After an incredible freshman campaign, MyKayla Skinner kept the momentum going during her sophomore season. She has been a standout for Utah this season and finished the regular season ranked second in the all-around behind Maggie Nichols.
Skinner competed in the all-around in all but one meet and scored a 39.625 or better nine times. She posted a season-best 39.725 twice—both at home—against Oregon State on Jan. 19 and against Georgia on March 16. She tied for the all-around title with Kyla Ross at the Pac-12 championships and was the all-around champion at the Salt Lake City regional.
The sophomore has posted 9.900s or better nine times on each apparatus this season with 9.975s coming on bars (Jan. 19) and three times on floor exercise.
Utah takes on Oklahoma, Kentucky, Florida, Washington, and California on Friday night in the second semifinal session.
What is your favorite event to perform on and why?
My favorite event is floor. It’s just always been one of my favorites because I like to be able to show off my skills and how powerful my tumbling is and just show off a little bit of sass.
What is your favorite skill to perform on any event?
I’d probably have to say my tucked double-double on floor because it’s unique, and a lot of people don’t do that skill in college so it’s cool to be able to stand out and have some of my hard tumbling passes from elite.
Has there been any trick to staying healthy while competing those harder skills week in and week out?
With coming from elite, that’s helped because we would train intense every single day. It actually hasn’t been that hard, especially since I only have three tumbling passes. It’s been easier for me just going into the gym, getting my assignment done, and staying consistent so I don’t have to do extra numbers—(that) has also helped. I’ve actually been pretty good with it so it’s been going well.
What is the most challenging skill that you’ve learned and what made it challenging for you?
I’d probably say a round-off full-in dismount off beam. I would say it’s hard because I had to transition from doing it from the floor to off the beam and having to change the timing of it from doing a double back to a full-in. That was hard for me at one point.
What is the biggest thing you took away from the regular season that you’ll look to use at nationals?
Definitely the last couple of meets we had going from our home meet against Georgia and just doing really well there. I think we really enjoyed the moment and had fun with it and didn’t really pay attention to the scores. I know we were feeling really confident going into Pac-12s and just getting a little more determination especially from not winning the Pac-12 championships. I think it’s really pushed us to want to go in there and show everybody what we’ve been working so hard for. The end of the season, just building up from one meet after another.
What has been the biggest challenge for you personally this season?
As a team, just starting off really, really well at the beginning of the season and having our little downfall was a little bit hard because we were trying to pick ourselves up but it wasn’t coming together exactly as we wanted it. I think that we went into the gym and just worked on the basics and little details and picked it up from there. We’re just back at it like we were in the beginning of the season so I’m just really excited to see where that takes us at nationals.
How do you bounce back from a fall?
I think just knowing we did our routines so many times in the gym and if someone has a fall or a little bobble on a connection, I think just knowing that we can drop one of those scores and the next person can go up and hit that routine. So just trying not to stress about it and going up and doing the routine we’ve done every single time in the gym.
What are you most looking forward to about competing in the postseason?
Definitely competing at nationals and hopefully making it to Super Six. That’s definitely my biggest goal and I hope the team can do really well and we can make it to Super Six.
What has the transition been like going from elite to transitioning to college last year to now being a sophomore and having that one year of experience under your belt?
It was really, really hard at first having to go from not doing as many numbers and as many skills in a routine. It was really nice being able to work on the form and the execution a lot because I wasn’t always able to do that in elite because I was trying to get so many skills. It’s been really fun to have that transition and to be part of a really good collegiate team. It’s been really nice to have one year under my belt. I think I’ve really grown a lot and learned a lot from my having my freshman year experience go so well. It’s cool to help the team out and have them want me to be an example. I hope that I can help lead this team to have a couple more years of success. It’s been a really great journey.