A tough week kept getting worse Friday night for the University of Utah's gymnasts, who likely lost bars leadoff worker Katie Kivisto for the season with an elbow dislocated during meet warmups.
Meanwhile, Ashley Postell was bothered not only by the ankle that she injured in Monday night's meet against Georgia, but she was becoming ill during the meet, to the point that coach Greg Marsden took her out of floor, the longest routine, because she couldn't breathe.
And senior Gabi Onodi, who went in Kivisto's place on bars, was frustrated the rest of the night because the Velcro strap holding her hand-grip together came apart, and she wasn't able to do the dismount that she'd worked so hard to perfect so that she could move into the bars lineup.
She simply peeled off the high bar and scored 9.45, but Marsden said she did the right thing rather than risking more injury. Onodi, however, was deeply upset afterward, feeling like something is always going against her with the illness and other things she's had to fight this season.
Sixth-ranked Utah had little difficulty getting past No. 17 Oregon State, 196-575-195.15, for its 10th win of the season against the one loss Monday to Georgia.
But the implications of losing Kivisto, always a strong leadoff on the team's thinnest event, have Marsden a bit worried, just as the loss of senior Natalie Nicoloff two weeks ago to a torn elbow tendon removed Utah's beam leadoff worker.
"It's getting scary," Marsden said. "I'm glad this week is behind us."
Utah actually did a pretty good job of coping with not only the turmoil of injuries, illness and equipment malfunction but also a week in which it had an emotional high on Monday followed by mid-term exams.
"I haven't slept since Tuesday," said the night's all-around champion, junior Nicolle Ford, who scored 39.45 to beat freshman teammate Nina Kim (39.175) and Oregon's Jami Lanz (39.125).
Ford said she was so tired that when she got to the "car crash" part of her floor routine, where she flops face-down on the mat for a second, she just wanted to stay there.
"I'm a walking zombie," she said.
"I think everyone expected it. We handled it pretty good," said Kim, who did an upgraded vault and scored 9.825 with a step. She hasn't done that vault in more than a year and never expected to do it again after January 2005.
"They were all just tired, and Kristina (Baskett) is getting sick, too," Marsden said. Baskett fell on beam but had 9.925 on floor the night's only score at 9.9 or above for either team.
Oregon State, which hosts the NCAA championships April 22-24, lost one of its top all-arounders, freshman Tasha Smith (39.175) to a twisted ankle in warmups, just the latest of a long string of injuries for the Beavers. They are hoping to improve enough to get into the postseason and into their own championships. They were ranked 17th this week.
Senior Kristen Riffanacht replaced Postell on floor, scoring 9.825 to lead off the last event, which turned out to have the best score of the night, 49.30, despite the fatigue and attrition.
"Yeah, I loved it," said Riffanacht of getting back on the floor lineup for the first time since Feb. 17.
Riffanacht, a co-captain, noted the team did a better job on landings in this meet. "People were fighting for stuff," she said of dismounts and other little bobbles that were saved.Ford said the mood when the team got to floor was, "OK, I have one more to do, and then I'm going to bed and sleep all day. It was extremely stressful for everyone."
Utah 196.575, Oregon State 195.150
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