After a second look, Melissa Vituj received a career-high 9.975 on the beam.
Feb. 7, 2003
LOGAN, Utah -
The No. 4 ranked Utah gymnastics team didn't seal its 76th straight win against Utah State until early in the final rotation. With the Aggies rolling toward their second-best score in school history, a good night on beam was necessary for Utah to extend its streak. But that wasn't the real drama in Utah's eventual 197.825-196.150 victory.
That honor went to the final routine of the night when the meet was already decided. Utah junior Melissa Vituj, a two-time balance beam All-American who is currently ranked fifth in the nation on the beam, sailed through a marvelous routine. While the large contingent of Utah fans among the crowd of 2,058 in USU's Spectrum chanted for a 10.0, the judges flashed start values of 9.80 and gave Vituj a 9.775. Utah coaches Greg and Megan Marsden immediately appealed, and after much consultation, Vituj's start value was raised and the she was rewarded with a career-tying 9.975 score.
The change boosted Utah's score to a 197.825, the fifth-best showing in school history and one that had Head Coach Greg Marsden crowing.
"I have absolutely zero complaints about our performance," said Marsden. "This was by far our best meet of the year. We were 24 of 24 with the only little problems a kicked bar by A.B. (Annabeth Eberle) and a step out of bounds by Kylee Wagner. We did everything I wanted and stuck our dismounts for really the first time all year."
The complaints Marsden had about Vituj's routine were certainly justified, although both judges initially raised 9.80 start values. "They both missed a full turn. We inquired it and they gave it to us," was all Marsden would say after the fact, although a live television audience no doubt helped the judges change their minds.
Annabeth Eberle placed third in the all-around with a 39.45, her second straight outstanding meet. She matched her career high on beam with a 9.925 and finished with a 9.95 on the floor. In her last three meets, Eberle has posted a 10.0, 9.925 and 9.95 on the floor.
Somewhat lost in the strange finish was another incredible night by Utah All-American Theresa Kulikowski, who scored a 9.95 on both bars and beam in just her second competition of the year.