.
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