Karli Urban is in love.
The Arizona State University senior has a boyfriend, also an ASU gymnast, who got her to change her hairstyle, lose weight, get her grade-point average up to 3.8 and to smile through routines for the first time. The result could be a valid shot at the NCAA all-around title.But Urban, despite her smiles and cheerleading for her Sun Devil teammates Monday night, is not in love with coming to the University of Utah for meets; ASU always gets beat.
Monday in the Huntsman Center, it was the same old thing.
With Jessica Smith and Kris Takahashi back in the lineup and only one fall to count in the whole meet, Utah improved nearly two points over its opening-night score of a week ago, crowding out the Sun Devils 189.35-187.25 and leaving ASU complaining about home cooking though it had its best score of the season.
Not even being in love, looking the best she's ever looked in college and winning or tying three events plus the all-around (38.30) satisfied Urban. She wanted to leave Utah with one dual-meet win here. It didn't happen. The Sun Devils have lost every dual they've ever been in at Utah.
Urban suspects the judging.
"I don't want to be rude," explained a distressed Urban, saying she likes Utah's fans because they're kind to visiting teams, "but I don't think there's any question we're a better team than Utah. We figure we have to be five points better to beat them by .1." She begged forgiveness for her bluntness.
She said she'd felt fairly judged except on bars, where she scored 9.35 after getting 9.5s with the same routine in other away meets. "I felt slighted on bars; I know I was. That was like, an awesome routine," she said.
Urban had 9.65s in every other event, tying with Sonja Ahone of Utah to win vaulting, winning balance beam outright and tying with Utah's Shelly Schaerrer for floor exercise.
Utah Coach Greg Marsden said he felt the same frustration with the bars judging. He protested Patti Massoels' and Schaerrer's scores and got Massoels' upgraded by .05.
That left Massoels' .05 behind Urban in the all-around. Massoels totaled 38.25 and Schaerrer 38.10 after a surprising floor score that Marsden said may have been a makeup for the bars since it was the same judging panel.
Arizona State Coach John Spini was miffed about Urban's bars and Schaerrer's floor total. "I love coming up here, but that's just an embarrassment," Spini said. He was also mad that ASU's second bars competitor, Colette Anderson, "hit her set and scored 9.05."
Spini said Schaerrer's floor routine was scored 9.65 when it only started at a 9.6 level because she used the same simple tumbling pass twice. That's an automatic deduction.
Marsden agreed to some extent, saying Schaerrer got lost in mid-tumble and did a full twist instead of a double twist on her first pass and that she should have been graded down for it. But, he said, the routine starts at a full 10.0 value because of a "DNV" move on the second tumbling pass. That's a "D" (most difficult) move that has added merit because risk and virtuosity.
"I don't think it was a 9.65 set," Marsden said, noting the mental error, and he said he looked at Schaerrer when he saw the score and told her "they're giving it back to you in floor," a reference to her low (9.55) bar score.
He called Schaerrer's bar routine, with two major release moves, "world class. That's a big, big-time routine," he said.
It was Marsden's opinion, contrary to Urban's, that Utah is "a much better team because of our depth - at this time." Marsden says ASU will be back as a contender for the NCAA title and will improve throughout the season.
"They were the better team tonight," said Spini. "They should have won."