Heading into the final event of the second-ranked Utah gymnastics' meet Friday night against fourth-ranked UCLA, it came as no surprise to the 12,951 fans in attendance that seniors Kristina Baskett and Nina Kim were in a neck-and-neck battle for the all-around title. A mere .025 separated the two, with Kim up first on the floor.
The two had posted strong scores through the first three events, pushing each other all night long. Kim led off her night with a career-best 9.95 on the vault good enough to win the event while Baskett notched a meet-best 9.925 on the bars.
"It's great to get a high score because it helps get the team going, especially early on," said Kim.
Kim posted the better balance beam score at 9.875 compared to 9.8 in her first appearance as the closer in the event Utah is looking for a new closer with the loss of Ashley Postell to graduation. But, then came the floor exercise.
The seniors were the final two competitors for the Utes, who had posted decent scores in the event. But both gymnasts fell during their routines. Kim fell on two of her passes to earn an 8.55, while Baskett stumbled on a pass to finish in at 9.375.
"We have a lot of the elements we want in our passes that we normally wouldn't have until the end of the season," said Baskett. "I think a little fatigue and not running through the routines as much as other routines might have settled in. We know what we need to work on now when we get back in the gym."
The low scores took both seniors out of the all-around running and allowed Jamie Deetscreek to grab the title in her first all-around appearance. The junior posted her best score on the night in vault at 9.875 to set up Kim and Baskett on the event.
"I was really nervous, but I've been preparing the whole week to be nervous. My training tied in being nervous. My teammates helped me so much because they were excited for me to do all-around. I made some mistakes hit my foot on bars and wobbled on beam but had to get past that because I was so excited for floor," said Deetscreek.
Deetscreek led off the floor for Utah with a solid 9.825 in her first collegiate appearance in the event. Though the junior's scores weren't as high in the other events as her teammates, her persistence paid off.
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"I'm just glad that I could prove that all of my hard work is paying off," said Deetscreek.
"It's great to have Kristina (Baskett) and Nina (Kim) on this team. All of us build it up for them to get high scores and that helps motivate them. Kristina is great at getting us fired, up and Nina helps us build confidence. Each has their individual role on this team and helps us get confident and ready to hit our routine.
"Everyone wants to set up each other for a big score," said Kim. "When we get a rally going on any event, that's when we are at our best."