Cleveland • Much has been made of Utah's freshmen class which has been more consistent than Utah's gymnastics coach could have hoped but in the end the team relied on its two seniors at the NCAA Championships.
Both fulfilled those expectations as Jacquelyn Johnson and Gael Mackie filled critical roles to help the Utes finish fifth in the Super Six Saturday.
Mackie scored a 9.8 on the vault, a 9.925 on the uneven bars and a 9.825 on the balance beam as she anchored all of those events. Johnson led off on the bars with a 9.775 and the beam with a 9.725 then added a 9.775 on the floor.
"I was really proud of the Jac and Gael and the job they did as seniors," Utah coach Greg Marsden said. "If they don't step up and do the job they did, we would have had no chance."
Johnson competed on every event in the preliminary round but was pulled from the vault lineup Saturday due to a strained quad muscle.
She was replaced by freshman Victoria Shanley, who scored a team-high 9.875.
"We weren't positive that Jac was even going to be able to compete, but I told her we really needed her on the other three events," Marsden said. "We had other people who could vault so we wanted to take that off her and make sure we didn't make her injury worse. It worked out since Victoria came in and did the best vault of the lineup."
Johnson said both she and Mackie felt responsible for leading the team at nationals and made an effort to set examples for the underclassmen. She hopes their efforts will affect the team beyond the NCAAs.
"Hopefully we left our mark on the team," she said. "We want them to know how Utah is and our ways so hopefully that will carry over to the team next year."
A closer look
Recent performances by Utah seniors Gael Mackie and Jacquelyn Johnson:
Vault • 9.85
Bars • 9.875
Beam • 9.625
Vault • 9.8
Bars • 9.925
Beam • 9.825
Vault • 9.8
Bars • 9.75
Beam • 9.7
Floor • 9.8
Bars • 9.775
Beam • 9.725
Floor • 9.775