Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Utah gymnast Tory Wilson is about as calm of a person as you will ever meet. She has nerves of steel as a competitor, and she’s quick to spin questions about her individual success — which includes leading the country on the vault and recording five all-around wins this season — to instead focus on her team.
So with fifth-ranked Utah having already sealed a 197.125-193.475 victory Friday night at home over Washington, Wilson attempted a skill Utah co-head coach Greg Marsden said to his knowledge had only been attempted by one other female collegiate gymnast. Wilson added a full twist to her double layout in her first floor pass.
Wilson hit the skill, but couldn’t hold on to land it in bounds. She admitted it was nice to try something new that keeps the sport exciting for her, her team and the fans.
“It was just fun,” said Marsden. “We had been training it this summer and had been doing it periodically throughout preseason. We took a break as the season got started and focused on just getting things clean with the regular routine. A couple of weeks ago I said kiddingly, ‘Are we ever going to do this,’ and she said, ‘Let’s go.'”
Wilson credited her teammates for hitting their routines to set up a scenario that allowed her to do the skill. The first five Red Rocks on floor all hit 9.9s or higher and in the end recorded their second-best floor score of the season at 49.575. Lia Del Priore led the way with a season-high 9.95 to win the event. Mary Beth Lofgren hit for a career-best 9.9 after being bumped from the lineup last week.
Kailah Delaney had replaced Lofgren on floor, but she was held out of floor and beam after battling strep throat most of the week. Delaney did go on the vault and won the event with a 9.925.
On bars, Georgia Dabritz suffered her first loss in the event this season. It was her teammate Nansy Damianova who bested Dabritz with a score of 9.925. Utah hit for a total of 49.275 despite suffering its first fall on bars since the first meet of the season. Hailee Hansen missed the bar after her release, but it was the first time Hansen had fallen since the first meet of last season.
“We just need to stick more dismounts on bars,” said Marsden. We stuck our last three, but took hops on our first three. Obviously Hailee’s miss is not typical, so I’m not worried about that.”
Utah also had a fall on beam by Breanna Hughes. Hughes is trying to fight her way back into the beam lineup after being replaced by Dabrtiz the previous two meets. With Dabritz, who was battling a glute strain, and Delaney out on beam, Hughes and Becky Tutka replaced them. Tutka hit a 9.8, but Utah’s score of 48.95 marked the fourth time this season its beam score has been below the 49.0 mark. In its other three events, Utah has only fallen below the 49.0 mark once and that came in the first meet of the season on bars when two gymnasts fell.
“I do feel like we are gradually making progress on balance beam,” said Marsden. “We’re not satisfied with where we are, but from where we started this has to be a process, and we continue to build on that. I’m liking the demeanor over there better in last couple of weeks.”
Lofgren grabbed the beam win with a 9.9, while Wilson won the all-around at 39.025.
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