Tempe, Ariz. • Utah gymnastics coach Greg Marsden earned his milestone 1,000th win on Saturday, with his fourth-ranked Utes taking down the No. 19 Arizona State Sun Devils at Wells Fargo Arena.
But Marsden was happier with how the Utes got the win than actually getting the win itself.
For the first time since the opener, the Utes didn’t have to count a fall on the balance beam, allowing them to earn their best score of the season.
“That made me happier than anything else,” he said. “It was a good meet on all four events, but I was especially proud of how we handled beam.”
Marsden tried to deflect attention away from his own accomplishment as he became one of the few collegiate coaches in any sport other than baseball or volleyball to earn 1,000 wins.
The most notable to achieve the feat is Pat Summitt, who coached the Tennessee women’s basketball team from 1974-2012 and was 1,098-208.
Marsden’s accomplishment was acknowledged by Utah fans who made the trip to Arizona and sported “1,000” on their T-shirts. His gymnasts also ambushed him and covered him in silly string and ice.
“That is what this meet was about, getting his 1,000th win,” said junior Georgia Dabritz, who won the uneven bars and floor titles. “It was a good meet for us, but it was exciting to be a part of this for him.”
Marsden, now 1,000-199-7 in his 39th season, said the win was more about the program than himself.
He was hired in 1976 to establish a team so the Utes could meet Title IX requirements. Under his guidance, the program became one of the most successful women’s sports in the country, winning 10 national titles and becoming the only team to qualify for all 32 NCAA championships.
“It’s nice to have, but I’m kind of glad it’s over,” he said of the win. “I didn’t want it to be a distraction for the team.”
If anything, the Utes seemed more motivated than ever, particularly on the balance beam.
The Utes tried a new lineup, with Breanna Hughes leading off the event instead of veteran Corrie Lothrop.
The change didn’t help Hughes, who fell off for the first time this year — breaking her streak of made routines at 33.
However, teammates Baely Rowe and Tory Wilson got the Utes back on track, scoring 9.825 and 9.85, respectively.
Mary Beth Lofgren followed with a 9.825 as she performed a new routine that eliminated the element that caused her to fall the last two weeks. Kailah Delaney and Lothrop followed with 9.825 and 9.95 to close out the rotation for a season-high of 49.275.
“We talked a lot this week about not letting what the person ahead of you does affect you,” Marsden said. “We did a much better job of that today.”
Utah distanced itself from ASU early in the met when it opened with a 49.225 on the uneven bars and followed with a 49.45 on the vault.
Wilson scored a 9.925 and Delaney had a 9.95 on the vault to pace the team, while Dabritz won her fourth uneven bars title with a 9.925.
No. 4 Utah 197.2, No. 19 Arizona St. 194.9
O In short • Utah coach Greg Marsden picks up his 1,000th career win with Saturday’s victory.
Key moment • Baely Rowe delivers a strong routine on the balance beam, scoring a 9.825 after teammate Breanna Hughes’ fall.
Key stat • Georgia Dabritz, who has won every uneven bars title this year, is averaging a 9.93 on the event.
Vault • Kailah Delaney (Utah), 9.95
Uneven bars • Georgia Dabritz (Utah), 9.925
Balance beam • Corrie Lothrop (Utah), 9.95
Floor • Georgia Dabritz (Utah), 9.95
All-Around • Tory Wilson (Utah), 39.45