SALT LAKE CITY — Senior Jacq Johnson has spent much of her Utah gymnastics career watching from the sidelines, trying to recover from one injury or another.
This season, a concussion kept her out of a couple of meets.
But last Friday, Johnson came back so strongly that she could soon get a chance for her first career all-around appearance.
For just the second time in her career Friday against Michigan, she did all four events, though two were as exhibition, so only her bars (9.775) and floor (9.75) scores counted toward the team total. She started off with a 9.80 vault exhibition and added a 9.775 beam score that didn't count. Both of those scores were better than two teammates whose scores did count.
That leaves coach Greg Marsden with this week's practices to determine if Johnson should get into the lineup more, even into the all-around, on Friday when Utah travels to Utah State.
"We'll just have to see how things go in workout," he said. "She's making progress. She's working hard to do that, and I've got to reward her for that at some point, I think, and give her a shot (at all-around)."
Johnson did all four events — three to count — at Nebraska, exhibitioning on beam, the first time she had ever done all four. Then she had the concussion in practice and missed the next two meets, returning on two events against Washington Feb. 11 and doing all four last Friday.
"It was nice to get another experience because I'm hoping in one meet I'll get to count all four," she said, adding that she felt she competed like she practices, "so that was a real big positive and a confidence booster for me."
She was happiest with her beam routine. "I had some mistakes, and I had a wobble, but just being able to keep myself mentally strong and confident when I was up there is a real big improvement that I've been able to make this season. It helped me to believe that I was a good beam-worker.
Beam actually used to be one of my better events when I was in club," she said.
NAME GAME: To lighten things up, the Ute gymnasts will sometimes poke fun at themselves by wearing name tags of famous people. One time, everyone wore masking-tape nameplates of rappers.
Monday, junior Cortni Beers made up name tags of presidents to fit with the holiday.
To the most liberal-leaning of the gymnasts, Kyndal Robarts, she gave a tag for George W. Bush, just to get a rise out of her. Robarts changed it to read "George Washington," though they're not supposed to do that because it spoils the fun.
Senior Gael Mackie, a Canadian, was Bill Clinton for the day. Junior Stephanie McAllister was another "Mc," William McKinley. Freshman Hailee Hansen was Ronald Reagan. Assistant coach Tom Farden was Barack Obama, team operations director Cameron Linford was Richard Nixon and co-coaches Megan and Greg Marsden were Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt. Greg wondered if that meant the gymnasts wanted him "to sit in a wheelchair — or die in office."
RANKINGS: Rankings criteria went from straight season average to Regional Qualifying Score this week, so Utah dropped out of all rankings for a week until it can have a third road meet. That happens Friday at 7 p.m. when the Utes visit No. 41 Utah State in the Smith Spectrum.
USU is not among the top 25 in any event or with any individual this week — no individual from any of the state's schools is in the top 25 in any event. BYU's bars team ranks 17th, with an RQS of 48.805, and the Cougars are No. 25 on beam at 48.390. Southern Utah ranks 24th on floor, 48.765.
NCAA women's gymnastics rankings
By Regional Qualifying Score (RQS)
Team. . .RQS. . .Average. . .High score
1. Florida 197.055 197.078 197.725
2. Stanford 196.585 196.457 196.975
3. Oklahoma 196.250 196.156 197.225
4. Georgia 196.175 196.100 196.725
5. Alabama 196.115 196.171 197.275
6. Oregon State 195.935 195.896 196.950
7. Nebraska 195.595 195.469 196.075
8. Michigan 195.575 195.779 196.800
9. UCLA 195.355 195.575 196.675
10. Penn State 195.300 195.121 196.600
26. BYU 194.355 194.293 195.200
31. SUU 193.900 194.136 195.750
41. Utah State 192.035 192.064 193.600
Note: Utah needs a third road meet to have a qualifying RQS
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