Utah Utes gymnastics: Best road score not enough vs. Florida

Published: Friday, March 16 2012 10:21 p.m. MDT

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Facing the nation's top-ranked team on its senior night, the Utah gymnasts needed a nearly perfect meet to win the meet. Instead, Florida had the nearly perfect meet while Utah had to count a fall and the Red Rocks fell 197.900-196.475. Utah heads into the postseason on the heels of a two-meet losing streak for the first time in school history.

"It's frustrating because we're not a very good road team and I wish I could tell you why," said coach Greg Marsden. "If it was one person or one event or one situation, it would be easier to fix, but it's different people and different events. We've squandered every opportunity on the road."

Ironically, Utah's 196.475 was its best road score of the season even though the only event the Red Rocks hit cleanly was vault. "We had some really nice routines on bars but then two of our best and most consistent gymnasts fell. Vault was very nice, but floor was just sloppy and we were not aggressive or precise on beam," lamented Marsden.

The Red Rocks took themselves out of the meet immediately with two falls on bars, their first event, with the mishaps coming from unusual sources. Normally steady, high-scoring Kassandra Lopez and Stephanie McAllister fell from the third and sixth positions and Utah staggered out to a 49.325-48.900 first-event deficit. The falls overshadowed beautiful 9.90 performances from Hailee Hansen and Georgia Dabritz.

Vault went much better for the Red Rocks, who scored a 49.325 aided by 9.90s by Dabritz and Kailah Delaney, but Florida put up a 49.500 on the bars and after two events, Utah trailed 98.825-98.225.

Floor was decent, if not spectacular for the Red Rocks, whose 49.175 score was highlighted by Corrie Lothrop's 9.875. With Florida tearing up the beam, the Red Rocks fell farther behind, trailing by nearly a point entering the final event, 148.300-147.400.

The deficit would hold up in the finale, where All-America senior Kyndal Robarts fell off the beam (she also fell on floor) and only Lothrop (9.90) put up a big score.

"If we don't take a big step forward, we won't go far in the postseason," said Marsden. "That would be very disappointing because we have a very talented, hard-working, fun group that just can't seem to take that next step.

"We're not giving up. We'll get back in the gym and work hard. We're struggling to put it all together, but we're not giving up," added Marsden, whose team will compete in the evening session with top-four teams at the Pac-12 Championships in Salt Lake City next Saturday.

There are two sessions to the Mar. 24 Pac-12 Championships in Salt Lake City. Seeds 5-8 will start at 2 p.m. while Utah and the other three top seeds will compete at 7 p.m. Tickets are on sale at UtahRed Rocks.com and 801-581-UTIX.

NO. 14 AUBURN 195.950, BYU 192.575: At Auburn, Ala., Natalie Pickard posted a 9.875 on beam and a 9.825 on vault for the Cougars, but Allyson Sandusky led the Tigers with a 9.90 on bars.

NO. 15 BOISE ST. 196.850, S. UTAH 195.875: At Cedar City, Alyssa Click had a 9.925 on beam for the Thunderbirds while Boise State's Amy Glass had a 9.925 on bars and Brittany Potvin-Green had a 9.925 on the vault.

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