Utah gymnastics: New judging codes bring down scores
Even though Utah's gymnastics team beat Georgia 196.55-196.5 Friday, many in the crowd of 15,522 at the Huntsman Center were unhappy with the judging on floor and let the judges know it by booing several of Utah's floor scores.
The No. 3 Utes scored a 49.125 on the floor with Gael Mackie recording a team-low of 9.575, and Kyndal Robarts and Jamie Deetscreek also earning low scores of 9.725 and 9.75, respectively.
While the marks might have surprised some in the crowd, they didn't bother the Utes, who acknowledge they and the judges still are adjusting to some new judging codes and qualifications for deductions this year.
For example, on the floor judges previously could take up to a tenth of a point deduction when a gymnast crossed her legs on a twist. Now the code says the deduction is a tenth or nothing at all.
Robarts said her first pass "wasn't very good," and Utah coach Greg Marsden said he expects scores to be unpredictable for a bit longer.
"Everyone is still trying to get a handle on how to judge things and what deductions to take," he said.
Marsden is more concerned with how the Utes, who visit No. 24 Washington on Friday, perform the routines than what they score for now.
"We've got to tighten up our shapes throughout everything," he said. "We're still a little loose and we don't look absolutely in command of what we are doing on handstands, landings and things that need to be more precise. We're not making big mistakes or falling, that is the good news, but I told the team we need to be more precise with better execution."
One gymnast who isn't going to complain about her scores this season is senior Daria Bijak . In the past, the Utes have felt the judges haven't always rewarded Bijak for her strong, powerful gymnastics as they should, believing instead the judges coveted graceful movements. But Bijak is getting high marks on the floor this year, scoring at 9.85 at UCLA, a 9.9 against Iowa State and a 9.95 against Georgia.
"Maybe she has been around long enough [that] people appreciate what she does and the way she does it," Marsden said.
In the rankings
Utah continued its climb back up the poll, moving from No. 6 to No. 3 following its 196.55-196.5 win over Georgia, which is No. 8 this week. UCLA fell from No. 1 to No. 7, following its 196.425-195.875 loss at Stanford on Sunday. The Bruins had to count two falls on floor.
Alabama moved into the top spot after beating Arkansas 197.45-195.5. SUU moved into the rankings at No. 18.
Utah's Kyndal Robarts is 10th in the all-around (39.212) and third on the vault (9.908), Annie DiLuzio and Daria Bijak are tied for third on the floor (9.9). BYU's Megan Donehue is tied for seventh on the balance beam (9.85).
SUU beat Utah State for the eighth time in a row Friday, 195.05-191.225. The T-Birds have a busy weekend ahead, competing at Sacramento State on Friday and at San Jose State on Saturday. Utah State hosts WAC foe Boise State on Friday at 7 p.m. BYU, which scored a 192.5 in a tri-meet loss Saturday, competes at Iowa State on Friday.
Team, average, Previous ranking
1. Alabama, 196.458 (3)
2. Oklahoma, 196.4 (2)
3. Utah, 195.992 (6)
4. Florida, 195.967 (4)
5. Stanford, 195.833 (8)
6. Oregon St., 195.817 (5)
7. UCLA, 195.744 (1)
8. Georgia, 195.717 (10)
9. Nebraska, 195.642 (9)
10. Arkansas, 195.608 (7)
No. 18 SUU, 194.575
No. 24 Wash., 193.708
Friday, 8 p.m.