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Utah gymnastics: Utah and Georgia square off in battle of powerhouses

Published: Sunday, July 5 2015 1:54 p.m. MDT

Utah competes against Arizona in a gymnastics meet at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Friday, Feb. 7, 2014.  (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News) Utah competes against Arizona in a gymnastics meet at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Friday, Feb. 7, 2014. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Two of the most storied women’s gymnastics programs meet Saturday when No. 5 Utah hosts No. 6 Georgia. The two teams lead the NCAA with 10 championships apiece. While Georgia holds the series’ advantage at 25-22-1, Utah has bested the Gym Dogs 7-4 in the Huntsman Center.

“I like what’s going on right now with our team,” said Utah co-head coach Greg Marsden. “We didn’t get the outcome we hoped for at Michigan in terms of placement last week, but it was a good meet in an environment that felt like the postseason.

“We need to be in these kinds of competitive meets at the end of the year, and Georgia is going to be a big test for us. These meets challenge us to maintain our composure in a very close, tight competition.“

Utah is coming off a third-place finish in a tri-meet with No. 7 UCLA and No. 8 Michigan in Ann Arbor. Though the third-place finish wasn’t the outcome the Red Rocks wanted, they did record a 197.35 on the road. The high road score allowed Utah to drop its low road score against Stanford of 196.3 from its regional qualifying scoring average. That move bumped Utah up to No. 5 in the rankings.

“Scoring a 197 on the road is always a good effort,” said Georgia Dabritz.

Dabritz was a major reason why Utah hit the mark, as the junior recorded Utah’s first 10 of the season on the floor.

“It was exciting to get the 10, but really I’m more proud of our team,” Dabritz said.

Dabritz leads the nation on the bars and floor, and the team with 17 event wins this season. But the junior will not compete on beam again this week as her hip and glute injury is still not up to par. Tory Wilson and Kailah Delaney are tied for first in the country on vault. Wilson will be Utah’s lone all-arounder against Georgia.

The Gym Dogs’ best team event is bars, on which they have ranked No. 1 the past eight weeks. Chelsea Davis, who is tied with Dabrtiz for first, leads the way, while Lindsey Cheek and Brittany Rogers are ranked No. 3 and 5, respectively.

The meet begins at 7 p.m., but Utah will honor its four seniors — Mary Beth Lofgren, Hailee Hansen, Lia Del Priore and Nansy Damianova — at 6:40 p.m. The meet marks the end of the regular season for Utah, which starts its postseason run next week at the Pac-12 championships.

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