SALT LAKE CITY — Tory Wilson expected to do well this season after earning All-American honors on the vault last year.
But the sophomore's start has exceeded even her high expectations.
"I had thought I would do pretty good on vault this season because I was doing well at the end of last season," she said. "But I didn't really think it would be winning three weekends in a row. I never could have really guessed that."
Not only has she earned the top score on vault in each of the last three meets, she is now ranked second in the country in the event that shows off her greatest strength — power.
"I feel like vault has always been one of the better events because I'm more of a power gymnast, than compared to like grace," she said laughing. "I enjoy it because I’m good at it also."
Utah gymnastics co-head coach Greg Marsden said Wilson's ability to throw big, powerful tricks is the reason they recruited her.
"She was coached by a men's coach, and at times, it looked like she was coached by a men's coach," said Marsden with a smile.
But Marsden and co-head coach Megan Marsden saw the potential in the powerful gymnast, who now competes on vault, floor and beam for the No. 9 Utes, who will take on Arizona State at 7 p.m. inside the Huntsman Center Friday night.
"She was a typical freshman last year," said Marsden. "She did a nice job for us in places, but she was a role player. But she learned a lot, worked hard and got herself in better shape over the summer, and she has worked on her execution, which was her weakness."
Her "polish" was lacking because she'd been coached by a men's coach, so naturally the focus wasn't always on pretty pointed toes and graceful moves. But Wilson not only acknowledged her weakness, she worked hard to overcome it.
"She does (have) big skills and we knew we just needed to clean her up a bit," Marsden said. "If we could do that, she was going to be something special for us."
Marsden said that coaches hope athletes will address their weaknesses the way Wilson has, but there are no guarantees.
"When you bring somebody in they have strengths and weaknesses — all of them," he said. "You never know how that will go. It takes a lot of motivation on their part (to change). If it was easy to address, they would have already done it. So you never know if they're going to take on the challenge or not, but she has."
And Wilson isn't satisfied yet.
She is working on a new bar routine and expects to break into the bar lineup before the season is over, while continuing to try and dominate the vault and improve on floor and beam.
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