Gymnastics: Making a comeback

[/media-credit] Georgia Dabritz posted a pair of 9.9 scores in Utah’s first-place finish Saturday. The Utes scored a 196.950, a full point higher than second-place Oregon State.

IMPRESSIVE VICTORIES Utah recovers from loss at UCLA by beating three ranked teams

Now that’s what we’re used to seeing out of the Utes.

Utah bounced back from a mistake-filled loss at UCLA last weekend by beating three ranked opponents at home Saturday night.

Utah ended with a score of 196.950, followed by fellow Pac-12 team Oregon State with a 195.950. West Virginia came in third with a 192.125 and Southern Utah, which was missing some key gymnasts because of injuries, was fourth with a 191.050.

“Tonight was more what I was expecting last week,” said co-head coach Greg Marsden. “What you saw tonight, that’s what I expect week in and week out.”

Everyone in the Huntsman Center saw a nearly flawless performance from the Utes as they hit all 24 of their routines. They were the only team without a single fall all night.

Perhaps most impressive was the execution on beam. What many considered to be a weakness of the Utes was in fact their strength on Saturday, as the Utes put up their highest score of the night on beam, a 49.325. Georgia Dabritz represented the high point on the event when she stuck a routine earning her a 9.9, her second 9.9 of the evening.

But the balance beam wasn’t a picnic for the other teams on the floor, as balance checks and falls were plentiful for Utah’s competition. West Virginia had an especially tough time after its first two gymnasts fell — one of them falling twice.

Utah took advantage of the miscues by outscoring the other teams on every event except vault, where Oregon State tied it with a 49.275.

“I think this is how our team is, we are a good team, and that really showed tonight,” Dabritz said. “Last week didn’t really show it, but this week we proved that we are a Utah gymnastics team.”

The Utes also proved they can compete on bars after having three falls last week. Once again, Dabritz had the high score with a 9.9.

One of those three went to Kassandra Lopez, who made her return from a calf injury. She was expected to be an all-arounder, but strained her calf in the last practice before the team headed to California last week. She said her calf is feeling much better and was not bothered on the dismount from bars.

“I was really happy [I was able to return],” Lopez said. “I practiced, I was training over the pit just to be safe, not to irritate it more and I was ready.”

Freshman Breanna Hughes looked impressive for a second straight week as a bars and beam specialist. She said she was nervous in front of a raucous home crowd of 14,917 fans, but she was able to control her nerves and earned a 9.8 on bars and a 9.875 on beam.

Another freshman, Taylor Allex, made her debut for the Utes after sitting out last week with a back injury. She was solid in her first collegiate appearance, earning a 9.800 on vault, but she also said the home crowd was a bit intimidating.

“It was kind of scary, but it’s cool,” she said. “I’ve never been to a home meet before so it was great to be a part of.”