College gymnastics: Utes overcome performance on bars for a good showing
Utah's gymnastics team wanted to use Friday's Red Rocks Preview to judge where they are as a team before the season starts in January.
It was fairly easy to see what needs work between now and then as the Utes struggled on the uneven bars.
The event was one of Utah's best in 2012, but Friday night the veterans struggled, with Corrie Lothrop, Tory Wilson, Becky Tutka and freshman Baely Rowe all tumbling from the apparatus.
Luckily the rest of the events were much better, giving the crowd of 4,106 a glimpse of what the Utes hope can be the program's best team in several seasons.
Utah coach Greg Marsden likened Utah's uneven bars performance to the 2012 season when Utah struggled early on the event but excelled at the end of the year.
"What we saw tonight isn't a reflection at all of what we've seen in practice," he said. "That is why we do this. Nothing replicates what it is like to be in this arena, so it was a good thing to get it done tonight."
Several gymnasts stood out, with Tory Wilson picking up where she left off by landing a solid vault.
Wilson became the only gymnast to go undefeated on an event during the regular season last year, winning 10 vault titles. She finished eighth on the apparatus at the NCAA Championships.
Also having a good night was Kailah Delaney, who missed the 2012 season with a knee injury. She performed on every event Friday.
"It was exciting to get back out there," Delaney said. "We've worked really hard, and you always want to be at your best."
Rowe, the only freshman on the team this year, performed on all four events, with the mistake on bars being her only case of nerves.
Junior Georgia Dabritz, who struggled with consistency on the balance beam last year, hit the event Friday as the Utes had a strong showing on the event overall with just two falls out of 12 routines.
Overall Marsden liked the way his team looked with just a few weeks remaining before the Utes open the season Jan. 11 against BYU, SUU and Boise State.
"The mistakes that we had were from a lot of people being aggressive," he said. "We are an improved team in a lot of areas."