The luxury of being the top-ranked team in the country with the majority of the routines in place is that you get to be a little nitpicky. That is the stage in which Utah's gymnastics team finds itself, even though it is only four weeks into the season.
The Utes, who have the third-best vaulting team in the country with a 49.306 average, still believe their vaults have plenty of room for improvement, namely in the landings.
The Utes scored a 49.225 on the event in Friday's win over Georgia, with almost all the deductions being for small hops on the landings.
"We've been working a lot on our entries and making things look good from the beginning," sophomore Corrie Lothrop said. "Greg [Marsden] always says if the beginning is good, the landing should be there for you and that is what we need to work on now."
How important those small deductions are was brought home to the Utes in their 197.15-196.95 win over the Gym Dogs. Another small hop here or there, and the Utes might have lost the home meet.
"We had good amplitude and form, but we have to have a better percentage with those landings," Marsden said. "I'm looking around and there isn't any team that is consistently hitting with their whole lineup at this point in the season so it's normal, but we just have to get more comfortable and keep working to get better. It's the easiest area for me to single out and say, 'Hey, if we stick three more vaults, our score goes up even more.' "
Still catching up
Even though the Utes are No. 1 and Georgia isn't far behind them, Georgia coach Jay Clark said following Friday's meet he still believes UCLA and Florida are currently the best two teams in the country.
"It doesn't mean that we can't get there," he said of the Utes and Gym Dogs. "At the end of the season we could be in the mix, but right now I'd still say those two teams are a little ahead."
The Utes barely lost to UCLA in the season opener and compete at Florida on March 16. Georgia faces the two teams back to back, visiting Florida on Feb. 24 and hosting UCLA on March 2.
In the rankings
Alabama made the biggest jump, moving up from No. 6 to No. 2. West Virginia lost four spots to fall to No. 24 while ASU is new to the rankings at No. 25. â¦ The Utes have three gymnasts ranked in the Top 10 on floor with Georgia Dabritz and Stephanie McAllister tied for third (9.906) and Corrie Lothrop tied for seventh (9.888). McAllister also is 11th in the all-around (39.388) and tied for seventh on the uneven bars (9.875), and Lothrop is No. 10 in the all-around (39.406).
Freshman Kailah Delaney is ranked No. 10 on the vault (9.9), and senior Kyndal Robarts is tied for ninth on the balance beam (9.856).
No changes necessary
The Utes have more depth throughout their lineup this year than they have had in many seasons, allowing the coaches to use a variety of lineups. However, Marsden said he won't make a lot of changes just for the sake of making changes.
"I'm not one to do that," he said. "Usually there is a good reason, like if someone has a bad week of training or are beat up or sick. We try to give people opportunities and experience through our exhibition, and otherwise our lineup is pretty set."
The one area in which the Utes need more depth, Marsden said, is on the uneven bars.
"Kyndal is struggling a little with her release move and that has gotten into her head a bit, and Victoria [Shanley] is still out with her ankle injury so that is really the only event where we have fewer numbers right now," he said.
Top 25 rankings
Team Avg Pv
1. Utah 197.031 1
2. Alabama 196.675 6
3. Arkansas 196.667 2
4. Florida 196.63 4
5. Oklahoma 196.613 5
6. Georgia 196.605 4
7. UCLA 196.435 7
8. Nebraska 196.113 9
9. Oregon St. 196.031 8
10. Penn St. 195.855 10
11. Ohio St. 195.53 11
12. Stanford 195.45 12
13. Auburn 195.245 3
14. LSU 195.145 14
15. Boise St. 194.963 16
16. Arizona 194.938 18
17. Denver 194.92 15
18. Missouri 194.915 17
19. Illinois 194.8 19
20. Wash. 194.48 21
21. N.C. St. 194.445 23
22. Michigan 194.381 22
23. Iowa 194.375 24
24. W. Va. 194.365 20
25. Ariz. St. 194.144