BYU, Utah Utes gymnastics: Utes pull off a series of career bests to roll Cougars
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Best after best after best was the night's theme as Utah rolled by BYU 197.55-194.45 in the Huntsman Center before 15,310 fans. The rivalry brings out the best in the Utes who hadn't scored a 197.0 in the regular season since their 2009 outing against the Cougars.
"This team continues to amaze me and I think we continue to amaze everyone," said senior Stephanie McAllister. "We are such a young group with the freshman and sophomores, but there is so much talent and so much depth."
Utah has 11 underclassmen to complement three seniors and one junior on this year's roster. The freshmen stepped up again Friday, led by Kailah Delaney's career-best 9.950 on the vault. Becky Tutka also pounded out a career-best with a 9.9 to lead things off on the floor.
Overall, Utah had season-best scores on three events. The first came on the bars after four Utes rolled out 9.9s to erase a fall by Nansy Damianova.
Cortni Beers was one of those 9.9s, which tied her career-best. The senior then matched the score on beam to set a new career high and lead the team to a season-high 49.35.
"She (Beers) only does a couple of events and the focus goes to all-arounders. She's quietly improved herself each year and this year she is at her very best," said Utah co-head coach Greg Marsden. "She seems to have a lot of confidence and is really working hard in the gym to get better."
"It's my last year, and I just want to go out there and have fun," said Beers. "I think that takes pressure off — it's just gymnastics and I'm out here having fun doing something I've always wanted to do."
Beers' 9.9 on beam gave her the win, while she tied with three teammates for the victory on bars. Utah then posted a 49.45 on floor, led by Corrie Lothrop's 9.925. Lothrop, who tied all four of her individual event career highs, was the all-around winner with a career-best 39.575.
"Talk about somebody that's on a mission — really has rediscovered her passion for this sport," said Marsden about Lothrop. "Really working hard in every aspect in everything — conditioning, nutrition and technique."
The Utes weren't the only team enjoying bests as BYU posted season highs on vault (48.925) and bars (48.8). The Cougars did suffer a blow though when high-scorer and Utah native Megan Bain tore her Achilles while warming up for a floor exercise. Bain had posted a 9.8 on vault earlier in the meet.
"Losing Megan is going to hurt," said BYU coach Brad Cattermole. "She's one of our stars and one of our team leaders.
"The meet itself, I thought we needed to be a little sharper than we were.
"On vault we were bouncing around on some landings. Overall, I'm not unhappy, we are just going to need to figure out who goes in the lineup now and how to improve on some things."
Up next, BYU has its first home meet of the season Saturday when it hosts Boise State. Meanwhile, the third-ranked Utes welcome No. 7 Georgia to town to kickoff a string of ranked opponents.
"The last two meets haven't really been that close," said Marsden. "Now we need what's going to happen next week. We need someone who is going to challenge us, who the meet is going to be tight with all the way through — go back and forth and come down to the last routine and certainly last event. We need to be in those situations and our schedule from this point forward will provide us those situations."
Utah 197.55, BYU 194.45
All-Around: 1. Lothrop, Utah, 39.575; 2. McAllister, Utah, 39.325; 3. Willman, BYU, 39.025.
Vault: 1. Delaney, Utah, 9.950; 2. Lothrop, Utah, 9.875; 3. Dabritz, Utah, 9.850; 4. Wilson, Utah, 9.825; 5. McAllister, Utah, 9.800, Robarts, Utah, 9.800, Willman, BYU, 9.800, Bain, BYU, 9.800, Eyre-Pickard, BYU, 9.800.
Bars: 1. Beers, Utah, 9.900, Dabritz, Utah, 9.900, Lothrop, Utah, 9.900, McAllister, Utah, 9.900; 5. Lopez, Utah, 9.850; 6. Willman, BYU, 9.825, Eyre-Pickard, BYU, 9.825.
Beam: 1. Beers, Utah, 9.900; 2. Lothrop, Utah, 9.875, Lofgren, Utah, 9.875, Koval, BYU, 9.875; 5. Lopez, Utah, 9.850, Robarts, Utah, 9.850.
Floor: 1. Lothrop, Utah, 9.925; 2. Tutka, Utah, 9.900, McAllister, Utah, 9.900; 4. Dabritz, Utah, 9.875; 5. Damianova, Utah, 9.850; 6. Robarts, Utah, 9.825, Koval, BYU, 9.825.
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