Ravell Call, Deseret News
For many, getting younger and thinner is a dream.
For a 3-0, fourth-ranked Utah gymnastics team that already had 46 percent of its 2011 routines done by freshmen, getting younger and thinner because their biggest name is now out of the lineup — for at least four weeks — is a huge blow.
Senior Kyndal Robarts hurt her left knee in vaulting warmups Saturday at Nebraska when she over-rotated and landed with knees locked, said coach Greg Marsden.
The blow was softened late Monday when the results of an MRI showed that it was not a torn anterior cruciate ligament, as was feared all weekend.
Instead, it's a partial sprain of both the medial collateral and posterior cruciate ligaments and will not require surgery.
That could allow her to return for the postseason, maybe sooner, "If (rehab) goes well," said trainer Tom Iriye.
"It's as good a news as we could get," said Marsden.
Robarts is the nation's No. 1-ranked vaulter, averaging 9.938 with a 9.95 high, and also Utah's anchor on beam and floor.
The Utes were able to win Saturday's meet with their highest score to date, 196.20, to Nebraska's 194.75, even without Robarts.
"The positive was that the people that filled in and did a reasonably good job," said Marsden. "We moved forward in some ways. They're all going to have to step up if we're going to replace Kyndal's scores because she anchored us on three places, and her scores were always big, and you could always count on her to hit in that difficult spot, so we've got some work ahead of us."
As of Monday, Marsden had six performers on floor but was searching for an alternate.
Freshman Lia Del Priore was pressed to service on floor and vault, her best events, on Saturday and will at least be on floor Friday when No. 2-ranked Stanford visits the Huntsman Center at 7 p.m. She may also vault – she's competing with senior Jacq Johnson and freshman Victoria Shanley this week for that spot. Senior Gael Mackie will take Robarts' place on beam.
"I'm excited. I'm ready for it," said Del Priore, who scored 9.775 (vault) and 9.475 (floor) on short notice Saturday.
"It's awful that we lost Kyndal, but Greg told us that we're all goingto get an opportunity, and I guess this is mine. Bad timing, but I'll work with it as much as I can."
ON THE BEAM: Beam was the 2010 Utes' biggest problem, but the 2011 team is ranked fourth nationally on that event and has helped to win meets at Georgia and Nebraska.
"We have different personnel," said Marsden. "We had good beam-workers last year, but I think we kind of let it get in our head . . . like a batter's slump — the more you work the harder it gets." Now, "We're starting fresh, and we've had some success, and that builds on itself."
"The approach is a lot more like what I feel is critical to be able to stay on the beam," said co-coach and beam coach Megan Marsden, "and that is to not try to stay on the beam.
"We still have some work to do. Even when some of these girls do a walkthrough routine, it's not a 9.90."
But it hasn't been one fall leading to another, either, and the result has been a pretty good start.
Stanford ranks No. 1 on beam.
RANKINGS: Utah also ranks No. 4 on vault and sixth on bars. Southern Utah ranks seventh on floor exercise with Utah 12th. BYU's best ranking is 16th on bars. Ute junior Stephanie McAllister is No. 9 in the all-around with freshman Corrie Lothrop No. 14, with McAllister 10th on bars and Mackie tied for 14th.
Alyssa Click of SUU is tied with two others for No. 1 on balance beam (9.875). T-Bird teammate Shannon Coughlin is tied for 13th on floor.
Rank. . .Average. . .High score
1 Florida. . .196.708. . .196.925
2 Stanford. . .196.413. . .196.625
3 Georgia. . .196.188. . .196.725
4 Utah. . .195.933. . .196.200
5 Oklahoma. . .195.781. . .196.175
6 Alabama. . .195.525. . .196.325
7 Oregon State. . .195.338. . .195.925
8 Michigan. . .195.167. . .195.700
9 UCLA. . .195.119. . .195.925
10 Nebraska. . .195.050. . .195.450
T-16 Southern Utah. . .194.658. . .195.750
28 BYU. . .193.692. . .194.775
39 Utah State. . .192.050. . .192.800
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