Well at least Utah’s fourth-ranked gymnastics team can conquer the balance beam when they aren’t under pressure.
The Utes (8-1, 5-1), who had a horrendous showing on the event Monday in a loss at Stanford, bounced back with one of their best efforts of the season on the apparatus, as they downed No. 11 Oregon State 197.575-196.45 in front of 14,693 at the Huntsman Center.
Utah’s balance beam score of 49.175 was their second-best effort of the season, surpassed only by a 49.275 logged at Arizona State. It was also the first meet in which the Utes didn’t have a fall.
A noticeable presence on the floor during Utah’s balance beam rotation was coach Greg Marsden, who normally doesn’t watch the beam rotation, leaving it in the hands of his co-coach and wife Megan Marsden.
However, he decided to come out of hiding after talking to the team about Monday’s struggles on the event.
“If I expect them to make changes, I have to be willing to make changes, too,” he said. “It was good. I saw some things I wouldn’t have seen from just watching video, some things we can continue to tweak a little bit.”
No one was happier about Utah’s beam performance than junior Georgia Dabritz, who scored a 9.875 in just her second appearance in the lineup this year.
Dabritz’s mental struggles on the event are well-known, but she showed no signs of a fragile attitude on Saturday as she worked through the routine, then finished with a solid landing.
Her effort was just shy of her career best of 9.9.
Dabritz also scored a 9.925 on the vault, 9.95 on the uneven bars and a 9.875 on the floor to win the all-around with a 39.625.
“I have to say it was a relief after last week,” Dabritz said. “It was a good step in the right direction and a confidence-booster for us after last week. We put so much hard work into it, and to go six for six, we were beaming.”
Dabritz said having Marsden on the floor rather than hanging out in one of the arena tunnels was good, but also not much different for the team.
“I forgot he was out there,” she said. “He did the same thing he does in practice, hanging out in the corner.”
While the Utes have yet to prove they can conquer the apparatus in a close contest, there was at least some satisfaction in knowing they bounced back strong.
“Sometimes you have to have a bad day to have a good day,” said Tory Wilson, who was second in the all-around with a 39.5. “I’m thankful we got the bad day out of the way.”
Utah’s big night was sparked by its vault effort, as the Utes posted a season-high 49.625, then followed with a 49.425 on the uneven bars.
Those efforts gave the Utes a comfortable 99.05-98.425 lead over the Beavers at the halfway mark. With any thoughts of an Oregon State upset over, the Utes could relax and focus on redeeming themselves on the beam.
“We still have work to do, but it was a step in the right direction,” Marsden said. “Being out there for the first time in 30 years, I saw some things in addition to the things we implemented this week that might help, so it was good.”
O The Utes keep their record perfect against Oregon State in Salt Lake City, improving to 31-0 with the win.
Individual event winners
Vault • Kailah Delaney (Utah) and Tory Wilson (Utah), 9.95
Uneven bars • Georgia Dabritz (Utah), 9.95
Balance beam • Mary Beth Lofgren (Utah), 9.925
Floor • Nansy Damianova (Utah), 9.9
All-Around • Georgia Dabritz (Utah), 39.625