SALT LAKE CITY — Time in this 2011 gymnastics season is running low, and Utah senior Kyndal Robarts can tell that her injured knee will not be completely better in the next few weeks.
And so on Thursday she announced she will apply to the NCAA for a medical hardship extension that would allow her to compete for the Utes in the 2012 season.
"I just don't think that I can come back and really do much," she said at practice Thursday.
Utah is training for the April 2 NCAA Regional at Norman, Okla., which is a qualifier for the 2011 NCAA championships April 15-17 in Cleveland. The Utes had hoped to have Robarts for the postseason. She landed with knees locked while warming up on vault at Nebraska Jan. 22. The injury is a partially sprained medial collateral and posterior cruciate ligaments, plus a bone bruise in the knee. She returned to limited training several weeks ago.
But on Thursday Robarts said, "I just don't think that I can come back and really do much. I'm not all there. I tweak my knee when I do series on beam, so it would be hard to justify putting me in a meet over somebody else.
"I've been doing some beam stuff, but to be back in routine shape, especially for postseason, I don't think it will be there yet."
Robarts competed in two meets this season and was the NCAA vault leader at the time of her injury, and she was voted the team's 2010 MVP. She is a two-time All-American and has a career all-around high of 39.60, best on the current team.
Coach Greg Marsden said the knee has improved significantly and no long-term problems are anticipated.
An NCAA medical hardship isn't guaranteed, but if an athlete has participated in less than 20 percent of the season, it may be granted.
"While it is disappointing for this year's team," Marsden said, "the thought of having Kyndal return next season is exciting. It will be helpful to have her leadership and experience on a team that will be made up primarily of freshmen and sophomores. Next year's team just got a lot stronger."
Robarts will graduate after this season, but she had planned all along to do graduate work at the U., so this doesn't significantly change future plans.
"I think it was just the right decision at the right time," she said.
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