Utes can't find their balance
Gainesville, Fla. » The Utah Utes were thrilled with their preliminary performance Thursday because they had felt they competed a very good meet. The feeling after Friday's effort was different, thanks to the mistakes on the balance beam that left them in sixth place with a 196.225 score.
The Utes scored just 48.425 on the event, with seniors Daria Bijak (9.275) and Jamie Deetscreek (9.2) falling and sophomore Cortni Beers suffering a major break and scoring just 9.65.
Kyndal Robarts posted a 9.9 and Stephanie McAllister and Annie DiLuzio had 9.8s, but their efforts weren't enough to salvage the performance.
The score was the second-lowest balance beam score of the season. Only a 48.375 in a loss at Michigan in February was lower.
What surprised Utah coach Greg Marsden the most was the falls were from seniors.
"We were hyped up and feeling good when we went over there and they tried too hard," he said.
Deetscreek suffered only two falls off the balance beam this season and Bijak fell only once.
Junior Kyndal Robarts said there was no finger-pointing after the meet.
"It was sad for them because they wanted to do well, but they've been there so much for us this year," Robarts said. "How many times have they hit and helped us? We can't be disappointed in them. They've come through so many times for us."
Bijak qualified for today's event finals with a 9.9 on the uneven bars, and DiLuzio qualified for the floor finals with a 9.9. Robarts and Deetscreek both qualified on the balance beam with 9.9s.
Bijak finished eighth on the uneven bars at the 2007 championships.
DiLuzio, the runner-up on the vault as a freshman, qualified for the floor event for the first time.
Deetscreek and Robarts are competing in the balance beam event for the first time.
Robarts was 10th in the vault finals in 2008. Deetscreek has never qualified for the individual championships.
The bright spots
McAllister, a sophomore, had her best meet for the Utes, finishing with a career-high 39.375 in the all-around and tying career highs in every event.
She posted a 9.85 on the vault and floor, a 9.8 on the balance beam and a 9.875 on the uneven bars.
Senior Beth Rizzo finished her career tying her best on the vault with a 9.85.
More than 200 fans made the trip to Gainesville to pull for the Utes, giving them one of the largest contingents of supporters.
Their cheers were noticed and appreciated by the Utes.
"Having them here and being loud and supporting us almost made it seem a little like a home meet, a bit," Bijak said.
Friday, Super Six » 48.425
Thursday, preliminaries » 49.25
April 10, NCAA Regionals » 49.35
March 26 vs. BYU » 48.625
March 19 vs. Florida » 48.85
See more about comments here.