Utes' anchors staying strong
Going into the season, one of the biggest unknowns for Utah's gymnastics team was which gymnasts could handle the pressure of being the anchors on each event.
Now a third of the way through the regular season, the Utes have a fairly strong idea of who those gymnasts are.
Kyndal Robarts regularly anchors the vault, Jamie Deetscreek closes out the uneven bars, Robarts normally finishes the beam rotation and Annie DiLuzio is the last up on floor.
Altogether, the four have been solid, scoring 9.8s or higher every meet. Most importantly, they haven't crumpled under pressure when someone ahead in the rotation falls, putting them in the situation of knowing they have to hit if the Utes are to avoid counting a fall.
"I think the back of the lineups look solid," Utah co-head coach Megan Marsden said. "In the early part of the lineups, they are still jockeying. There are some doing exhibition routines who are showing potential. But people at the back end are handling their spots pretty well."
Part of the challenge of being an anchor is the mental aspect of knowing you are the last up, often in a make-or-break situation. It takes a certain mentality to handle that pressure, and not all gymnasts want it. That is one of the reasons Daria Bijak , as good as she is, likes to go early in the lineups.
"She has made it clear she can't handle that well," Marsden said. "She is worth of being the last up on floor and vault, but she won't go there. She doesn't want to wait that long either because her body gets cold."
Deetscreek felt light-headed during Friday's meet at Washington and at one point thought she might pass out and was pulled aside during the meet. She was feeling better by Monday and believes the episode was the side effect of a cold she had.
Marsden said she thought Deetscreek was dehydrated too.
"It caught up with her a bit," she said. "Most aren't hydrating enough as we'd like, and it's really hard to stay hydrated when you have a cold."
In the rankings
The Utes slipped a spot to No. 4 this week while Alabama and Oklahoma maintained their top two spots. Arkansas made one of the biggest jumps, improving from No. 10 to No. 7, while Stanford suffered one of the biggest drops, falling from No. 5 to No. 8.
Robarts is ranked No. 6 on the vault (9.881), DiLuzio is tied for fourth on the floor (9.894) and Bijak is tied for eighth on the floor (9.875).
SUU's Melissa Johnson is tied for eighth on the vault (9.875). BYU's Megan Donehue is tied for seventh on the balance beam (9.85).
Utah State, which nearly upset No. 21 Boise State Friday before losing 191.625-191.125, travels to BYU on Friday for a tri-meet against the Cougars and Denver. SUU, which is undefeated with a 4-0 record, hosts Kent State on Saturday.
Average, Previous ranking
1. Alabama, 196.494, 1
2. Oklahoma, 196.325, 2
3. Florida, 196.156, 4
4. Utah, 195.956, 3
5. Oregon St., 195.919, 6
6. UCLA, 195.905, 7
7. Arkansas, 195.894, 10
8. Stanford, 195.819, 5
9. Georgia, 195.512, 8
10. Nebraska, 195.406, 9
No. 19 SUU, 194.412, 18
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