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Women’s gymnastics falls to Utah on Senior Day

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Although Stanford honored its four departing seniors at Maples Pavilion in the program’s Senior Day on Saturday, the Cardinal fell just short of sending them off on a high note, as No. 5 Utah women’s gymnastics (6-1, 4-1 Pac-12) earned its first win ever in Maples on Saturday with a 197.150-195.875 takedown of No. 12 Stanford (9-5, 3-3).

Fifth-year senior Ivana Hong (above) notched a meet-high 9.875 in the bars against the Utes, but Stanford couldn't bounce back from a poor overall performance on bars as it lost to No. 5 Utah at Maples on Senior Day. (RAHIM ULLAH/The Stanford Daily)
Fifth-year senior Ivana Hong (above) notched a meet-high 9.875 in the bars against the Utes, but Stanford couldn’t bounce back from a poor overall performance on bars as it lost to No. 5 Utah at Maples on Senior Day. (RAHIM ULLAH/The Stanford Daily)

The Utes demonstrated their conference-leading depth against the Cardinal, sweeping all events to tie their season-high team score. Still, Stanford impressed in a number of individual performances, grabbing the top solo score in all but the beam through a series of near-perfect routines.

A characteristically strong showing from sophomore Elizabeth Price on the vault kept Stanford in pace early with the Utes, who narrowly took the advantage in the event, 49.275-49.150. Price’s 9.925 put her in first overall, while freshman Taryn Fitzgerald followed with a 9.850 that landed her in fourth.

The bars were a tougher challenge for the Cardinal, as Utah ranks third in the country with a 49.300 average score in the event. In a bit of an upset surprise, however, senior Ivana Hong perfectly stuck her routine to record a match-high 9.875 on her Senior Day. Though the rest of the team couldn’t match Hong’s pace, her performance gave the team a strong silver lining to take from their weakest event on the day.

Utah’s Maddy Stover could not be touched on the beam, earning a 9.975 average and the only perfect 10.000 awarded by a judge all match with a stunning performance. This execution lead the Utes to a season-best 49.300 on the beam, besting Stanford’s 49.125. Still, the Cardinal largely kept pace with their highly-rated opponents, and senior Melissa Chuang managed to squeeze into second place with a 9.925.

The Utes carried their beam momentum to the floor, where they handily topped a struggling Stanford 49.425-48.950. Price took the event with a 9.925 and junior Haley Spector’s 9.900 landed her in a three-way tie for second, but Utah’s impressive consistency landed it sizable advantages lower in the lineup to solidify its victory by adding to its margin over the Cardinal.

For the first time this season, Price failed to capture the meet’s all-around title. Though her vault and floor scores were as good as ever, a disappointing performance on the bars lifted Utah stars Breanna Hughes (39.400), Baely Rowe (39.250) and Samantha Partyka (39.175) above her total of 39.075.

The Cardinal will hit the road for their final two meets of the season, heading to Corvallis next Monday for a matchup against No. 16 Oregon State and to Los Angeles for a season-ending showdown against No. 7 UCLA and No. 10 Georgia.

 

Contact Andrew Mather at amather ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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Andrew Mather served as a sports editor and as the Chief Operating Officer of The Daily. A devout Clippers and Iowa Hawkeyes fan from the suburbs of Los Angeles, Mather grew accustomed to watching his favorite programs snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. He brought this nihilistic pessimism to The Daily, where he often felt a sense of déjà vu while covering basketball, football and golf.