Two of last year’s NCAA Championship contenders will battle in a top-four showdown this week as No. 4 Utah hosts No. 3 Oklahoma on Friday, Jan. 14. The Utes and Sooners will compete at 7:30 p.m. MT at the Jon M. Huntsman Center, while introductions are set to begin at 7:15 p.m. The meet will be nationally televised on ESPN2 with John Roethlisberger and Alicia Sacramone Quinn on the call. The top-four matchup will also be carried on Utah’s flagship radio ESPN 700, while live stats can be found here.
FOR THE FANS
Utah’s home opener will be its “Fan Appreciation Meet”. Trading cards for three of the Red Rocks will be given away in the concourse pre-meet, while the first 1,500 fans will receive an American First Credit Union fan shirt. There will also be pom poms in the concourse for fans to pickup. Fans are encouraged to arrive early for introductions at 7:15 p.m. and be in their seats for last year’s Pac-12 Championship banner to be revealed, as well as the NCAA third place banner, prior to the meet. All fans in attendance must wear a mask in the Huntsman Center due to Salt Lake County’s mandatory mask mandate.
DIGITAL TICKETS AND PARKING
Tickets and parking will be scanned on game day using the ticket holder’s mobile device. Tickets also may be transferred to others via email. Fans are encouraged to have their tickets and parking passes downloaded to their wallet on either iPhone or Android devices, and ready to present upon arrival at the parking lot to expedite the entry process. Step-by-step instructions for the process have been delivered to season ticket holders via email and may be accessed online by logging in to a season ticket holder’s account and selecting “Manage Tickets” from the pull-down menu, under Tickets.
BY THE NUMBERS
• Including the 2022 season opener, Utah has hit the 197-mark in season openers just four times in program history. The other three seasons Utah hit a 197 or higher were 2005, 2018, and 2019.
• Utah was one of five teams to score a 197.000 or higher in the season opener.
• Utah was one of six teams to score a 49.000 or higher on all four events.
• Utah scored a 49.325 on vault in the season opener and had only scored better on the event twice last season.
• Utah gymnastics broke its school and NCAA record in attendance during the 2020 season, averaging 15,273 fans per meet prior to the 2021 season without a home crowd.
• Utah is 481-27 all-time at home, which includes a 39-1 mark while Tom Farden has been head coach of the Utes.
• Jillian Hoffman appeared in the vault lineup for the first time of her career at the Best of Utah.
• All four Ute freshmen saw action in the season opener as Grace McCallum competed in the all-around, Kara Eaker competed on beam and floor, Amelie Morgan competed on bars and beam, while Sage Thompson debuted on bars.
• Utah is ranked third on beam (49.375), fourth on vault (49.325), seventh on bars (49.225) and eighth on floor (49.175).
• Utah has hit 22-24 routines this season. Gymnasts who have hit every routine are Alexia Burch (1-1), Kara Eaker (2-2), Cammy Hall (1-1), Jillian Hoffman (1-1), Cristal Isa (2-2), Amelie Morgan (2-2), Maile O’Keefe (2-2), Jaedyn Rucker (2-2), Sydney Soloski (1-1), and Sage Thompson (1-1).
• Individual event winners this season are Isa (2), McCallum (1), O’Keefe (1), and Rucker (1).
Utah leads the all-time series with Oklahoma 28-13 (11-0 in Salt Lake City). Utah last hosted Oklahoma to the Jon M. Huntsman Center in the 1992 NCAA Regional, while the last regular season meeting in Salt Lake City was on Feb. 17, 1992. Utah bested the Sooners both times on its home floor. Although Utah leads the overall series, the Utes have dropped the last eight meetings against the Sooners, which includes all but one meeting coming at the NCAA Championships. Last year in the first regular season meeting between the squads since 1992, Oklahoma edged Utah 197.025-196.550 in Norman, Okla.
Coach: K.J. Kindler (16th season)
2022 Ranking: 3
2021 Final Ranking: 2
Notes: Oklahoma returns 14 gymnasts from the 2021 NCAA runner-up squad who combined for nine All-America honors … The Sooners were ranked No. 3 in the WCGA Preseason Poll, marking the seventh-straight season coming in ranked in the top-three … Oklahoma posted a 197.400 in its season opener and were led by Audrey Davis’ 39.325 in the all-around … The Sooners rank second on bars (49.475), third on floor (49.450), fifth on vault (49.300) and seventh on beam (49.175).
Season tickets are on sale now with limited lower bowl seats available, as well as an upgrade process available for those with season tickets looking to move seats. Visit Utah Tickets to get your tickets now and ensure your spot at all five home meets this season. Single meet tickets are also available here.
Utah will begin Pac-12 play next Friday, Jan. 21, hosting the Arizona State Sun Devils. The Pac-12 opener for the Red Rocks will begin at 7 p.m. MT and will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks.