SALT LAKE CITY — After earning All-American honors on vault last season, sophomore Tory Wilson hoped to get a shot at all-around this season.
She did not, however, anticipate it would come with the team losing junior co-captain and leading all-around contender Corrie Lothrop to a torn Achilles. Lothrop suffered the injury during warm-ups for her floor routine after leading the all-around competition in last Friday's meet.
Now it's up to Wilson and her teammates to try and replace one of their most consistent gymnasts, starting when they host No. 23 California (6-3, 1-3) Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Huntsman Center.
Wilson became the country's top-ranked vaulter last week with her fourth win in four meets. She is averaging 9.944 in those four competitions, and her 9.975 against Arizona State last week earned her Pac-12 Specialist of the Week honors Tuesday.
"She's come a long way in a year," said co-head coach Greg Marsden of Wilson's progress. "But this is why we recruited her. She does big skills, and we knew we just needed to clean her up a bit. If we could do that, she was going to be something special for us."
Marsden said Wilson is an intelligent athlete who has learned to refine her power.
"She worked hard on her execution, which was her weakness," said Marsden. "Her line and her definition ... the polish — she worked really hard on that this year and you're seeing evidence of that. She does a nice job on three events and she's working on a new transition on bars, and if she can get that, she'll be a contender on bars."
With Lothrop's injury, the Utes need to fill four spots. It's expected that junior (and Skyline grad) Mary Beth Lofgren will take her place on vault; Wilson will fill in on bars; freshman Haley Lang will compete in her place on beam; and junior Lia Del Priore will fill in on floor.
Utah has won or tied in every individual event and the all-around competition in every meet except against UCLA. There, Wilson tied for first place on vault.
Utah jumped up to No. 7 in the rankings this week — its highest ranking since starting the season at No. 5. Several other gymnasts are ranked nationally, including sophomore Georgia Dabritz (tied for second on bars), Becky Tutka (tied for 12th on floor) and Lothrop) tied for 13th all-around).
After Saturday's meet, in which every fan under 5-foot is admitted for free, the Utes head to Washington for a meet Feb. 15.