The second-ranked but injury-plagued University of Utah women's gymnastics team, 4-1, will likely be without its top all-arounder, freshman Shannon Bowles, and may still be minus senior Traci Sommer Friday night when the Utes meet 7-2, 17th-ranked Washington at Hec Edmundson Pavilion at 8 MST.
Utah has never lost to Washington in 22 tries and is 5-0 in meets at Seattle. Utah and Washington placed seventh and eighth at the 1997 NCAA championships, Utah's worst finish in 20 years, and Washington's best national finish ever, paced by Salt Laker Jamie Stouffer's ninth in the all-around. Stouffer is now a UW senior.Bowles, one of two Ute freshmen to ever score a perfect 10.0 (Sommer was the other), and the Ute with the season's best all-around scores of 39.60 and 39.50, has been bothered by a foot injury. Tests show it is not a stress fracture, but it will apparently only improve with rest.
If Sommer (sore back, meet-time decision) can't compete, Utah, which lost two athletes for the season before it even started (Summer Reid, Jenny Schmidt), may compete only five athletes in floor exercise. Five of the allowable six individual scores count toward the team score, and Utah had to go with only five on floor last week at home.
A loss of Sommer and Bowles Friday night would further dilute the beam squad, which has done well at home but totaled five falls and a major deduction in its two away meets.
Utah's best score of 1998 was 196.825 on Feb. 6, the night Bowles scored the 39.60/10.0. Its lowest was 194.70 in the season opener. Washington's best is 193.975 (in each of its last two meets).