SEATTLE The No. 2 ranked Utah gymnastics team kept on rolling, taking advantage of a huge night on the floor exercise to beat host Washington, 197.100-194.675. Utah improves to 6-0 on the season.
While Utah's first two events were solid, floor exercise was "sensational," according to coach Greg Marsden.
"We did a really nice job on two events, and a good enough job on the balance beam, but our biggest step forward came on the floor," said Marsden. "We were just sensational in terms of routine composition and how we performed. That's the best floor set I can remember from a Utah team in a long, long time."
The 49.55 on floor tied Utah's best of the year (against Minnesota) and put the meet out of reach of the Huskies. Utah's only issues all night came on the last rotation, but even there, the Utes posted a 49.05. Jamie Deetscreek fell on the beam to start the set only Utah's fourth fall in 144 total routines this year. The remaining five gymnasts were "cautious" after the fall, according to Marsden, who determined that despite not watching the event. He was "watching an indoor track meet" in the building next to the Bank of America Arena while his team performed.
He missed seeing Ashley Postell run her string of beam wins to seven dating back to last April's NCAA Championship. Postell also extended her all-around win streak to six in a row (five this year) by scoring a 39.625. In another remarkable performance by the senior, Postell won vault (9.975) and floor (9.95) as well.
Hometown product Kristina Baskett (Normandy Park, Wash.) also put on a show for a big Ute contingent, winning the uneven bars with a 9.90 and placing second in the all-around (39.425). Daria Bijak made it a Ute sweep by scoring a 39.325.
Really, the only negative for the Utes all day came in the pre-meet warmups when all-arounder Nina Kim reinjured her foot. Her replacement on the floor, freshman Kyndal Robarts, responded with a career-best 9.9, while vault replacement, Beth Rizzo, scored a 9.725 in her first career try. Freshman Gael Mackie got her first taste of collegiate competition on the bars and scored a 9.775. Only Deetscreek, who fell off the beam, came up short in Kim's place.
Utah started the meet by unveiling its fourth different bar lineup of the season. The revamped lineup brought the usual result. All six Utes hit their routines, including Mackie, whose 9.775 score did not count toward Utah's 49.225 total. Utah led after the first rotation 49.225-48.925.
One of Utah's better vault performances of the year came next. Low scores prevailed until Baskett finally impressed the judges with a 9.9 from the No. 5 position. Postell followed with an absolutely perfect looking vault. One judge delivered a 10 score, but the other saw it as a 9.95. In the last three meets, Postell has now scored a 10, a 9.925 and a 9.975. Washington lost some ground on bars and Utah led 98.5-97.6.
The Utes made sure they'd get the scores on their next event with an amazing display of big, precision tumbling, and well-executed leaps and dance on the floor exercise. Kyndal Robarts (9.9), Beth Rizzo (9.9) and Annie DiLuzio all set career highs. Baskett was headed for one before stepping out of bounds on her final pike double back added to her routine along with a full-in to start her set. Postell popped for a 9.95 and, after three events, the Utes were up 148.050-146.325.
While the Utes weren't quite as good on the balance beam, Marsden was pleased nonetheless. "We didn't fold after the first one up fell. We're still staying on the apparatus and doing good routines."