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Utah Utes gymnastics: Utes fall to No. 5 Gators on the road

Published: Saturday, March 20 2010 12:00 a.m. MDT

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The University of Utah gymnasts didn't melt down in the face of a blistering Florida onslaught Friday night, but they did lose some steam at the end in a 197.550-196.500 loss.

Florida, before a vocal crowd of 4,859, tied its season-high point total, while the Utes turned in their best road score of the season.

Ute co-coach Greg Marsden, who earlier in the week said his team "didn't have a snowball's chance" to win — given the fact the No. 5 Gators were coming off a bye week and celebrating senior night — had better things to say after the meet.

"It was the little things that hurt us, not anything big, which is encouraging," said Marsden. "We didn't stick enough landings on vault and missed a few handstands on bars, but overall we did a pretty good job until the beam. When Cortni (Beers) fell on beam, we tightened up again and had some uncharacteristic mistakes from Kyndal (Robarts) and Jamie (Deetscreek)."

Utah's Daria Bijak had a spectacular meet, finishing second in the all-around with a 39.525 (just off her career-best of 39.575). Bijak also tied for second on bars (9.9250), beam (9.85) and floor (9.90). Ute teammate Annie DiLuzio tied for second on beam (9.85) and floor (9.90).

The Utes kicked the meet off with their best road bar performance of the year. All six gymnasts hit clean routines for a 49.175. Bijak's 9.925 was the best of the bunch. Stephanie McAllister, on her way to a 39.250 all-around score, tied her career high on bars for the second straight week with a 9.85. On her return to the scoring lineup from injury, Gael Mackie scored a 9.775. Utah trailed after one rotation, 49.400-49.175.

In round two, all six Utes again hit their routines, led by a flawless-looking 9.90 routine by Robarts. But Florida turned in a monster 49.525 bar set to Utah's 49.200 on the vault and increased its lead to 98.925-98.375 at the midway point.

The Utes went 6-of-6 on the floor, highlighted by spectacular routines by Bijak and DiLuzio that both received a 9.90. McAllister tied her career-high for the second-straight with a 9.85, while Deetscreek tied a season-high with a 9.825.

The Utes faded at the end on balance beam. After Beers fell from the No. 2 post, DiLuzio and Bijak seemed unfazed and powered through their routines cleanly — each scored a 9.85. But closers Deetscreek and Robarts both struggled to stay aboard at one point, needing balance checks to stay on.

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