PROVO — Utah senior Jamie Deetscreek made a nice comeback from her forgettable last meet, the people competing in unfamiliar places did pretty well and several Utes had season highs and even career highs, but there was little celebrating as a really strong performance eluded the No. 9-ranked Utah gymnastics team Friday night at BYU.
While Utah stayed sort of static, BYU took what coach Brad Cattermole called another step in the right direction, save for counting a fall on floor.
Utah beat the No. 30 Cougars 195.525-194.275 in the Marriott Center. The two teams will meet again in Salt Lake City on March 26.
Utah coach Greg Marsden was reasonably satisfied with his team, except for balance beam.
Utah had to count a fall on beam for the second straight week — after going more than a year without counting a fall on any event. Sophomore Stephanie McAllister, who didn't train all week with a sprained ankle but still felt well enough to do three events, fell twice as leadoff beamer, and senior Annie DiLuzio had her first fall of the season in any event.
Deetscreek followed DiLuzio with 9.925, her highest beam score of the season, a 9.925, but Daria Bijak had numerous wobbles as the Utes totaled a 48.55.
"Jamie attacked" the beam, said Marsden, wishing his others would do the same. Most of them worked to avoid falling, he said, just trying to hang on rather than working with confidence. "It's probably gotten in Steph's head," Marsden said because McAllister also fell last week on the event in which she suffered a grade two ankle sprain.
Cortni Beers followed McAllister, though, by tying her career high of 9.80, only to have DiLuzio drop off following her. DiLuzio did not practice this week due to an eye infection, but Marsden said not practicing isn't an excuse at this point of the season.
"There were some encouraging things," Marsden said, "but the beam set was discouraging."
BYU had to count a fall on floor when Jessica Villegas and Madeleine Johnson both went down. Villegas was also unable to practice well, still coming back from ankle surgery.
Other than floor, the Cougars had their season high on vault, thanks to Haylee Rollins and Megan Donehue hitting season highs of 9.80 and 9.825, respectively, with Natalie Eyre adding a 9.875. And bars and beam represented continued progress, Cattermole said. Had not Kaylee Gallup, the Cougars' last up on beam, taken a fall, the Cougars would have come close to matching their season-high score of 195.35 set last Friday.
"That would have been pretty good for us," Cattermole said.
He was pleased to see all of his Cougars "fighting for landings," even if sometimes they couldn't hold them. They tried to.
Utah also vaulted pretty well. Junior Kyndal Robarts, who won the all-around with her career high of 39.375, her first-ever all-around victory, scored her second straight 9.90 on vault and tied with DiLuzio (tied her season high) to win the event — the seventh straight meet in which Robarts has gotten the vaulting title. McAllister also tied her career high in vault with 9.85, and freshman Meg Whitney made her collegiate debut with a 9.80 vault. Whitney had a 9.625 on floor when one judge gave her a 9.90 start value, something Marsden said he could see coming because of a piked middle pass and a questionable jump. He called it a good start for Whitney and said she'll have good potential on floor once she's more comfortable.
Whitney said she was nervous traveling to the meet, but once she got on the floor for warmups, she was fine.
Jacq Johnson also did well, though she did only two events instead of the all-around Marsden had envisioned her doing. She had a career high on floor with a 9.80. She had a 9.75 on bars.
Others with good events included Bijak tying her season high on bars with a 9.90 and BYU's Megan Donehue tying her season high of 9.875 on beam.
Utah will host Nebraska next Friday at 7 p.m. in the Huntsman Center, and BYU travels to Boise State next Friday.
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