Last August, MyKayla Skinner was in Rio de Janeiro as an alternate for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Women’s Gymnastics Team, after deferring her enrollment at the University of Utah by a year to pursue her Olympic dream.
Seven months after returning from Brazil, Skinner led the Red Rocks gymnastics program to its third Pac-12 title in the past four years at the conference championship, held Saturday evening on the Stanford University campus in Palo Alto, California.
Posting top scores of 10.00 on floor exercise – her second perfect 10 of the season – and 9.950 in vault, Skinner rolled to the individual all-around title with 39.725 points as Utah racked up a 197.925, blowing away the competition by more than a half point.
Meanwhile, defending conference champion UCLA was unable to find its rhythm despite a roster that featured Olympic team gold medalists Kyla Ross (London 2012) and Madison Kocian (Rio 2016) and former national team members Felicia Hano and Katelyn Ohashi.
The Bruins opened the competition with a shaky performance on vault and never recovered their form despite a perfect 10 by Ross on beam – the first perfect 10 on beam in the conference championship’s history, tying Washington for third with a total of 197.100. Upstart Oregon State was second at 197.400.
Making her national team debut in 2012, Skinner was part of the squad that took team gold at the 2014 world championships, where she also won bronze on vault. Fourth in the all-around at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, she also won all-around gold at the 2016 world cup meet in Glasgow, Scotland, and was second to Simone Biles at the 2015 AT&T American Cup.
Ross was awarded 2017 Pac-12 Gymnastics Freshman of the Year, while 2000 U.S. Olympic team bronze medalist Elise Ray was chosen as Pac-12 Gymnastics Coach of the Year for leading Washington to a third-place finish.