Birmingham, Ala. • Utah coach Greg Marsden didn’t add to his team’s misery of failing to advance to the Super Six finals by making his team watch Saturday’s event.
Instead, he left it up to the gymnasts to decide if they wanted to attend.
“A few wanted to go but for most of them it was too tough,” he said. “We are still really devastated and disappointed. This team worked so hard, and to think we are right where we were last year is tough to take.”
The Utes finished seventh overall, only two notches above where they were last year. This year, they at least had the Pac-12 title to celebrate and the hope that they are moving in the right direction again after a successful regular season.
Of course, those successes only added to the dismal feeling Saturday, Marsden noted.
Seniors Mary Beth Lofgren and Nansy Damianova, junior Georgia Dabritz and freshman Baely Rowe sat in the stands with Utah fans.
“It is still fresh and we haven’t put things in perspective yet,” he said. “We thought we were a good enough team to not only be out there this year, but challenge, and to not be able to demonstrate that is a bitter pill to swallow. The emotions are still pretty raw.”
Florida and Alabama tied in the preliminary round, but the Gators were given the favorable rotation of starting on vault because they won the tiebreaker. Ties are broken by counting all six scores, which gave Florida a score of 236.35 to Alabama’s 236.1.
Utah was involved in a similar situation in 1997 and in 2009. In 2007 the Utes tied Nebraska in the preliminary rounds and Nebraska won the tiebreaker to advance. In 2009, the Utes won a tiebreaker over UCLA.
By virtue of their high placings in Friday’s preliminary round, Dabritz earned first-team All-American honors on the vault and Damianova and Becky Tutka earned first-team honors on the floor.
Dabritz was also a second-team All-American on the bars and Lia Del Priore was second-team on the floor.
Dabritz is now a 10-time All-American, Damianova finishes her career as five-time All-American and Tutka has four.
Since the current rotation format began in 1999, Alabama (2002, 2012) is the only team to win an NCAA title when finishing on beam.