SALT LAKE CITY — With two meets left in the regular season, the big thing right now for Utah's sixth-ranked gymnastics team is to be smart.
"We're at that point of the year where everyone's winding up with little nagging stuff," said Ute coach Greg Marsden.
The Utes dealt fairly successfully with two injuries last week but picked up two more that they at least have to manage now.
When senior Jacq Johnson fell on beam last Friday against No. 1 Florida, she bruised a thigh and sprained an ankle. Marsden doesn't think that will keep her out Saturday night when Utah performs at No. 5-ranked Oregon State at 8 p.m. MST, but that and freshman Nansy Damianova's sore ankle will both require close attention.
It's not known yet if freshman Victoria Shanley's sore back will allow her to return to the vault lineup, as vaulting is tough on an athlete's back, but she's cleared this week to practice.
Freshman all-arounder Corrie Lothrop, the team leader with a 39.50 career high two weeks ago, is also cleared and planned to work all events in practice. She hopes to be able to do them all at Oregon State. X-rays on an ankle showed she has some bone spurs.
"We were thinking just one of them got into my joint or something," she said.
The pain comes and goes, and she's felt fine the last week or so after having to sit out the meet at Utah State and all but beam last Friday against Florida.
"When I did (get the injury) last week, I kind of felt it during a move (but) mainly afterwards," she said. "Except on floor. That one hurt."
But she said she doesn't worry about it happening again.
All the little injuries mean, said Marsden, "We've just got to be smart that we do enough to be ready but not enough to further aggravate those issues, so the big thing now is just be smart in our approach and make sure we're healthy for the postseason."
RIGHT THERE: Neither Florida nor Utah had a perfect meet last Friday, but even though Marsden said, "I have to admit — all things being equal — I think they're a better team," he also has the feeling after seeing the NCAA's No. 1 team, that, "We're a good enough team that if we do our thing, we can keep the pressure on other teams and make them be at their best to beat us.
"Sometimes that's been enough this year, and a couple times it hasn't."
For one thing, the Utes have yet to put together a full meet.
"I'd like to feel that if we were clean on all four events, stuck a reasonable amount of our landings, that we'd be right at a 197," Marsden noted. Utah scored 196.75 to Florida's 197 last Friday and has a season high of 196.975.
"If we would ever put all four events together and not give away some obvious tenths, walk through beam and floor a little bit, I think that's where we are," Marsden said.
RANKINGS: Utah dropped from fifth to sixth this week in overall team rankings but remained sixth on vault (a tie) and beam while falling from fifth to seventh on bars and from 11th to 15th on floor.
BYU ranks 22nd on bars and 24th on beam.
Ute junior Stephanie McAllister fell from fourth to fifth in the all-around rankings with a 39.385 RQS. She's tied for fourth on bars, with senior teammate Gael Mackie tied for ninth.
NCAA women's gymnastics rankings
Rank/team RQS Average High score
1. Florida 197.170 196.973 197.725
2. Alabama 196.915 196.439 197.675
3. Stanford 196.715 196.503 196.975
4. Oklahoma 196.515 196.293 197.225
5. Oregon St. 196.505 196.106 197.000
6. Utah196.385 196.392 196.975
7. Georgia 196.325 196.220 197.225
8. UCLA 196.170 195.925 197.475
9. Michigan 196.045 195.856 196.800
10. Nebraska 195.940 195.755 197.300
(tie) Penn St. 195.940 195.472 197.075
28. BYU194.740 194.431 195.200
33. S. Utah194.285 194.150 195.750
45. Utah St.192.685 192.480 194.550
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