Utah gymnastics: Red Rocks hit all 24 routines in solid win over Oregon State

By Melissa Yack

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, Feb. 22 2014 10:05 p.m. MST

Becky Tutka competes in the floor competition against Oregon State at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014.

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s gymnastics team did something it hasn’t done all season Saturday night in its 197.575-196.45 victory over No. 11 Oregon State. It hit all 24 of its routines.

“It was long overdue,” said Utah co-head coach Greg Marsden.

Fourth-ranked Utah blasted out to an early lead that was never in danger as it posted its best vault score of the season at 49.625. All five of the scores that counted were 9.9s or higher, with teammates Tory Wilson and Kailah Delaney winning the event at 9.95.

“It’s definitely our best event,” said Wilson about the vault. “We’ve just figured out what works for us and how to use the power we all have.”

Utah’s no stranger to a good start as it leads the country on vault. But this time around, it carried the early momentum through to the other three events. After hitting on the uneven bars, the Red Rocks looked determined to rectify a meltdown on the balance beam earlier in the week that handed them their first loss of the season.

Though the balance beam score wasn’t its best of the year, Utah did get a career-best-tying effort from Mary Beth Lofgren at 9.925 after the senior fell earlier in the week. The score gave Lofgren the beam victory. Delaney also stayed on after falling two straight weeks.

“We still have work to do, but it was a step back in the right direction,” said Marsden about beam. “Being out there for the first time in 30 years, I saw some things that we can implement.”

Most faithful Red Rock fans know that Marsden doesn’t watch the beam since it's not his event — co-head coach Megan Marsden coaches it. But with the team struggling this season on beam, Greg admitted he couldn’t ask his team to change its approach if he wasn’t willing to do the same. So rather than burying himself in the tunnel, he remained on the floor.

“He gave me a head nod,” laughed Georgia Dabritz, who knew that meant he was happy she hit.

For Dabritz, who had a look of determination through her beam effort, it was a sigh of relief to get a strong all-around score. Her efforts included a 9.875 on the beam, which has been her nemesis during her collegiate career.

“I just wanted to nail it and just prove to everyone I could be in the beam lineup and do all-around this year,” Dabritz said.

She won the all-around at 39.625, which bested her teammate Wilson at 39.5. She also remained undefeated on the bars with a 9.95. Dabritz is one of the most talented gymnasts in the country, but debuted this season on beam just this past week because her coaches didn't feel she was ready.

“She’s come a long way on balance beam,” said Greg Marsden. “She has a much better approach.”

The intriguing thing about Utah’s victory Saturday is that it didn’t have the handful of career-bests the Red Rocks have recorded in other meets. But the perfect effort that included no falls is something Greg Marsden and his gymnasts will take any day.

“Last week we didn’t do as well as we can as a beam team,” said Wilson. “You have to have bad days to have good days. I’m thankful we got the bad days out of the way.”

Utah’s 197.575 was its second-best score of the season. The Red Rocks won every event on the night, with Nansy Damianova earning a 9.9 on floor to close out the meet.

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