Utah’s ninth-ranked gymnastics team easily beat Arizona State on Friday 196.425-195.45 at the Huntsman Center, but the Utes found it hard to celebrate after junior Corrie Lothrop suffered a season-ending injury.
Lothrop, Utah’s best all-around competitor, tore her Achilles tendon on her left foot during the floor warm-ups when she took off on a double back.
A five-time All-American and the defending Pac-12 all-around champion, Lothrop said she knew right away the injury was serious.
The junior tore her right Achilles before she joined the Utes. It is common for athletes to be susceptible to tearing both Achilles if they tear one.
“I was trying to be someone who didn’t do both, but clearly that didn’t work out,” an emotional Lothrop said after the meet. “I came out of the first one fine and pretty fast, and I hope this one will be the same.”
Lothrop is ranked 13th in the all-around with a 39.3 average and entered the meet with 20 career wins and hit 109 of 113 routines.
She was leading the all-around Friday, scoring a 9.85 on the vault and 9.875s on the balance beam and uneven bars.
Replacing those kinds of numbers will be difficult, Utah coach Greg Marsden acknowledged.
“It’s not good,” he said. “I told the team we can feel sorry for ourselves for the weekend, then Monday we need to come in and move forward and other people have to step up. Those are big shoes to fill, but we have a team full of talented athletes who can step up and do that job.”
Lothrop cannot get a medical redshirt for the season because the Utes were past the third meet of the year.
“Whatever docs do, some make it stronger, and we hope that is the case with Corrie,” Marsden said. “We’re hoping for a good outcome and she is back this time next year.”
While Lothrop was in the locker room, her teammates wrapped up their victory with a 49.3 on the floor.
Mary Beth Lofgren filled in for Lothrop, scoring a 9.675. Tory Wilson and Georgia Dabritz both scored 9.9s and Becky Tutka had a 9.925, but the Utes were in no mood to celebrate.
“It is a big, big deal to all of us,” Lofgren said. “Corrie is kind of a rock to all of us, so it really stinks, but I’m not worried about Corrie. She is a fighter and she will find a way to help the team even if she is in a boot.”
Before Lothrop was injured, the Utes were having a solid meet, save for two falls on the balance beam. Utah opened up with a 49.325 on the vault, led by Wilson, who earned her fourth consecutive title with a career-high 9.975.
Dabritz echoed Marsden’s belief the Utes can make up for Lothrop’s absence.
“We definitely showed the alternates are ready,” she said. “Even with Corrie out, we can still make a big statement out there.”
Utah 196.425,Arizona State 195.45
O In short • Utah beats Arizona State but loses defending Pac-12 all-around champ Corrie Lothrop for the season with a torn Achilles.
Key moment • Tory Wilson scores a career-high 9.975 on the vault to earn her fourth straight vault title.
Key stat • Of the 15 routines Lothrop competed in 2013, only one earned below 9.8.
Vault • Tory Wilson (Utah): 9.975
Uneven bars • Georgia Dabritz (Utah): 9.95
Balance beam • Corrie Lothrop (Utah): 9.875
Floor • Becky Tutka (Utah): 9.925
All-Around • Georgia Dabritz (Utah): 9.925