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Gym-dandy effort: Utah ups season high vs. USU, SUU

Published: Monday, Aug. 3 2015 5:42 p.m. MDT

University of Utah gymnast Gritt Hoffman, left, is greeted by teammate Jessica Duke after finishing her beam routine Friday night at the Huntsman Center. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret Morning News) University of Utah gymnast Gritt Hoffman, left, is greeted by teammate Jessica Duke after finishing her beam routine Friday night at the Huntsman Center. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret Morning News)
After posting your best score of the season the previous week, what do you do for an encore?
If you're the University of Utah gymnastics team, you go out and obliterate that mark — and for good measure, defeat two instate rivals at the same time.
The Utes posted a season-high 197.200 in their second home meet of the year Friday night at the Huntsman Center and ran away from Utah State and Southern Utah in the process. Utah's leadoff vaulter, Gabriella Onodi, posted a career-tying 9.8 and from that point on the rout was on.
The Utes just seemed to get stronger with each event, posting over 49 points through all four rotations. Especially satisfying for coach Greg Marsden was the improvement in the balance beam, with his final three gymnasts — Gritt Hofmann, Nicolle Ford and Ashley Postell — sticking their routines for a trio of 9.95s, allowing the Utes to pretty much relax through their floor routines and give the crowd of 12,563 a satisfying win.
Utah State's Sara Johnson competes on the bars in the instate tri-meet Friday night at the University of Utah. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret Morning News) Utah State's Sara Johnson competes on the bars in the instate tri-meet Friday night at the University of Utah. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret Morning News)
"I never would have predicted at this point in the season we would go 197," Marsden said. "I try not to worry about (the judging) this year, because I know from meet to meet there are going to be some real differences."
Utah State and Southern Utah competed hard but were handicapped somewhat by some low start values on some events as well as some shaky moments. Southern Utah was especially hurt by six falls on beam and bars. Nevertheless, SUU coach Scott Bauman was pleased with his gymnasts for fighting through the difficulties in just their second meet of the year.
"This is a crazy place to compete," he said, referring to the Huntsman Center, "but our team really scrapped it together. It's really satisfying to field this team with a lot of Utah athletes. They can only get tougher as the season progresses."
Utah State coach Roy Corn was also looking ahead. "We need to make some minor adjustments in our routines to get a little stronger, but we'll work on those, as well as increasing the value of some of our combinations."
For Utah, the future continues to look bright. Ford and Postell — both of whom have overcome injuries — tied for the all-around high score with 39.550 apiece. The Utes are finding ways to deal with injuries and illnesses and still manage to make it look easy.


E-mail: jringwood@desnews.com

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