Utah Red Rocks Preview Gives Glimpse Into 2018 Season

Utah hosted their annual Red Rocks preview at the Huntsman Center on Friday night in front of 5,100 adoring fans on Friday. All 12 Utes on the roster showed at least two events and Co-head Coach Tom Farden was pleased with the performances he saw. Watch routine videos from the exhibition HERE.

Release via Utah Athletics

SALT LAKE CITY—A crowd of 5,100 turned out to the Red Rocks Preview looking for an early glimpse of what lies ahead for the 2018 Utah gymnastics team. If the exhibition meet is any indication, the Utes will be in the hunt for a national title come April.

"I don't want to get ahead of ourselves, but if we can build on last year (when the Utes finished fifth at the NCAA Championships), we're going to be right up there at nationals," said co-coach Tom Farden.

We looked calm and confident and I liked our demeanor. We've had quite the collection of 'type A' personalities for several years now and (our gymnasts) have been highly motivated and hungry. The difference this year is our maturity. We were really young last year.

"We have great team chemistry and we really want to finish in the top three at nationals," said defending NCAA floor champion and all-around runner-up MyKayla Skinner, who looks ready to add to her individual national championship portfolio from her standout performance at the Red Rocks Preview.

Added All-America senior Tiffani Lewis, "We want to set a high standard for Utah gymnastics right away. The Red Rocks Preview is important because it's a nice little test for nerves, but we're not competing in front of as many people as in a regular season meet and there are no judges so it's not as stressful."

All 12 Utes currently available performed on at least two events with Skinner, Lewis, Kari Lee, MaKenna Merrell-Giles, Missy Reinstadtler and Kim Tessen going all-around.

Lee and Tessen have been slowly working back into the leg events of vault and floor while recovering from injuries—Lee's which severely limited her during Utah's fifth-place NCAA run last year and Tessen's which cost her most of her freshman season. Tessen's floor routine at the Red Rocks Preview was one of several by the Utes that was watered down from what it will become as the season progresses.

In a change from last year, when the Utes essentially followed a normal meet format, there were the equivalent of six rotations in this year's version of the annual exhibition. The entire team moved from vault to bars with eight performers on each apparatus. Skinner was magnificent on both events, nailing her 10.0 valued Yurchenko double on vault and sailing through a bar routine that featured an additional release move from a year ago. Tessen and Merrill-Giles also threw 10.0 valued Yurchenko one and a half vaults, with Tessen's close to perfect.

"MyKayla is a world-class athlete," said Farden when asked to comment on Skinner's performance quality this early in the year. "She has added a new leap combination on beam (switch leg leap to a straddle jump to a tuck back) and nailed it, her vault was gigantic and she added a release move to bars that now gives her three. She probably would have gone out of bounds on floor (had she not been spotted), but we're OK with that right now."

It wasn't all the MyKayla Skinner show, however. Reinstadtler showed why her coaches are projecting her as a contender for national titles on her four routines, Merrell-Giles also excelled on all four events, Lewis was especially impressive on bars and floor and Maddy Stover had a dynamite beam routine.

The two freshmen available also showed promise. Sydney Soloski nailed a double layout on both bars (on her dismount) and floor (on her opening pass) and Alexia Burch did a walk through beam routine. Freshman Lauren Wong will join the team in January.

Fans at the Red Rocks Preview enjoyed a rare opportunity to watch the meet from a new vantage point. Seating for the exhibition meet was general admission, unlike the regular season, where more than 9,000 reserved season tickets have already been sold. Many stayed afterwards patiently waiting as the Ute gymnasts signed the 2018 team poster.

The Utes will open their 2018 season against BYU on Sat., Jan. 5 at 7 p.m. in the Huntsman Center.

U.S. Wins Team Golds At 2018 Pan American Gymnastics Championships

The U.S. men and U.S. women both won team gold medals at the 2018 Pan American Championships in Lima, Peru.

McCallum, Thomas Go One-Two AA At 2018 Pan Am Championships

Press release via USA Gymnastics.

After Placing 6th In US Champs All-Around, Jade Carey Vies For Worlds Spot

Jade Carey - Floor, USA - Official Podium Training - 2017 World Championships

Between the return of Simone Biles — the greatest gymnast of all time — and the tumult within USA Gymnastics, the last nine months have been an absolute roller coaster. But that's not going to keep us from constantly recognizing the hard work and brilliant gymnastics of these athletes.

2018 U.S. Championships Lovely Leo Winners

NCAA Gymnastics 2019 Season Hype: Trinity Thomas Is Coming To Gainesville

We’re continuing our series on the new additions to NCAA gymnastics team rosters, highlighting the Florida Gators today. The Gators had a couple of important contributors graduate last year, including Kennedy Baker, Alex McMurtry, and Rachel Slocum. How they replace these losses will determine how far they can go this year in NCAA competition.

Elevate The Stage: JO To NCAA Gymnasts

Elevate the Stage is a podium-style gymnastics competition for NCAA and J.O. teams, and FloGymnastics is excited to again bring you live coverage of the meets in the 2019 season.

Lovely Leos: 2018 U.S. Gymnastics Championships Day 2

We've got a winner from day 1, and now it's time to vote for Day 2's loveliest leo from the 2018 U.S. Championships!

University Of Illinois At Chicago To Cut NCAA Gymnastics Teams

The University of Illinois at Chicago men's and women's gymnastics teams were informed on August 31 that the 2018-2019 competition season would be the final year for both teams. 

NCAA Gymnastics 2019 Season Hype: Olivia Trautman Leads The New Sooners

School is back in session, which means that your favorite NCAA gymnastics teams are also back in action with team retreats, strategy sessions, and hardcore conditioning. Though not every 2018-19 roster has been released yet, several are up online, allowing fans to have a look at the newcomers and how they might fit into the team. 

Letter To Membership From USA Gymnastics Board Chair Karen Golz

Below is a letter from USA Gymnastics board chair Karen Golz about Kerry Perry resigning as CEO and president of USA Gymnastics, via USAGym.

Dear USA Gymnastics Community:I am writing to tell you that USA Gymnastics President and CEO Kerry Perry informed our Board of Directors last night that she will resign effective immediately. On behalf of the board, I want to thank Kerry for her leadership under very difficult circumstances. As you know, USA Gymnastics has been in the midst of a difficult and painful transition to ensure that the safety and interests of our athletes remain at the heart of our mission. While much as been accomplished over the past several months to stabilize the organization, we still face tremendous challenges as we all work to achieve fundamental changes to move our sport forward. We look forward to bringing in new leadership to build on the progress to date, and the board will immediately begin the search for an interim CEO. In the meantime, it has established a management committee to provide organizational oversight to maintain continuity in the day-to-day operations until an interim CEO is named. Additionally, the board is in the process of forming a search committee made up of board members, as well as athletes and others from the gymnastics and NGB community, to find our next permanent leader. Board member and Olympian Brent Lang, president and CEO of Vocera, will chair the committee. We will keep you informed as we work through our urgent leadership issues. I want to assure you that this board is determined to take the necessary steps to support a safe and competitive environment where every athlete can grow, learn life lessons, have fun and succeed. We know the last few years have been very difficult for everyone involved with USA Gymnastics, and we thank you for your patience and support through these challenging days. The athletes, parents, coaches, judges, volunteers, gym owners and USA Gymnastics staff are the heart and soul of USA Gymnastics, and we will do everything in our power to ensure that our athletes and everyone involved with our great sport and movement achieve their fullest potential. Sincerely,Karen GolzChair, Board of DirectorsUSA Gymnastics