Utah Utes gymnastics: DiLuzio overcomes injury

Utah gymnast could be all-around performer

Published: Tuesday, April 8 2008 12:00 a.m. MDT

Utah's Annie DiLuzio performs on the beam during a meet at the Huntsman Center on Feb 22. She scored a career high on the beam on March 14. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret Morning News) Utah's Annie DiLuzio performs on the beam during a meet at the Huntsman Center on Feb 22. She scored a career high on the beam on March 14. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret Morning News)
Last season as a freshman, Annie DiLuzio competed two events for the Utah gymnastics team.
As a sophomore, she's doing three now that she and trainer Tom Iriye have her leg "hot spot" under control, and she knows it's not going to turn into a stress fracture, which had been a midseason worry.
DiLuzio is visibly working more aggressively since an MRI a few weeks ago revealed the hot spot will not turn into a fracture. "It helps having that in the back of your mind. It might hurt for that minute, but it's not going to make it a season-ending injury if I do a hard landing or something," she said.
She doesn't know if it's actually healing yet and thinks it probably won't until she can rest it long-term. "I think Tom is just doing a good job of making it manageable. It's not going to go away this year, but all the treatments are making it manageable. I can still do gymnastics. I can still do everything."
She's done them all the last three meets and hit career-highs on floor (9.925 at UCLA Feb. 24) and beam (9.85 at Florida March 14). As a freshman, she had a career-best 9.925 vault and finished second in the NCAA vault championships at Utah.
DiLuzio will likely do all three events next Saturday as well when second-ranked Utah travels to the University of Minnesota, along with No. 27 Southern Utah and six at-large qualifiers from Utah State, to the NCAA North Central Regional, all of them seeking shots at the 2008 NCAA Championships at Georgia April 24-26.
Now that she's able to do vault, beam and floor regularly, the question for the future is if DiLuzio will ever get to become an all-arounder in college.
"Um, I think so. I hope so. I don't know. We'll see," said DiLuzio, who said she's quite happy in gymnastics, having fun training and competing, and in her life right now.
"I don't know if that's ever going to happen," coach Greg Marsden said about whether DiLuzio can come back from last year's elbow injury to some day do bars.
"It bothers her elbow," he said, "and her elbow flares up for everything else," so it's not a good idea for her to even train on bars now.
"And she doesn't particularly like it — and that would be an understatement," said Marsden.
"It kind of scares me," she admits. A powerful tumbler and vaulter, DiLuzio thinks that's because she doesn't get to use the power in her legs much on bars. "I don't know if I just trust my legs, or I trust my power. Bars is completely opposite.
"It's my least-favorite event, but I don't mind training it and trying to learn new things," she said. "Bars is a mental thing for me that hopefully we can conquer this summer. It's a possibility. I think that would be pretty cool to do all-around.
"It's not a major priority for me," said DiLuzio, who was an all-arounder in club, "but I'm hoping that if I play with it this summer and get some new skills I will have a routine that will work good for me and also score good, too.
"I could prove to myself that I could be good enough to be an all-arounder."
For now, though, the goal for DiLuzio and her teammates the goal is just to clean up the small mistakes that creep into everyone's routines.
"We're trying to focus on just making the 24-for-24 (hitting every routine), trying to improve each week," said the sophomore known as "Doozie."
"That's hard to do, but if each person takes something little and fixes it, that can add more to the team's score. That's what we try to do. When we see that person that's been working on something so small that only we would probably notice, if they fix it in a meet, we get so excited because toward the postseason, that's what counts is all the small stuff."
This is a more together club than the 2007 model that had trouble most of the season but put things together to win the West Regional at California and then placed second to Georgia in the national championships at Utah.
"We're feeling more confident and trying to have good practices, as many as we can, sticking together as a team, trying not to get too distracted by other people," DiLuzio said.

North Central Regional

At Minneapolis
Saturday, 5 p.m.
No. 2 Utah
No. 11 Arkansas
No. 14 Arizona
No. 23 Iowa
Southern Utah

E-mail: lham@desnews.com

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