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Utah gymnastics: Wilson stays grounded after high-flying vault

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(Chris Detrick | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah's Tory Wilson celebrates with her teammates after competing on the vault during the meet against Arizona State at the Huntsman Center Friday February 1, 2013. Utah won 196.425 to 195.450. Wilson won the event with a score of 9.975.

By Lya Wodraska

The Salt Lake Tribune

First published Feb 11 2013 04:10PM
Updated May 21, 2013 11:32PM

From standing ovations to ESPN highlights, it is, as Utah gymnastics coach Greg Marsden said, "a good time to be Tory Wilson."

On Saturday, Wilson scored 10.0 on the vault in Utah’s win over California, becoming the first Ute to post a perfect score since Ashley Postell had three in 2008.

Wilson’s vault was featured on ESPN’s Top 10 Plays of the Day Saturday. It was her fifth straight vault title and also launched the sophomore toward her first all-around title.

She holds the No. 1 ranking on the event with a 9.955 average and earned the distinction of being just the seventh Ute to earn a perfect score on the vault.

"It has been crazy," Wilson said. "The magnitude of it all hasn’t sunk in yet. I am just going with it."

While it has been a whirlwind weekend for Wilson, Marsden said he isn’t worried she’ll get distracted by all the attention as the Utes prepare for Friday’s meet at Washington.

"That is somebody who has worked hard and to get better like she has is really satisfying," he said. "We tried to put her in some places a year ago and she would get around a 9.7 score or that kind of thing. Now she is getting 9.9s."

Wilson’s development is indicative of the strides the Utes have made as a team, even as they adjust to the absence of Pac-12 defending all-around champion Corrie Lothrop, who tore her Achilles tendon two weeks ago.

Saturday’s mark of 197.05 was a season high for the Utes and bumped them to No. 6 in the national rankings.

"It was a real positive for this team to have a meet like that and gain some confidence," Marsden said. "Sometimes gymnasts are burned out by the time they get to college but not this group. They listen to the coaches and they want to get better and are doing the things they need to get better. Tory is a great example of that."

More like that

Marsden hopes Kassandra Lopez will continue to work her way into the lineup on more events as her lower leg strain improves. Lopez scored a 9.8 on the balance beam in her first showing on the event Saturday.

"Floor is going to be the last thing for her, but she is getting better and better every week," Marsden said. "She does have experience on the beam and we are sorely lacking that."

Getting Lopez in the lineup on a more regular basis would be a boost for the Utes since it is looking more and more like Kailah Delaney, who had knee surgery in the offseason, won’t be able to compete this year.

Marsden said Delaney continues to experience knee pain around the patellar tendon. The hope is time off will allow the sophomore to resume her career at some point.

"They told us from the beginning it might help and it might not," he said. "We’ll know when we know, but I hate to think of this as career ending, but it’s something that is painful and do you want to deal with that the rest of your career? There is still a chance it could heal, but there is no guarantee."

Of note

The Utes have won the last 16 contests against Washington. … Sophomore Becky Tutka is ranked No. 9 on floor (9.89). … As a team, Utah has hit 112 of 120 routines. … Bellevue, Wash., native Haley Lange is expected to perform in exhibition on the vault and balance beam Friday.

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