Georgia Dabritz scored a 9.90 on both floor and vault in her first NCAA Super Six.
April 21, 2012
The young Utah gymnastics team turned in a veteran performance in the NCAA Super Six team finals, hitting all 24 routines without a fall, to land fifth place in a power-packed meet. Alabama won with a 197.850, followed by Florida (197.775), UCLA (197.750), Stanford (197.500), Utah (197.375) and Arkansas (196.300).
"Shoot, we feel like we were such a better team than last year and did such a better job at the championships, but we still finished fifth," said coach Greg Marsden. "The other teams were all better too, though, and there is very little room for very small errors anymore. We did some great things, but little steps in this environment are costly."
Emphasizing his point was the fact that Stanford, a team Utah beat in three previous meetings this season, passed the Utes on the final rotation when Utah finished several nice bar routines with a hop.
"I'm very proud of this group," said Marsden. "You really had to raise your game to even be in the Super Six. We would have liked to finish higher, but we have to be happy with how we did because we performed very well."
He also took consolation in the team he has returning next year. Fourteen of Utah's 24 routines were performed by freshmen and sophomores and they produced some of Utah's biggest scores. Among them was a 9.95 by freshman Tory Wilson on vault, and a 9.90 on both vault and floor by freshman Georgia Dabritz. They produced Utah's best individual finishes of the night with Dabritz tying for third on floor and Wilson tying for fourth on vault.
"We are losing three talented seniors (Stephanie McAllister, Kyndal Robarts and Cortni Beers) and we've really leaned on them," said Marsden. "But we have a lot of young talent returning and hopefully finishing fifth will make us even more determined."
Utah got off to a blazing start on the balance beam, tying its season-high of 49.350. It had been three months since the Utes last scored that well on the treacherous event. Utah made every routine look easy, starting with Corrie Lothrop's 9.825 and ending with Kassandra Lopez' 9.875. In between, McAllister and Mary Beth Lofgren had 9.85s, Beers a 9.875 and Robarts a team-best 9.90.
The Utes took a break after the beam, heading to their first bye of the night. In the first round, with Alabama and Stanford out on byes, Utah was tied for second with UCLA (both with 49.35) behind Florida (49.475). In fourth was Arkansas (49.175). While Utah was in the bye room, Alabama would score a 49.450 and Stanford a 49.35 on their first events of the night.
Utah had a mostly solid 49.350 floor set with especially nice routines from Dabritz (9.90) and Nansy Damianova (9.875), but a step out of bounds by McAllister prevented her from contributing her usual big score and at the midway point, the team scores looked like this: Alabama 99.075, Florida 98.90, UCLA 98.875, Utah and Stanford 98.675 and Arkansas 98.400.
Off to vault went the Utes, where the day before they produced a monster 49.525 set. This overall effort couldn't quite match up--although it was certainly good--especially huge vaults from Wilson (9.95) and Dabritz (9.90). Yesterday's leader, Kailah Delaney counted a hop (9.85) and Robarts (9.85) also stepped on her landing and Utah "settled" for a 49.40.
Utah (148.075) entered its final bye trailing UCLA (148.350) and Florida (148.075) and ahead of Arkansas (146.85). After Alabama (148.35) and Stanford (147.95) had their turn at round three, Utah was in fourth place.
The Utes lost ground to Stanford on their final event even while hitting all of their bar routines. Hops on landings were costly to some. McAllister (9.90) and Beers (9.875) stuck their dismounts after nice routines and Dabritz also scored a 9.875.
Sunday, two Utes will compete for individual titles: freshmen Delaney and Dabritz, both on vault. Delaney scored a 9.95 on qualifying night to place first in the early semifinal, while Dabritz tied for second with a 9.925.
They were two of four Utes to earn first-team All-America honors--the others were McAllister and Lothrop in the all-around--while freshman Tory Wilson was a second-team All-American on vault.
McAllister also won second-team All-America honors on vault while Lothrop picked up a pair of second-team awards on bars and floor.
Delaney and Dabritz will be the fourth and competitors on vault on Sunday.