CORVALLIS, Ore. — The No. 6 ranked Utah gymnasts couldn't hang on to a "halftime" lead and fell 196.600-196.325 to No. 5 ranked Oregon State in Gill Coliseum. The Utes (7-3) lost on the road for the first time this season. All three losses have come to opponents ranked in the top five. It was Utah's first loss to the Beavers since 2003 and snapped a 10-meet win streak.
Ute senior Gael Mackie won her first all-around title with a career-high 39.150 and also won bars (9.90). Nansy Damianova was Utah's other winner, taking honors on floor with a 9.875.
"I am so proud and happy for Gael," said coach Greg Marsden. "She's struggled a lot with her anxiety in competition and she's come so far, especially in the last month."
He was also pleased with bars and vault, but not as happy with floor and beam. "We're making good progress on bars and our vault was good. We had too many deductions on floor and beam."
Utah started out fast and its second-best bar score of the year gave the Utes a 49.325-49.100 lead. Mackie's 9.90 to cap the set was her fourth 9.90-or-better bar score in the last five meets. Utah's score would end up bettering that of the Beavers, the nation's top-ranked team on bars, who scored a 49.175 on their turn.
While OSU was scoring below its season average on bars, Utah did the same on vault. Missing three of their top vaulters (Kyndal Robarts, Victoria Shanley and Corrie Lothrop due to injury, the Utes went just 49.000--their low score of the year on the event. Damianova (9.875) and Mary Beth Lofgren (9.825) tied season-highs in a set that Marsden said was better than the score indicated.
"The scoring was fair for both teams and I have no complaints, but it was tight. It was a good vault for us."
At the midway point, Utah clung to a 98.325-98.275 lead, an advantage that would turn OSU's way on the next rotation when deductions again cost the Utes on the floor.
Stephanie McAllister, who has three 9.90 scores this season, was the most obvious problem for the Utes. She received just a 9.60 when both judges started her routine with a value of 9.8 rather than a 10.0. Marsden filed an inquiry and learned she was missing a jump out of one of her leap combinations.
"That was a coaching mistake," said Marsden. "It's a technicality that no one else has caught. I'm just glad we found out about it before the postseason so that we can fix it." Utah finished the night with 49.00 sets on floor and beam to send it to its lowest score since a 196.200-194.750 win at Nebraska back on Jan. 22.
"It's not like we're falling apart," said Marsden. "We're just giving away too many tenths. I am really enjoying coaching this team. I know we have to win, but we are never out of the game."
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