BOUNTIFUL – When you’re at the top, it’s time to see if you can fly even higher.
Woods Cross High graduate Hailee Hansen and the rest of the University of Utah women’s gymnastics team won their first-ever Pac-12 championship this past weekend, setting them up as the no. 1-seeded team at next weekend’s NCAA regional meet in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
“It was so amazing,” Hansen said of the Pac-12 championships. “It’s probably the most fun I’ve ever had at a meet.”
Hansen, a senior who was voted in as co-captain for the second year in a row, said that the team has had a great season this year. During the competition, she kept her focus on the performances put in by her teammates.
“Everyone was so amazing,” said Hansen. “I was so proud of each girl.”
Though this isn’t the Red Rocks’ first appearance at the Pac-12, their previous visits were plagued by disappointment.
“The last couple of years, we’ve let the title slip away from us,” she said.
This year, though, there was no question. Hansen’s teammates won four of the five individual championships at the meet, with Tory Hansen taking the all-around title and Georgia Dabritz winning or tying for first in all three of the events she competed in. Dabritz scored a perfect 10 on uneven bars, also winning vault and tying on floor.
Hansen, for her part, wasn’t at all surprised by the successes.
“I knew everyone could do it,” she said. “I had such confidence in these girls.”
Hansen herself also competed in uneven bars, her only event at the meet. She earned a 9.90 for her routine, beating her season average of 9.85.
“I’ve gotten out onto the floor a few times this season,” she said. “It’s always good to be able to put together what we do at practice at a meet.”
Though she’s previously earned a 9.90, most recently at last year’s NCAA championships, she knew she’d hit those heights before the score was even announced.
“I knew it was one of the best routines I’d ever done,” she said. “It was really rewarding to be able to match my career high.”
Hansen was with the team when their region destination was announced this past Monday, the next step on the road to the NCAA championships next month. The Red Rocks will next compete April 5.
“We’re excited,” she said. “(Fayetteville) is someplace we’ve never been before.”
No matter what happens next, however, Hansen feels that she’s finished her college gymnastics career with a bang.
“This has been my favorite year at the University of Utah,” she said. “It’s just so rewarding.”