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Utah gymnastics: Utes feeling a sense of urgency

Published February 18, 2013 5:00 pm

College gymnastics • At the halfway point, Marsden still seeking more consistency
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Now halfway through the regular season, Utah's seventh-ranked gymnastics team is beginning to feel a sense of urgency to work through its sticking points.

A tie against a team like Washington, one the Utes are accustomed to beating by comfortable margins, can lead to such a new perspective.

"We were hoping for a better performance on the road," Utah coach Greg Marsden said. "We know that we are capable of doing a better job with consistency week in and week out and we've showed that at times. Other times, we shoot ourselves in the foot. We certainly haven't hit our stride in consistency of performance."

The good news is the Utes are home this week, where they have done extremely well, with a televised 8 p.m. meet against Stanford on Saturday.

Marsden also believes many of the errors the Utes are making should be easy to fix. On Friday, sophomore Kassandra Lopez balked on her uneven bars routine and ran to the side after she hit the board. If she had balked before hitting the board, she wouldn't have been tagged with a 0.5 deduction.

"That was just a weird thing that happened," Marsden said. "I take the blame for that as much as anyone because she didn't know the rule and we hadn't gone over it with them, but those are the kinds of things we need to work out before the Pac-12 championships and regionals."

Getting closer

Marsden said freshman Haley Lange, who performed in exhibition Friday, is closer to earning a spot in the lineup, especially on beam or floor.

"I don't know if she brought it because she was home or what, but she did a great job," he said of the Bellevue, Wash., native. "If she continues to do that, she becomes a contender to take somebody's spot in those lineups. She is at least someone we feel good about using if we have to for whatever reason."

Lange has yet to compete this year.

In the rankings

Utah's tie with Washington at 195.975 didn't hurt the Utes too much in the rankings as they dropped only a spot. However, the Utes may fall several spots next week regardless of the outcome of Saturday's meet against Stanford because the rankings switch to the Regional Qualifying Score format Monday.

The RQS is factored by taking the six best scores, three of which must be away meets, eliminating the high score and averaging the remaining five.

Tory Wilson remains No. 1 on the vault with a 9.954 average and Becky Tutka is No. 6 on the floor with a 9.892 average. —

National rankings

By season average

1. Florida 197.296

2. Oklahoma 197.171

3. Michigan 196.939

4. Alabama 196.842

5. UCLA 196.65

6. LSU 196.507

7. Utah 196.383

8. Georgia 196.369

9. Nebraska 196.283

10. Stanford 196.129

11. Oregon St. 195.832

12. Minnesota 195.829

13. Denver 195.796

14. Auburn 195.746

15. Arizona 195.586

16. Boise St. 195.555

17. Maryland 195.396

18. Illinois 195.342

19. Arkansas 195.296

20. Ohio St. 195.286

21. Kent St. 195.204

22. Washington 195.188

23. Kentucky 195.182

24. Penn St. 195.014

25. West Virginia 194.988