Red Rocks struggle in event finals

By Stan Awtrey

For the Deseret News

Published: Sunday, April 22 2012 10:24 p.m. MDT

Kailah Delaney from the University of Utah.

university of utah

DULUTH, Ga. — Now, Kailah Delaney has her assignment for the summer. She needs to find another vault.

The Utah freshman ran into that problem Sunday in the individual event finals at the NCAA Championships at the Gwinnett Center. She earned a spot as one of 10 finalists in the vault, but competitors are required to use two different vaults or have points deducted.

Despite the handicap, the first-team All-American scored a 9.7 and finished ninth in the nation. She scored 9.825 on her first effort and 9.575 on the second.

"I don't really have a second vault," Delaney said. "They said I'd need one if I go to nationals."

The native of Yorba Linda, Calif., has been one of the nation's top vaulters all season. She was first-team All-Pac 12 on the vault and finished second in the event at the regional meet. Delaney scored a 9.9 or better on vault in nine of her 11 competitions.

"The vault has been my best even since club," Delaney said. "I've done the same vault for a long time and I've had a lot of practice."

Coach Greg Marsden knew there was a chance that Delaney could be handicapped, but admitted adding a second vault to a repertoire isn't an overnight process.

"We've got to get her a second vault," he said. "It's something we'll work on over the summer."

Teammate Georgia Dabritz, also a freshman, finished 10th in the vault.

Utah wound up with three first-team All-Americans: Delaney and Dabritz on vault, and Corrie Lothrop on all-around. Second-team honors went to Stephanie McAllister (vault), Tory Wilson (vault), and Lothrop (bars and floor).

A night after the Southeastern Conference dominated the team competition, with Alabama and Florida finishing one-two, the league did the same for the individual events.

Competitors from the SEC won all four events: Kat Ding of Georgia won the uneven bars and floor exercise, Kytra Hunter of Florida won the vault, and Geralen Stack-Eaton won the balance beam.

Ding, who was third in the vault, won the bars for the second straight year. Her efforts also gave the Georgia fans something to cheer about after their team unexpectedly failed to qualify for the Super Six on Friday night. It was a dominating performance from a young woman whose only other scholarship offer four years ago came from Iowa.

"Honestly, this is for my team, it's not about me personally," Ding said. "I want to represent my program in the best way possible and by doing so I came away with wins. It's for the University of Georgia. It's not for anybody else."

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