Utah gymnastics: Corrie Lothrop back in the swing of things

By Melissa Yack

For the Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 22 2014 1:55 p.m. MST

SALT LAKE CITY — Consistency is something Utah gymnast Corrie Lothrop has long been known for. Heading into No. 4 Utah’s meet against No. 8 UCLA Saturday in the Huntsman Center, Lothrop has only missed four of her 119 collegiate routines.

The majority of the routines came during her freshman and sophomore seasons, when she was Utah’s top scorer in the all-around. She earned Pac-12 all-around champion honors during her sophomore year and was perfect in routines as a junior last year before tearing her left Achilles early in the season.

It’s that injury, which isn’t unfamiliar given she tore her right Achilles prior to joining Utah, that has limited Lothrop to bars and beam so far this year. It also has slowed her ability to regain the level of consistency she had before. Heading into last Friday’s win over Cal, Lothrop had fallen on her bars connection in both the Red Rocks Preview and Utah’s season opening win. But she changed her release for the Cal meet and hit for a 9.9.

“That first meet of the season I was really nervous,” said Lothrop. “It’s a different kind of nervousness when you haven’t competed in awhile. I got that meet out of the way and put a meet together like I wanted to last weekend, which I think will make me more confident for the rest of the season.”

Lothrop, who was a 2008 U.S. Olympic team alternate, said the second Achilles injury reiterated how much she hates being on the sidelines and loves competing. She also said the injury grew her love for gymnastics and her teammates as she turned into their biggest cheerleader. But Lothrop also admitted not competing and training made her a bit stir crazy since gymnastics is something she’s been doing for nearly 20 years.

“I was going a bit crazy and needed something to do so I started volunteering at Best Friends Animal Society,” said Lothrop. “I love the animals and had so much fun walking and playing with them. I said I’ll be back to volunteer when the season is over.”

“Corrie is really a great team leader and person and can help us in so many ways,” said Utah co-head coach Megan Marsden. “It was great to see her hit her bars routine last weekend — we knew it was just a matter of time for her.”

Time is something Lothrop’s had to be patient with during the rehab and as she tries to crack the vault lineup for Utah. She admits while her foot has held her back some, she isn’t at the level of consistency she needs to be at to compete for a spot in the nation’s best vault lineup.

“I started a new vault last year and it’s better for my body all-around, but I need to work on the technical elements,” said Lothrop.

During all of this, the Massachusetts native has also had to watch her dad, Don, experience the same recovery after he tore his Achilles last fall. Lothrop was adopted from China, so the injury wasn’t hereditary.

“It’s really weird that it happened to him so soon after, and even weirder that it was the left one just like me,” said Lothrop. “He’s really stubborn, and not doing what the doctors say, so he’s taking a longer time to recover.”

Utah’s co-captain Lothrop is expected to be fourth in the bars lineup and lead off the beam against UCLA. She’s a second-team All-American in both events and five-time All-American overall. Though listed as a senior, she received a medical hardship and has two seasons of eligibility left.

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