Utah’s gymnasts knew they had a good closer on the balance beam in senior Corrie Lothrop. It appears they found their opener as well.
Performing as the leadoff gymnast for the first time in her career, freshman Baely Rowe delivered a solid routine to start Utah’s balance beam lineup and help the No. 4 Utes beat No. 13 Arizona 197.825-194.425 in front of 13,012 at the Huntsman Center.
Rowe scored a 9.775 on the beam to trigger one of the Utes’ best performances of the season on the apparatus. The Utes finished with a 49.15, the second-highest score of the year on the beam.
Mary Beth Lofgren led the Utes with a 9.925. The only miscue came from Kailah Delaney, who suffered the first fall of her career.
Luckily her 9.2 didn’t have to count with the rest of the lineup being strong.
Rowe was under pressure to perform well, not only because the Utes have had trouble on the beam this year, but also because she knew if she didn’t hit, she could potentially ruin what was turning out to be one of the best meets the Utes have produced in recent history.
She didn’t let them down as she rolled through her routine like a veteran.
Afterward Rowe seemed almost surprised anyone would fear the beam.
“Being on a 4-inch beam to some is scary, to me I love it,” she said.
Rowe’s effort kept Utah’s momentum going as the Utes posted their highest score since beating Florida 198.125-197.875 last year.
“We’re finally showing how great of a team we can be,” said Georgia Dabritz, who won the uneven bars and floor titles. “It seems like we are already getting ready for the post-season.”
The Utes opened with a 49.5 on the vault and followed the effort with a 49.45 on the uneven bars to outdistance themselves from the Wildcats and set themselves up for a huge score.
Course, the Utes have been in a similar position and failed on the balance beam.
Friday night was different with the Utes conquering the beam, then posting one of their best efforts on the floor.
Lofgren had an uncharacteristic fall to start floor, but with the rest of the lineup performing some of the best routines of the year, it hardly mattered.
Dabritz scored a 9.975 to win the floor and Becky Tutka, Nansy Damianova and Tory Wilson earned 9.95s to help the Utes total a 49.725.
“Having MB fall was weird and uncharacteristic,” Tutka said. “But it motivated the rest of us to do our best floor. It was one little problem, but the rest of us stepped up to the plate and we still got a high score.”
Utah coach Greg Marsden could find little to criticize in the effort.
“We keep taking steps forward,” he said. “The first week we started off struggling on bars and got that resolved, and then it was balance beam and we got that resolved. We still have work to do there, we need to get that score up to the others, but we are making progress.”
O IN SHORT • The Utes improve to 7-0 as Tory wins won her fourth all-around title of the season to lead the Utes.
Key stat • Georgia Dabritz wins two of her three events, bringing her event titles to 11 of the 15 in which she has competed.
Key moment • Wilson posts a career best 9.95 on the floor to earn the all-around title with a 39.6.
Vault • Tory Wilson (Utah) 9.975
Uneven bars • Georgia Dabritz (Utah) 9.975
Balance beam • Mary Beth Lofgren (Utah) 9.925
Floor • Georgia Dabritz (Utah) 9.975
All-around • Tory Wilson (Utah) 39.6