CORVALLIS, Ore. No one had beaten the Oregon State gymnasts in Gill Coliseum since the last time the Utes were in town two years ago. Not a lot changed on this visit, as the Utes stole away with a 197.050-196.650 victory over the No. 11 ranked Beavers.
On a night when Utah's star all-arounder Kristina Baskett struggled, a strong Ute team effort propelled the nation's No. 2-ranked team. Baskett fell on the bars the first fall on her specialty in two years and also had a mistake that cost her on the beam. But big nights by teammates like Jamie Deetscreek (39.350 in the all-around), Daria Bijak (9.925 on bars, 9.875 on vault and beam), and Annie DiLuzio (9.925 on vault, 9.875 on floor and 9.825 on beam) overcame the senior's miscues.
Baskett, who did win the vault with a 9.95 and scored a 9.875 on the floor, liked how her teammates rallied.
"That's why I love this team," she said. "Everyone takes their turn. Tonight, they saved me; sometimes I save them. It wasn't my night, but what is important is how well we did as a team and the fact that we broke 197 on the road, in (Gill Coliseum)."
Utah topped 197 for the first time of the season despite seeing its score drop in a strange turn of events after the meet was over and the crowd was exiting the building. Deetscreek and Kim were both docked
after the fact on the beam: Deetscreek going from 9.875 to 9.85 and Kim dropping from 9.775 to 9.65.
Utah coach Greg Marsden saw a lot he liked.
"We won the meet tonight on the balance beam," he said. "We are a good beam team and have had two good road meets on that event, even though it didn't appear that way at Georgia because of the score.
"It says a lot about our composure. We are continuing to build confidence and everyone is getting comfortable in their roles."
While Utah topped 49.000 on every event, Marsden singled
out vault as another important event.
"Our vaults have been big all year, but we stuck our vault landings
tonight and I was especially happy with Annie DiLuzio," Marsen said. "She upgraded her vault to a one-and-a-half and it was huge. Annie had too much juice to do a full, so even though this vault is more difficult, it's a better vault for her. This one-and-a-half will put Annie back in the ballgame at the NCAA's. She will be in contention to win it, which is where she should be, as good of a vaulter as she is."
Utah kicked off the meet with a good-looking bar set, other than
Baskett's rare tumble. The first five gymnasts for the nation's
top-ranked bar team had few noticeable deductions, although only Bijak (9.925) was rewarded with a big score and the bar scoring remained tight for Oregon State one event later. The Beavers led by a slender 49.150-49.125 margin after posting a season-high score on the vault.
Utah then marched over and set its season-high on vault with a 49.450. Baskett (9.95) threw an all-but perfect vault to edge teammates Nina Kim (9.925) and Annie DiLuzio (9.925) for individual honors. Over on the bars, OSU scored a 49.150 and, at the midway point, Utah led 98.575-98.300.
The Utes expanded their lead to a half point when a nice floor set
scored a 49.325. Utah's final four competitors Bijak, DiLuzio, Kim and Baskett all received 9.875s, and leadoff performer Deetscreek's 9.825 was also in the count. Oregon State hung in on the beam with its third 49.000-plus score of the night (a 49.10). Going into the balance beam, the Utes led 147.900-147.400.
While Oregon State was putting together its best event of the night on the floor (a 49.25), the Utes calmly went to work on the beam. Kyndal Robarts, competing to count for the first time of the season due to a shoulder tear, kicked off the set with a career-best 9.875. She would finish as Utah's top scorer on the beam placing second overall tying Bijak, who rocked the plank from the No. 5 position.
SOUTHERN UTAH SPLITS: At Cape Girardeau, Mo., the Thunderbirds posted a win over Centenary, but suffered a loss to host Southeast Missouri State. Despite the loss, junior Elise Wheeler claimed her fourth consecutive all-around title this season.
SUU entered the meet with a small squad, traveling only eight athletes as the team fielded five all-around competitors. Shannon Coughlin missed the meet after coming down with the flu earlier in the week.
Wheeler captured the all-around title with a 39.175 as the T-Birds settled into second place with a 193.625, trailing Southeast Missouri State with a 194.450. Both teams bested Centenary, which finished with a team score of 189.475.
AGGIES FALL TO BRONCOS: At Boise, season-bests in three events paced Utah State to a season-best points total in the Aggies' 194.350-193.600 loss at No. 25 Boise State.
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Heather Heinrich won the all-around with a 38.950, just .050 shy of her career-best of 39.000, as well as tying a career-high with a 9.850 to win the vault. Nicole Simoneau won the beam with a career-high tying 9.800. It was Heinrich's second win in a row on vault and her first in the all-around, while it was Simoneau's third win of the season, after two event titles on bars.
The Aggies posted season-bests of 48.725 on vault, 48.600 on floor and 47.875 on beam, as well as a 48.400, good for the second-best of the season, in tallying a 193.600, their top score of 2009.
USU is now 0-4 overall and 0-2 in WAC competition while BSU has a 5-1 overall and 2-0 WAC record.