Utah, BYU, SUU gymnastics: Red Rocks win quad meet but lose Kassandra Lopez for the season
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Four teams, fast energy and a lot of action are good ways to summarize Saturday’s gymnastics meet in front of 14,910 fans at the Huntsman Center.
In the end, the home team, No. 6 Utah, ran away with it at 196.65 points, followed by No. 23 Boise State at 195.85, BYU at 194.55 and SUU at 192.025. It wasn’t always a lock, though, for Utah as the Red Rocks only led the Broncos by one-tenth of a point heading into the final rotation.
“I knew it was close going into the last event, but also knew it was floor and we would do really well,” said junior Becky Tutka, who hit for 9.85 in the event. Teammate Nansy Damianova earned the floor title with a 9.9 to wrap up the Red Rocks’ night.
The Red Rocks started even better than they finished with a team vault score of 49.425. Though Utah has been a great vaulting team in recent years, it had to compete in the event after learning teammate Kassandra Lopez had torn her Achilles during team warm-ups and was out for the season.
The junior was scheduled to go on three events Saturday. Tutka was the last-minute replacement in vault and started the Red Rocks off with a 9.875. Utah’s Kailah Delaney and Georgia Dabritz and SUU’s Danielle Ramirez tied for the win on vault with 9.9s.
The substitutions continued to work out for the Red Rocks with Tory Wilson scoring a career-best 9.95 on bars to tie her teammate Dabritz for the event win. The high scores were needed after seniors Corrie Lothrop and Damianova fell. On beam, freshman Baely Rowe, who wasn’t scheduled to compete, stepped in and notched a 9.75. Boise State’s Krystine Jacobsen won beam at 9.875.
Utah co-head coach Greg Marsden said his team learned how to bounce back last season when the same injury that Lopez suffered Saturday knocked team leader Lothrop out for the year.
“Again, as was the case with Colo (Lothrop), one person’s tragedy is another person’s opportunity,” said Marsden. “I’m proud of those people for stepping in to those places and showing us what they were capable of tonight.”
Marsden was quick to admit, however, that losing Lopez really did put a down mood on the meet, and will affect Utah because Lopez is a consistent scorer and beautiful gymnast.
BYU’s Haylee Rollins hit 9.825 on bars and 9.85 on floor, while Makenzie Johnson recorded a 9.875 on vault to lead the way for the Cougars. BYU also saw strong performances from KayCee Gassaway, who’s returning from redshirting last year because of an ankle injury. Gassaway put up a 9.875 on vault and a 9.75 on bars. BYU coach Brad Cattermole said he also was happy with Raquel Willman’s finish after the junior fell on beam. Willman scored a 9.825 on floor, 9.825 on vault and 9.775 on bars.
“We’ve just got to stay on the equipment. Otherwise, I thought we did pretty well minus some first-meet jitters,” said Cattermole. “If we can stay on the equipment, we are as good as anyone.”
Like BYU, Southern Utah’s best event was vault. The Cougars notched a team score of 49.15, while the Thunderbirds finished with a 49.075. SUU's Alyssa Click returned from missing last season due to a knee injury to finish with a 9.7 on beam and a 9.75 on bars.
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