Los Angeles • Utah’s gymnastics team doesn’t need any long planning session to figure out what its focus will be in the offseason.
After Friday’s performance in the NCAA Championships, the order of the summer will be balance beam and more balance beam.
The event, always one of the most difficult for teams to excel on under pressure, did in the Utes again Friday with Utah suffering three falls.
The mistakes dropped the Utes from a potential Super Six slot to fifth in the evening session.
Utah’s score of 48.225 was a season low on the beam, contributing to a team total of just 196.2.
“Beam has been a roller coaster for us all year and it has to be the focus in the offseason,” Utah coach Greg Marsden said.
Marsden never watches the balance beam rotation out of superstition. It’s likely many Utah fans will take up his habit after this season’s efforts.
At times Utah has shown it has the talent to be good on the appartus, such as the 49.425 against Florida, but more often than not the Utes have struggled.
Fresh in the Utes’ minds was their performance at the Pac-12 Championships when they had a chance to win the school’s first league title. Unfortunately three below average routines dropped them to third.
The Utes said this week they viewed Friday’s rotation as a chance for redemption. Instead, they got another swig of some bad medicine and choked on it.
The pain of the falls was intensified since they came right after Utah’s strong effort on the uneven bars made a spot in the Super Six seem possible.
“We knew where we were,” Marsden said. “But realistically, we knew it would be hard to beat those other teams too on their events.”
In the end, the Utes beat themselves with the falls.
Rather than look back at the mistakes, sophomore Georgia Dabritz preferred to look ahead to next season.
“I think we can get better, it just takes time,” she said of the beam. “We have all summer to work on it and that is what we have to do.”
Utes’ beam scores
Jan. 12 vs. UCLA 48.875
Jan. 19 quad-meet 49.325
Jan. 25 vs. Arizona 48.825
Feb. 1 vs. ASU 48.5
Feb. 9 vs. Cal 49.0
Feb. 15 vs. Wash. 49.025
Feb. 23 vs. Stanford 49.025
March 1 tri-meet 49.05
March 9 vs. Georgia 49.175
March 16 vs. Florida 49.425
March 23 vs. Pac-12 48.825
April 6 NCAA Regional 49.65
April 10 NCAAs 48.225