There will be the usual Senior Night festivities and recognitions for Utah gymnasts Gael Mackie, Jacquelyn Johnson and Kyndal Robarts when No. 5 Utah faces Florida on Friday at the Huntsman Center.
While gymnasts usually enjoy being the center of attention, Mackie and Johnson would prefer to ignore the fanfare, particularly since they feel there is plenty more work to do in the season.
In many ways, both feel the season is just beginning for them, even if the Utes are about to wrap up their home schedule.
The two veterans of the sport know the Utes' biggest meets are ahead of them in the postseason, but they feel they're just getting into the swing of things themselves.
Both are getting more opportunities to compete as their gymnastics has improved and others have needed more breaks because of injuries or illnesses. Unfortunately, one of those open spots was created when Robarts suffered a knee injury at Nebraska.
But thoughts that the Utes' season might be doomed when Robarts went down were quickly extinguished, thanks to the improved gymnastics from Mackie and Johnson, in addition to others on the team.
Efforts such as last week's, when the two had to compete in the all-around on short notice but still posted high scores, have become the norm.
The two are expected to compete in the all-around again tonight because both Corrie Lothrop (ankle) and Victoria Shanley (back) are expected to miss their second meet in a row.
"I'm glad I can end my career on a high note," said Johnson, who earned a 39.225 in the all-around at Utah State. "I've always wanted to compete like this, and to be able to do this as a senior and contribute this year means a lot."
After earning the team's Most Improved Gymnast award last year, Johnson beat out everyone else in the team's strength/cardio testing in the preseason and has continued to be a leader in competitions. She is averaging 9.8s or better on the floor and uneven bars.
"She worked so hard in the offseason and blew everyone away in our testing," Utah coach Greg Marsden said. "You can see it now in her gymnastics, how much she has improved. She just really looks comfortable out there."
As for Mackie, her season has been more inconsistent on the balance beam, but she has been one of the team's best on the uneven bars, where she has earned 9.8 or higher in all but one meet this year. Her floor routine has been upgraded, too, making her a good option in that event as the postseason nears.
"I'm really feeling comfortable on the bars; that is where I know I can help the team the most," Mackie said. "It has been a fun year and I'm glad I can be there when people are hurt or the team needs me; that is more of a factor for me, being there for the team more than the individual result."
No. 1 Floridaat No. 5 Utah
P Friday, 7 p.m.
Records • Utah 7-1; Florida 11-1
Series • Utah leads 30-11
Last meeting • Florida won, 197.00-196.225, April 23, 2010
About the meet • Utah is coming off a 196.55-193.15 win over Utah State. â¦ Corrie Lothrop missed the Utah State meet with a sprained ankle. â¦ Season tickets for 2012 will go on sale during the meet. â¦ The Gators are ranked No. 1 on all four events and have an RQS of 197.055. â¦ Florida has five All-Americans, with three gymnasts scoring 39.575 or higher in the all-around. Ashanee Dickerson leads the Gators with 19 wins.
A closer look
Best performances for Jacquelyn Johnson and Gael Mackie:
Vault 9.8 9.8
Bars 9.8 9.85
Beam 9.75 9.75
Floor 9.875 9.875
All-around 39.225 39.225
Vault 9.575 9.825
Bars 9.925 9.925
Balance 9.875 9.875
Floor 9.875 9.875
All-around 39.025 39.125