SALT LAKE CITY — A coaches huddle just before the beam event began may have been the difference for the Utah gymnastics team. Pressed with a narrow lead over Denver heading into their final rotation, Utah co-coaches Greg and Megan Marsden, and assistant Jeff Graba decided to pull Fumina Kobayashi from the lineup in favor of Cortni Beers.
"It's never easy to do something like that, but it seemed like the obvious choice," said Megan Marsden. "Greg and I and Jeff got together after beam warm ups and felt like Fu was feeling a lot of pressure and seemed to be struggling a little bit in the moment. Understandable, she is a freshman and it is a big thing. Cortni came with her game face on and we had her in the seventh spot so she was up there warming up with everyone else. It just seemed she should be in the lineup."
The decision paid off as Beers tied her career best of 9.8 in the event.
Though the score was important, Beers' teammates credited her with setting a tone that allowed the final competitors to just get on the beam and have fun. The payoff was a team-best 49.35 that equated to the first time the beam has been Utah's best event in a meet this season. Along with Beers, Kyndal Robarts tied her career best of 9.925.
Robarts was questionable heading into the meet after spraining her ankle Thursday in practice, but the junior told her coach she wanted to go all around. She worked with her trainer to get ready after the injury, and received the go ahead. And after gutting her way through a floor routine that did not yield a smile, she finished her night with nothing but smiles competing after all of her teammates had hit their routines on the beam.
"I started off floor a little nervous because I hadn't done anything on my foot since I hurt it. Once I did floor I knew it was going to be fine so by beam I was confident with it," said Robarts.
"I just think beam was fun. There was no pressure on me at all so I just went out there and really enjoyed the routine."
Robarts tied for second in the event, while Jamie Deetscreek and Daria Bijak tied for fourth with three other gymnasts.
"I really wasn't worried too much about scores," said Utah co-coach Megan Marsden. "I was more concerned about the girls walking through their beam routines the way we've trained and approaching them — from more go big versus trying to stay on the beam."
Marsden said Saturday her girls weren't worried about staying on the beam and in return earned the big scores by going big.