The University of Utah's gymnastics team is deep in talent and it may need some of that depth this week at the 2005 NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championships at Auburn University Thursday through Saturday.
Senior Gritt Hofmann added to Utah's injury situation when she elevated for a skill on floor exercise and suffered a slight tear in a calf muscle last week. It is termed a calf strain, and she stayed out of practice to rest it until Monday.
She has already dealt with a wrist problem and broken finger this season.
"My body says I need a break," Hofmann said Monday, hoping to be able to compete Thursday afternoon in the team preliminaries and Friday night, should Utah qualify for the Super Six championships. "I hope I can tape it somehow. When you compete, you don't feel the pain."
Hofmann has one of the most popular floor exercise routines (9.975 career high) in recent Ute history and is often Utah's anchor on the event. She also is a regular on beam.
Junior Kristen Riffanacht is nursing a soft-tissue injury in a shoulder, said coach Greg Marsden, uncertain about her status this week, and he was expecting to use sophomore all-arounder Rachel Tidd (39.675 career high) in just vault and bars Thursday and not risk her sore back.
"Not good," Marsden said about Tidd's condition.
After missing nationals with mono last year and several chances to compete this year with back spasms and an inner ear infection that brought on headaches, Tidd said she'll still live up to her March 26 vow to be there in the postseason, even though she trained just two events last week.
"I'm just trying to keep it still OK."It's sore, but not enough to not compete," she said Monday, adding that if she has any say, she will go all-around. "I know I can. It's the end. It's nationals. Gotta get through it," Tidd said.