Georgia Dabritz is one of five freshmen expected to make an impact for the Utes this year. Here is a short look at each of them.
Georgia Dabritz - 2011 Junior Olympic all-around, bars and floor champion is expected to compete on three events Friday.
Kailah Delaney - Has mono but still expected to vault, scored a 9.9 on the event at UCLA
Kassandra Lopez - Earned a 9.8 in her debut on the balance beam at UCLA
Becky Tutka - An elite gymnast in 2006, Tutka scored 9.8 on the floor at UCLA
Tory Wilson - A fourth-place finisher in the all-around and vault at the 2011 Junior Olympic Champinships
Between the high praise of the coaches and the gushing of the upperclassmen, the secret that Utah's freshmen class could be a special group really is no longer a secret.
The five rookies, all of whom are penciled in to participate in Friday's home opener against Utah State at the Huntsman Center, represent one of Utah's top classes in recent years.
But as good as they are as a group, one, Georgia Dabritz, already seems to be rising above the rest. Like Corrie Lothrop, Ashley Postell and others whose names are scattered through Utah's record books, Dabritz has shown signs of being one of those special impact freshmen who can deliver big scores for the Utes.
She is scheduled to compete on everything but the balance beam Friday, which should give the home crowd a good chance to see for themselves a gymnast the Utes are thrilled to have in their program.
"There are a lot of things about Georgia that indicate she is going to be great in the future," Utah co-head coach Megan Marsden said. "The few weaknesses she has, we are strong with and can help her improve. But she is a freak of nature, her athletic ability puts her among the most talented athletes we've had."
Dabritz isn't a stranger to success by any means. The Newburyport, Mass., native brings to Utah a long list of accomplishments including winning the 2011 Junior Olympic all-around title and a seventh-place finish in the 2009 USA Visa Championships.
She chose the Utes over Alabama because she liked the atmosphere at Utah better.
"I loved the campus and the coaching staff and team seemed really close," she said. "It was more like a family and that is what I wanted."
It hasn't taken the 5-foot-1 Dabritz long at all to assimilate herself with her teammates. She might have brought talent and high expectations with her to Utah, but she left any semblance of an ego at home.
"She is a lot of fun to be with," senior Stephanie McAllister said. "She is so talented. We keep saying how unbelievably talented the freshman class is but it's true and she's unbelievably good. There is a lot in store for her but she is goofy and fun to be with too."
A common theme among the freshmen is they helped fill the team's need for more powerful gymnasts to bolster the Utes' lineups on vault and floor. Dabritz exemplifies that power, but she also is one of the team's most technically sound gymnasts which helps set her apart.
"She is light and effortless but technically sound," Marsden said. "Her tumbling technique is right on the spot and her execution is flawless. She doesn't look labored when she is doing gymnastics."
Utah's coaches aren't the only ones enamored with her, the judges seem to like her as well. Dabritz won the floor event Sunday in Utah's opener at UCLA with a 9.9 and scored a 9.875 on the vault. She had a break and scored just 9.35 on the uneven bars, but she didn't let that low score ruin the day.
"I was happy how we finished and we didn't lose by much," she said. "It was different than a club meet for me, different energy being a part of a team so that made it fun. I was a little nervous at first but once we settled in it was Ok."
Course, competing in front of 2,000 fans is one thing, competing in front of the more than 10,000-plus expected to attend Friday's meet against Utah State is another thing. Dabritz admits she is a little nervous about the meet, but Utah's coaches believe they can help her adjust.
Marsden said she sees many of the same traits she had as a gymnast in Dabritz.
"Sometimes her mind can go to the wrong place and gets busy with negative thoughts," she said. "We're trying to teach her how to turn her brain off. Sometimes it takes time for that and it does remind me of the things I went through. Once she has taken care of that, I think she'll have great days ahead."