Utah freshman gymnast Victoria Shanley has been in a frustrating spot the last two weeks. She feels good enough to compete for the No. 4 Utes, but she still isn't strong enough to earn a spot in the lineup.
Shanley, who missed several weeks of practice in December after being diagnosed with mononucleosis, hopes to change her fate this week and earn a place in Saturday's lineup for the Utes (2-0) at No. 9 Nebraska (1-1).
"I feel like I'm getting into the swing of things again and it's been tough for me to watch," she said. "I'd like to play some role in the meets."
Shanley has participated in exhibition on the vault in Utah's two meets. She is doing well enough that coaches are considering putting her in the lineup, although she has tough competition from Lia Del Priore and Jacquelyn Johnson, Utah coach Greg Marsden said.
"She is getting closer; now it's just a matter of making sure she is at a point where things are good and she is confident and we are confident of her," he said. "The longer it goes the harder it is to get in a lineup unless you rest someone or there is a sickness, but the good thing is we know we have the depth."
Shanley, of Colorado Springs, Colo., is good enough to compete on all events but said she still lacks some of the endurance needed for bars and floor.
"That is the only thing missing," she said of the endurance. "But I'm working my tail off to get into the vault lineup."
Sore but OK
Junior Cortni Beers, who took a bad fall off the balance beam at Georgia, has a few bruises to show for her mistake but should be all right to compete, Marsden said.
Beers also fell off the uneven bars, but Marsden said he isn't panicking about the mistakes yet.
"She didn't have a good meet at all and I don't know why," he said. "We're moving forward. I don't know if it was a case of trying too hard or what, but we need her. She can score big when she hits."
In no hurry
As well as the Utes have done the past two weeks, there are no plans to speed up the process of adding upgrades or so forth. Marsden would prefer to see more consistency first.
"We had three stuck vaults and balance beam was good again and we had a couple mistakes on floor that we can improve on," he said of the 195.9-195.8 win at Georgia. "It's really a matter of slowly but surely eliminating deductions and getting more consistent right now."
In the rankings
Florida and Stanford maintained their spots at No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, while Oklahoma jumped up to No. 3 from No. 7.
Nebraska, which hosts Utah on Saturday, moved up two spots to No. 9 after scoring a 195.45 in its win over Iowa State.
SUU is ranked No. 20 following its 194.75-194.425 win over UCLA.
Utah's Kyndal Robarts is ranked No. 1 on the vault (9.938) and Stephanie McAllister is the highest-ranked Ute in the all-around, at No. 11 with a 39.238 average.
Around the state
SUU hosts Sacramento State on Friday in a WAC meet while BYU travels to Kent State on Friday. Utah State takes to the road for the first time, visiting San Jose State on Friday.
The Aggies don't have another home meet until they host Boise State on Feb. 18.
Twitter: @lyawodraska, @sltributes
Team Season avg. Previous rank
1. Florida 196.85 1
2. Stanford 196.625 2
3. Oklahoma 195.825 7
4. Utah 195.8 3
5. Georgia 195.688 6
6. Oregon State 195.567 8
7. Michigan 195.3 3
8. UCLA 195.217 5
9. Nebraska 195.2 11
10. N.C. State 195.15 NR
No. 20 SUU 194.113 23