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Utah gymnastics: Utes blast by UCLA

By Melissa Yack

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, Jan. 25 2014 10:55 p.m. MST

Utah's Tory Wilson competes in the floor portion of a contest against UCLA at the Jon M. Huntsman Center on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014.

Matt Gade, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah co-head coach Greg Marsden grabbed his 999th victory before 14,483 Huntsman faithful Saturday night as No. 4 Utah blasted Pac-12 rival and eighth-ranked UCLA 197.125-195.875. It’s the highest score of the season for Utah, despite having to count a fall on the beam again.

“We were about as good as we can be on three events,” said Marsden.

Utah kicked off the meet holding true to its No. 1 ranking on vault as it pounded out a season-best 49.6. Junior Georgia Dabritz led the way with a career-high 9.975 while three other Red Rocks hit for a 9.9 or better, including MaryBeth Lofgren, who was a last-minute substitute in the lineup.

The effort gave Utah the energy and lead it needed — a lead that was never threatened. Meanwhile, UCLA struggled from the get-go, changing its lineups due to a stomach bug afflicting the team.

But despite the Bruins’ struggles, Utah looked as good as it has this season. The Red Rocks notched several career highs on the night, and as a team put up their best bars effort at 49.525 to follow vault. Dabritz carried over her momentum onto the bars with a 9.95 and a career-best tying 9.975 on floor.

“She was absolutely perfect tonight,” Marsden said of Dabritz. “She could not have done those three events better than she did tonight. She was just on.”

“It was a great night — a great night for everybody on the team,” said Dabritz. “I had a lot of fun out there.”

As it did on vault, Utah had four gymnasts go for 9.9 or higher on bars. Nansy Damianova and Corrie Lothrop, who both fell off the bars in the opening season meet, both hit career-bests of 9.925 Saturday.

Beam was the only event a Red Rock didn’t go for higher than a 9.85. Tory Wilson and Lofgren both fell off the apparatus. It was the second straight week Lofgren has fallen in the anchor position.

“With beam you do need to settle in and pace yourself,” said Lofgren. “We are such a powerful team.”

“The challenge is, and what we’re talking about is that beam needs to become our best event,” said Marsden. “We need to completely flip it and make it our best. If we do that, we are a contender.”

Utah capped things off on floor where Damianova ended the meet with a career-best 9.95.

“This meet was another step forward,” said Marsden. “It’s a little tough — I’m still stewing on getting ourselves back into this mindset with beam. I’m anxious to demonstrate we’re a better team there than we are showing right now. So many positive things, but as a coach you tend to hone in on things you need to get better at.”

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