It sounds presumptuous, but "meet of the season" might be too mild for the gymnastics event tonight at 7 at the Huntsman Center pitting second-ranked, unbeaten-on-the-road Georgia (10-2) against No. 1-ranked, unbeaten-at-home Utah (7-1).
"It will be a great, great gymnastics show," says Utah Coach Greg Marsden, and that can't be argued. No two teams have ever hit the high notes like these two this season.Utah holds NCAA records for team (195.6) and all-around (Missy Marlowe's 39.5.) scores, and Marlowe has twice hit 10.0 on uneven bars. Team records are 9.9 or better in every event, and four Utes have earned 9.9s - Marlowe, Amy Keller, Kristen Kenoyer and Shelly Schaerrer.
The Utes have scored 193.55 and better in five of their eight meets, and Schaerrer (39.2) and Kenoyer (39.25) are always in tune with Marlowe.
Georgia was best in the nation the past two weeks with scores of 194.5 and 194.45, a 10.0 from Hope Spivey on floor exercise and a 39.0 all-around total from Kelly Macy.
Heather Stepp has a best all-around score of 39.25 and has also had 39.05. Spivey, Macy and Jennifer Carbone have reached 9.9s.
In a Jan. 25 meet at Georgia, Utah won 193.55-193.5. "This meet has the potential to be better," understates Marsden. "Both teams have more experience and more difficulty now, and the execution should be better."
Spivey probably won't go all-around because of a bad wrist that keeps her off bars, Stepp has strep throat and Lisa Alicea is unlikely with a broken toe.
Utah is healthier than it's been in six weeks, with Jenny Donaldson ready to go in everything, although stamina in floor exercise is a weakness after a foot injury, and Missy Wells about 80 percent recovered from back problems.
Marsden is still worried about the Utes' beam team. It had three falls two meets ago and two falls and a major break at Fullerton last week. "We've been very timid on beam," he says, noting problems build on each other.
"That is the curse of that event," he says. "It's a psychological thing, not physical. It has not been an issue in the (practice) gym."