Utes unable to overcome slow start vs. 'Dogs

Marsden outraged by judges, happy with team's performance

Published: Saturday, Feb. 26 2005 12:00 a.m. MST

ATHENS, Ga. — The No. 4 Utah gymnastics team mounted a comeback after falling behind No. 8 Georgia by over half a point on the first event. But the Utes came up just short for the second straight week, falling 197.275-197.150 to a Georgia team that shattered its previous season best by nearly a point.
Despite its best road score and "best meet" of the season, Utah head coach Greg Marsden expressed outrage over the outcome.
"I couldn't be prouder than the job our team did tonight," Marsden said. "We got stronger and stronger as the meet went on. The only place we gave away a little was on bars, but after that it was our best meet of the year. In my way of thinking, we were winners tonight. We just weren't wearing the right leotard to the judges.
"This was still really fun tonight."
Faced with an almost insurmountable 49.475-48.975 deficit after one event, it seemed Utah would need the Bulldogs to count a fall — as they did in the previous five meets — to make things close. Instead, Utah clawed back without the benefit of such an assist.
Utah closed to within a tenth of a point, 147.700-147.600, heading into the final event. While the crowd of 8,172 roared for the Bulldogs on the floor, Utah was scoring a season-best 49.550 on beam. But Georgia counteracted with a 49.575 on the floor in a finish that left Marsden fuming. With the meet still in doubt, closer Ashley Kupets landed her final double back low to the floor and stumbled forward to keep upright. She received a 9.925.
A similar event occurred earlier on the balance beam, where Georgia's first performer fell and its sixth competitor flailed mightily to stay on the beam — bending completely over the apparatus before regaining her balance — yet scored a 9.675.
Scoring aside, Marsden was thrilled with the about-face his team made from a lackluster performance at Nebraska five days earlier. Utah's four all-arounders all placed in the top two, including ties. Senior Annabeth Eberle fired out her best effort of the year to win it with a 39.575. Tied for second with Georgia's Kupets were Nicolle Ford, Rachel Tidd and Ashley Postell, all with a 39.425.
Tidd tied for first on the uneven bars with a 9.925, Eberle and Postell shared top honors on the balance beam with a 9.95. Utah hit 23 of 24 routines, with the only fall from Dominique D'Oliveira on the bars.

Georgia 197.275, Utah 197.150


Megan Dowlen, 9.875
Katie Heenan, 9.925
Brittany Smith, 9.850
Michelle Emmons, 9.925
Kelsey Ericksen, 9.825
Ashley Kupets, 9.900

Gabriella Onodi, 9.700
Jessica Duke, 9.900
Nicolle Ford, 9.825
Ashley Postell, 9.875
Rachel Tidd, 9.800
Annabeth Eberle, 9.900


Audrey Bowers, 9.050
Nikki Childs, 9.775
Megan Dowlen, 9.825
Katie Heenan, 9.825
Kelsey Ericksen, 9.925
Ashley Kupets, 9.850

Katie Kivisto, 9.725
Dominique D'Oliveira, 9.175
Annabeth Eberle, 9.825
Ashley Postell, 9.675
Nicolle Ford, 9.825
Rachel Tidd, 9.925


Kelsey Ericksen, 9.275
Megan Dowlen, 9.775
Brittany Smith, 9.900
Nikki Childs, 9.925
Ashley Kupets, 9.750
Katie Heenan, 9.675

Gabriella Onodi, 9.825
Kristen Riffanacht, 9.850
Rachel Tidd, 9.875
Nicolle Ford, 9.925
Annabeth Eberle, 9.950
Ashley Postell, 9.950


Nikki Childs, 9.850
Megan Dowlen, 9.850
Brittaqny Smith, 9.925
Nikki Childs, 9.925
Ashley Kupets, 9.950
Katie Heenan, 9.925

Gabriella Onodi, 9.725
Rachel Tidd, 9.825
Ashley Postell, 9.900
Annabeth Eberle, 9.900
Gritt Hofmann, 9.850
Nicolle Ford, 9.850

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