Pac-12 Gymnastics Week 7 Recap: Utah tops UCLA, Arizona State defeats Arizona in rivalry meets

By Eva Geitheim | February 21, 2024
Utah's Maile O'Keefe on floor at the 2023 NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championships.
© Matthew Smith/Gymnastics Now

This week featured two huge rivalry meets in Pac-12 gymnastics, with both road teams winning. Arizona State started off the week with a huge win over Arizona. Meanwhile, Utah came back to beat UCLA in the final Pac-12 dual meet between these programs.

#4 Utah @ #8 UCLA

Final score: Utah: 197.300 – UCLA: 196.975

There were dozens of UCLA gymnastics alumni on hand at Pauley Pavilion to watch this special Presidents’ Day meet. Los Angeles Rams Super Bowl winning quarterback Matthew Stafford was also in attendance with his wife, Kelly, and their four daughters, creating a spectacular atmosphere for the final Pac-12 dual meet between these two rival schools.


After a rocky first two rotations, the Red Rocks fell behind by over four-tenths on the road. However, Utah knew it was far from over. Starting with a 49.500 on floor, Utah took the lead away from UCLA heading into the final rotation. With an impressive 49.400 on beam — an event the judges were noticeably judging tighter in this meet — Utah pulled away with a narrow win.

“We had a bit of a slow start on our first two events,” head coach Carly Dockendorf said after the meet. “But what I really liked was that this team never gave up and they just fought all the way to the end.”

Maile O’Keefe was notably clutch on beam, scoring a 9.975 with her final routine to seal the victory for Utah. Abby Paulson also came up big for Utah on the last two events, with a 9.900 on floor and a 9.925 on beam.

Though the rowdy Pauley Pavilion crowd can be intimidating for some, Paulson shared that she loves getting the opportunity to compete at Pauley. Paulson enjoys the atmosphere, sparkles and confetti while competing at UCLA, which all add to the intensity of the meet.

Following this meet, Utah returns home to the Huntsman Center where they will take on Stanford on Friday. They will be doing so without Amelie Morgan, who competed in her last Utah meet for the next few weeks before heading back to England to begin the road to earning a spot on the British team for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. Without Morgan, the Red Rocks are expected to give a few extra opportunities to Elizabeth Gantner and Camie Winger.


Despite returning to Pauley Pavilion, the Bruins were unable to notch a 197 and fell to Utah. This meet started out on a good note for the Bruins, who scored a season-high 49.525 on vault. This kind of score is one the Bruins have dreamed about earning on vault after all the talk of it being their weak event. Of course, it doesn’t hurt when Selena Harris is notching her second consecutive perfect 10 on the event.

After vault, a solid 49.300 on bars gave the Bruins a comfortable lead halfway through the meet. This lead would unravel on beam, perhaps the event where the absence of Emma Malabuyo was most noteworthy. In her place, Frida Esparza fell, forcing the Bruins to count three scores in the 9.7s. Even without Malabuyo, the Bruins fell short of their beam standard. With slight bobbles and UCLA unable to stick their dismounts, they earned just a 48.875 on the event.

Though the Bruins had a chance to take the lead back on floor, they were unable to reach their floor party heights on that event either. Both Emily Lee and Brooklyn Moors went out of bounds as UCLA scored just a 49.275 on floor, their second-lowest total on the event all year.

All in all, the Bruins will have to get back to work. They know their potential from their last three meets, but must live up to that quality of gymnastics if they want to get back to Nationals.

Next, UCLA will host another top Pac-12 competitor when Cal comes to town on Sunday.

#20 Arizona State @ #17 Arizona

Final score: Arizona State: 196.850 – Arizona: 196.250

The Sun Devils got a huge win over the Wildcats. Arizona State not only defeated their rival, but outperformed a team that ranked higher than them heading into the week.

Arizona State

It was a sweet victory for ASU as they took down their in-state rival for the eighth consecutive time in a dual meet. Even more impressive, Arizona State got the win in Arizona’s house.

The Sun Devils had their best rotation on vault, putting in a 49.350, almost 1.5 tenths higher than their average on the event. Arizona State got two 9.9s from Alex Theodorou and Anaya Smith, who tied for the event win. With three other strong vaults from Halle Gregoire, Jada Mangahas, and Gracie Reeves, the Sun Devils have put together a reliable lineup.

The Sun Devils also had a strong performance on floor — their weakest event of the season — with a 49.275. Emily White and Hannah Scharf tied for the floor win with a pair of 9.9s. They closed out the meet with a 49.225 on beam to seal the win.

Next, Arizona State returns home to host Washington in their Salute to Service meet on Friday, February 23.


A lack of strong vaults continues to plague Arizona. With the Wildcats unable to stick their vaults and having body position deductions, Arizona scored just a 48.825 on the event. The Wildcats also failed to hit the 49 mark on bars, where they scored a 48.875. Sophie Derr won the event title with a 9.875, but she was the only Arizona gymnast to score a 9.8 or better on bars.

Things improved for the Wildcats on beam (49.225) and floor (49.325). On beam, Emily Mueller successfully performed her side aerial to layout stepout acro series to win the event outright with a 9.9. Caroline Herry tied ASU’s Scharf and White for the win on floor with a 9.9 of her own.

The Wildcats will stay home and can try to rebound against Oregon State this Sunday.

Stanford @ #19 Oregon State

Final score: Oregon State: 197.100 – Stanford: 196.600

Oregon State

What a day for the Beavers and especially Jade Carey. In just her second meet competing the all-around this season, Carey racked up four titles, which helped her surpass 100 event titles over her career. Carey won uneven bars (9.95), beam (9.925), floor (9.925), and the all-around (39.650).

The Beavers featured two other all-around performers in Sage Thompson and Sophia Esposito. Esposito followed up her Pac-12 Freshman of the Week award with a 39.450 all-around, highlighted by a 9.9 on floor. Esposito continues to be one of the most consistent performers for Oregon State and is a gymnast the Beavers can trust for the next three years. Thompson returned to the all-around this week, hitting all four routines. Thompson was brilliant as usual on bars with a gorgeous stuck double layout dismount that earned a 9.9. She also stayed on the beam after falling a week ago.

The Beavers excelled on beam overall, where they seem to have found their footing after season-ending injuries to Sydney Gonzales and Ellie Weaver. Oregon State put up a 49.325 on beam. Along with the standout performance from Carey, Jennifer McMillan and Olivia Buckner both stuck their dismounts and earned a pair of career-high 9.9s.

Oregon State heads to Arizona next to face the Wildcats this Sunday.


The Cardinal fell short of a victory but earned a strong road score against the Beavers.

Even with Anna Roberts and Chloe Widner sidelined from floor, the event was strongest for the Cardinal as they earned a 49.300. Brenna Neault and Taralyn Nguyen each scored 9.9s during the rotation, and their other three counting scores were a 9.8 or better.

The other highlight of the day was Anapaula Gutierrez on vault. Gutierrez absolutely nailed her Yurchenko 1.5 for an enormous 9.95 – the lone event win for the Cardinal all day. This score also marked a career-high for Gutierrez.

On bars and beam, the Cardinal were unable to muster any scores in the 9.9s. The bars lineup in particular featured some gorgeous routines from Ava Sorrento and Chloe Widner, but were a slight mistake away from those higher scores. Still, Stanford is certainly capable of earning those kinds of scores, which will be crucial for them to garner higher team totals.

#2 Cal, Washington @ Metroplex Challenge

Final score: Oklahoma: 198.300, Cal: 197.400, Arkansas: 196.800, Washington: 196.450

Unfortunately the Metroplex Challenge was not televised, so there is limited footage of the meet available aside from clips posted to social media.

To no ones surprise, though, Oklahoma was the clear winner over Cal, Arkansas, and Washington.


Mya Lauzon returned for the Bears after resting a week ago.

The Bears got off to a phenomenal start on floor, posting a 49.600. Every single counting score was 9.9 or better, as Mya Lauzon led the team with a 9.95.

Lauzon, who previously ranked No. 1 in the all-around this season, finished fourth with a 39.525 behind three Oklahoma gymnasts (Faith Torrez, Jordan Bowers, and Audrey Davis).

Like Lauzon, the Bears have not hit their scoring peaks over the past couple weeks. Ideally for the Bears, the past two weeks are just a bit of a slump after pushing 198 in their prior meets. By no means are they doing poorly overall, but they aren’t quite in the same place as they were a few weeks ago, when they looked like they could go toe-to-toe with schools like Oklahoma and LSU.

The Bears continue their travels with a trip to take on UCLA this Sunday.


The Huskies put in another solid final score on the road at the Metroplex Challenge, however they know their potential is higher. While a 196.450 is certainly a good score for the team, the Huskies always appear to be a few improvements away from reaching 197 and their true potential.

The highest scoring event for the Huskies this week was bars with a 49.250, where they also showed the most consistency. Every gymnast scored a 9.8 or better, with Lilly Tubbs and Skylar Killough-Wilhelm leading the team with a pair of 9.875s.

Like Cal, Washington will stay on the road and compete against Arizona State on Friday.

#17 Arizona @ TWU Quad Meet

Final score: Alabama: 197.675, Arkansas: 197.375, Arizona: 196.950, Texas Woman’s: 195.725

Arizona competed in its second meet of the weekend, finishing third behind Alabama and Arkansas. This was a strong score for Arizona and a good rebound after they scored just a 196.250 last Thursday.

The Wildcats rebounded big time on bars at this meet, earning a 49.300 after just a 48.875 against Arizona State. Alysen Fears made up for her bars fall with a huge 9.95 on the event at the quad meet. The other highlight for the Wildcats continues to be floor, where the Wildcats scored a 49.425 as Emily Mueller and Caroline Herry each scored a 9.9 or better.