SALT LAKE CITY — Consistent is not always a glamorous word, but it's one Utah gymnast Stephanie McAllister is OK with being labeled. The junior has been No. 4 Utah's top all-arounder in three of four meets this season, including Friday night's 196.825-196.500 loss to No. 2 Stanford with a career-best 39.40 score.
"She's arguably our most solid, consistent performer this year," said co-coach Greg Marsden.
And though both McAllister and Marsden appreciate this consistency, both agree there is room for growth.
"She's going to upgrade that last turn on floor. She's really ready to do that, but we thought we would get through this last meet," said Marsden, whose team has been battling injuries.
The floor has been McAllister's most consistent event, having tied a career-best of 9.85 12 times in her career. This stat makes the junior smile, but so does her career best 9.85 she boasted on the beam Friday.
"Our goal is to compete like we practice and tonight I did a good job personally of that," said McAllister.
"It's one of the first times she has really walked through the routine without any balance checks and then stuck the dismount," said co-coach Megan Marsden. "She has been close before, getting through the routine, but stepping on the dismount."
"Steph has come so far. It's really fun to see someone who is that upbeat and pleasant in the gym and works that hard, for it to pay off," said Greg Marsden.
And though consistency is the first choice of McAllister, she also is having fun with her performances. Her upbeat personality is winning over the crowd, as she has quickly become a fan favorite on the bars and floor. The bars have always been a strong point for the Indiana native, but this year's routine brings an element of intrigue. McAllister performs a move called the Weiler, which literally silences the crowd as they try to figure out if the move is part of the routine.
"I loved to mess around on bars when I was younger and my coach said, 'Try this.' It's originally a men's skill and not a lot of women do it," explained McAllister. "It is different, but I love having it in my routine."
On the floor, McAllister is also having fun.
"She allows herself to exude her personality," said Greg Marsden. "She looks like she is enjoying what she is doing and the crowd recognizes that."
"I feel more comfortable competing this year and more comfortable with the crowd," said McAllister. "In the past, I was intimidated by everything, but I've done a better job relaxing and enjoying being here."
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