One thing Ute gymnastics coach Greg Marsden learned about Kyndal Robarts last year when she was a freshman is that she's a gamer.
"I do know that about Kyndal she is a competitor," Marsden said.
She reminded him of that again Friday night when she had some outstanding routines done in exhibition after she'd been out since before Christmas with a torn labrum in her right shoulder.
She just began training routines again last week.
"My first full beam routine was Thursday, so after practice when Greg was like, 'You're exhibitioning on beam,' I was like, 'OK.' That was exciting," said Robarts, who did so well she's penciled into the beam lineup to count for Friday's meet at Oregon State.
Last Friday, in No. 2-ranked Utah's 196.85-193.45 home win over Washington, Robarts got 9.775 on beam, having done only one full routine in practice since early December, and her exhibition vault scored 9.825.
"She hadn't done that much in the gym but enough that I was willing to put her out there and see how she handled it because I do know from last year that she's a competitor she tends to bring it during the competition and is even better than in practice," Marsden said.
The vault done Friday was much better than she'd shown in practices last week.
That's one of the reasons Marsden doesn't have her in the preliminary vault lineup. The other reason is that he's pretty satisfied with his current vault team that ranks No. 3 in the NCAA and led the country earlier in the season.
"Before I start displacing people out of the lineup, I'd just like her to be a little more consistent in practices, on vault at least," he said, adding that eventually, "we've got to have her in that vault lineup. She was an All-American in vault. She made vault finals last year."
Just being back to the point that she could do routines and not have any shoulder pain the next day her legs and shoulders were sore but not the torn labrum "It totally brightens my outlook. I'm excited to get back out there," said Robarts, who was potentially facing being out until some time in February, or even season-ending surgery if rest hadn't helped her shoulder.
She said trainer Tom Iriye won't let her do things that would put the shoulder in jeopardy, and, "It's already torn so I don't think I can really do anything. I could re-sublux it, but I'm not doing anything to put me in danger of that."
A FEW MORE: Marsden got a call Monday from the Utah ticket manager telling him Friday night's announced attendance of 12,099 was wrong. A count of ticket stubs revealed the crowd was actually 13,080. The Utes regularly win the NCAA attendance championship, so finding nearly 1,000 attendees more was important.
"I was happy with the 12-1 figure," Marsden said, noting he'd feared it would be much lower because of the heavy fog that night, so thick it even closed a runway at Salt Lake International, "so now to realize that it was really 13, I'm even happier."
However, said Marsden, "When he first called me, 'Hey coach, I just wanted to let you know before you got the box report, I made a mistake.' I was afraid he was going to tell me that it was less. Hey, 'Don't scare me like that, tell me, "I've got good news for you."'"RANKINGS: Ute senior Kristina Baskett (9.925 average) remains No. 2 on bars in the NCAA, behind Georgia's Courtney Kupets (9.969), with whom she tied for the NCAA bars title as a freshman, and she stands No. 3 in NCAA vault rankings (9.90). Baskett ranks eighth (39.367) in the all-around. Annie DiLuzio (9.883) ranks No. 6 on floor exercise. The Utes as a team are the country's top bars team (49.275).
NCAA women's gymnastics poll1 comment on this story
(Jan. 26, by total season average)
Rank ... School ... Average ... High
1 Georgia ... 196.650 ... 197.175
2 Utah ... 196.583 ... 196.850
3 UCLA ... 196.544 ... 197.125
4 Stanford ... 196.275 ... 196.775
5 Florida ... 1996.142 ... 196.500
6 Auburn ... 196.137 ... 196.375
7 Oklahoma ... 196.125 ... 197.175
8 Arkansas ... 196.025 ... 196.375
9 Alabama ... 195.925 ... 196.275
10 LSU ... 195.400 ... 196.575
34 Southern Utah ... 192.850 ... 195.250
50 Brigham Young ... 189.583 ... 190.650