Utah gymnastics: Utes still not satisfied with beam lineup
Utah's balance beam rotation at Arizona State was good, just not quite good enough to satisfy. As such, the fourth-ranked Utes could be using their third straight different lineup on Friday when they host No. 13 Arizona.
The Utes are considering using freshman Baely Rowe as the leadoff gymnast, which would make Friday her first experience in the crucial position.
The Utes used Breanna Hughes in the spot on Saturday instead of Corrie Lothrop in hopes it would solidify the lineup. Hughes fell and while the rest of the lineup hit; the Utes obviously want a more consistent lineup.
"It's not usual to have a freshman in that spot but it has been a pretty solid event for her," Utah coach Greg Marsden said of Rowe. "It's something we are going to take a look at this week."
The Utes haven't given up on Hughes, either, he said. Her fall was the first of her career, ending a streak of 33 made routines.
"She has one mistake in a year and a half and you definitely don't want to panic," he said. "But we'll see how things go this week."
Rowe, who has earned back-to-back 9.825s on the beam, said she was up for the challenge.
"I don't see anything different where you go in the lineup," she said. "I've always loved beam."
Lothrop, who scored a career-high 9.95 against the Sun Devils as the anchor in the lineup, said she didn't mind where she went either.
"I had longer to wait and more time, but once I got into my head and started thinking about my routine it was OK," she said. "I'll go wherever they want me to go."
Utah is off to its first 6-0 start since 2008, a statistic that might surprise many who grew accustomed to the Utes enjoying undefeated regular seasons in their gymnastics heyday.
However, such seasons have became rare as parity in the sport has increased, Marsden noted.
"Before you had to worry about just three or four teams and now it's a lot more that have gotten competitive," he said. "You don't take it for granted anymore to win because if you have an off night, almost anyone can beat you."
Utah's only loss in the 2008 regular season was against Florida on March 14. The Utes had just one loss in 2009 as well, but since that season have had at least three losses or ties per season.
In the rankings
The Utes are ranked No. 1 on the vault (49.5), No. 3 on the floor (49.4), No. 5 on the bars (49.238) and No. 13 on the beam (48.875). Georgia Dabritz is No. 2 on the bars (9.931) and floor (9.938) and is tied with teammate Tory Wilson for No. 6 on the vault (9.913). Kailah Delaney is No. 2 on the vault (9.931).
Get there early
On Saturday, Marsden said he was happy to earn his 1,000 win on the road so it wouldn't be as big of a deal. However, he can't escape the limelight. School officials are planning to recognize him for his achievement with a pre-meet presentation on Friday.
The presentation will be at 6:45 p.m. so the meet can start on time for broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks.
Top 25 rankings
1. Florida 197.413
2. Oklahoma 197.294
3. LSU 197.225
4. Utah 196.963
5. Georgia 196.871
6. Michigan 196.863
7. Alabama 196.788
8. Nebraska 196.575
9. UCLA 196.375
10. Auburn 196.125
11. Arkansas 196.113
12. Stanford 196.088
13. Arizona 196.006
14. Illinois 195.831
15. Minnesota 195.785
16. Oregon St. 195.75
17. Denver 195.594
18. Boise St. 195.569
19. Central Michigan 195.12
20. Arizona St. 195.106
21. Ohio St. 195.088
22. California 195.01
23. Penn St. 194.98
24. Washington 194.738
25. Kent St. 194.656
Arizona at Utah
Friday, 7 p.m.