Southern Utah had hoped to come to Salt Lake City and give the Utes a run for the win Saturday. Instead, the T-birds were left patching together their lineups after suffering two significant injuries in practice this week.
Alyssa Click, who scored a 9.875 in the opener at UCLA to help SUU post its best-ever score in a season opener, suffered a season-ending knee injury in practice Thursday.
Michaela Chernoch also hurt her ankle in practice and competed on only two events.
"We were a totally different team two weeks ago," said SUU coach Scott Bauman. "They were our senior captains, and losing them hurt. We were down to 11 freshmen and sophomores."
Click, a senior, will redshirt and return next season. Bauman said he will decide what to do with Chernoch this week.
"She tried to go, she was a warrior, but you could tell she just wasn't there," he said.
The injuries are a disappointing turn of events after the season started with such promise when the T-birds scored a 194.875 at UCLA for the program's highest season-opening score.
"It's really disappointing," Bauman said. "The team wasn't there emotionally."
The Utes tried a new format Saturday, with each competitor going one at a time so fans could watch each routine. The new format made the meet last almost two and a half hours, which was too long in Utah coach Greg Marsden's estimation.
"I wouldn't call it a complete failure by any stretch," he said. "It didn't feel that horrible on the floor, but in terms of fans and everything else, I think an hour and 45 minutes is better than two and a half hours."
Part of the appeal of the new format was making four-team meets more watchable for live broadcasts.
"At least we know we can do it in two and a half hours or less," Marsden said. "Now it's up to TV to do this next if they want to, but we aren't going to do it again."
The Utes travel to Arizona on Friday. â¦ Dabritz's all-around score was a personal best. â¦ The Utes won every event outright except for vault, where they tied Oregon State with a 49.275. â¦ Freshman Taylor Allex made her debut, earning a 9.8 on the vault. Allex replaced Mary Beth Lofgren in the lineup. Allex only recently resumed training after healing from a back injury.