Mary Beth Lofgren has become much more than the local gal dreaming of simply competing for Utah's gymnastics team. In less than six meets into her college career, the Salt Lake City native has turned into one of the team's anchors.
Lofgren scored 9.9s on the vault and balance beam and a 9.8 on the floor to help the third-ranked Utes (5-1) defeat No. 13 Washington 196.975-195.475 in front of 12,359 at the Huntsman Center on Friday.
The Huskies (6-6), who have never won in Salt Lake City, had no hope of ending that streak after the Utes posted season highs of 49.325 on the vault and 49.375 on the uneven bars to quickly distance themselves from the Pac-10 foe.
The only dramatic moment in that span came when Gael Mackie fell from the balance beam, scoring 9.175 and leaving her teammates in a bind. However, the next four gymnasts hit their routines to give the Utes a 49.15, tying their season high on the event. Lofgren capped off the rotation by earning a 9.9 in the anchor spot. That score was good enough to earn her the individual title on the beam her second of the night and fifth of the season.
Although most admit they feel pressure to hit in such situations, Lofgren described Friday's challenge as "fun."
"I felt ready today and more comfortable on the beam," she said. "It was a lot of fun to be up there, and I'm honored to be in the anchor spot."
Lofgren unexpectedly was pushed into the anchor role at Nebraska when senior Kyndal Robarts injured her knee. Unlike many freshmen unfamiliar with the college format, Lofgren knew the responsibility that came with being an anchor and was surprised when coach Greg Marsden tabbed her to fill the role.
"I've watched enough gymnastics to know and see how lineups work and everything," said Lofgren, whose mother competed for BYU.
She has proved he was right in his decision. She scored a 9.85 that night and has followed that performance with a 9.775 against Arizona State and 9.9s against Stanford and Washington.
"She doesn't feel the pressure at all; she just gets better each week," Marsden said.
The Utes continue to get better as a team too, with the Utes earning a season high for the fifth consecutive week.
"Right now we're having an ideal season," Marsden said. "We haven't counted a miss, and the misses people have had, we haven't let that get to them and have rallied. That happened on beam tonight. We've done a nice job each meet and we get a little better, but we certainly still have things to talk about and work on each week in practice."
Notes • Former Utah gymnast Meg Whitney, who transferred to Washington last year, scored 9.8 on the vault and 9.7 on the balance beam for the Huskies. â¦ Watching from the front row was Bridget Sloan, a 2008 Olympian and the 2009 USA all-around champion who was on a recruiting trip to Utah.
R In short • The Utes maintain their perfect record against the Huskies in Salt Lake City, improving to 18-0 in the series with a season-high score.
KEY MOMENT • Stephanie McAllister gets the Utes back on track with a 9.8 on the balance beam after Gael Mackie falls and scores just 9.175.
Key stat • The Utes have just one fall Friday. They've yet to count a fall this year.
First rotation • Utah (vault) 49.325; Washington (uneven bars) 49.025
Second rotation • Utah (uneven bars) 49.375; Washington (vault) 49.1
Third rotation • Utah (balance beam) 49.15; Washington (floor) 48.75
Fourth rotation • Utah (floor) 49.1; Washington (balance beam) 48.6.