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(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah's Kassandra Lopez on the bars as Utah hosted BYU gymnastics Friday, January 27, 2012 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Utah gymnastics: Utes determined to make up for absence of Lopez
Utah gymnastics » Team went through similar situation last year with Lothrop.
First Published Jan 13 2014 04:09 pm • Last Updated Mar 24 2014 11:33 pm

While junior gymnast Kassandra Lopez was undergoing surgery to repair the Achilles tendon she tore during warm-ups prior to Saturday’s meet, her Utah teammates were grappling with the reality that she won’t be competing with them this year.

Between the two, it’s hard to say whether Lopez or her teammates were having the more difficult day.

At a glance

College gymnastics rankings

(Based on high score)

Ranking, team Score

1. Oklahoma 197.7

2. LSU 197.2

3. Alabama 197.15

4. Florida 196.65

4. Utah 196.65

6. UCLA 196.625

6. Nebraska 196.625

8. Michigan 196.525

9. Georgia 196.325

10. Arkansas 196.2

11. Boise State 195.85

12. Stanford 195.575

13. Illinois 195.325

14. Denver 195.2

14. Oregon St. 195.2

16. Rutgers 195.075

17. Kentucky 195.0

18. Auburn 194.875

19. Ohio St. 194.75

19. Arizona 194.75

21. Kent St. 194.725

22. Central Mich. 194.625

23. BYU 194.55

24. Minnesota 194.425

25. Michigan St. 194.15

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"Unfortunately, the only good thing is we have been through this before," Utah coach Greg Marsden said, thinking back to last year when the Utes lost star Corrie Lothrop to the same injury. "We have to get to work to find out who is going to step up."

The Utes don’t have long to do that with their first road trip of the season coming Friday at Cal.

Becky Tutka, Baely Rowe and Tory Wilson filled in for Lopez on Saturday, but the positions will be up for grabs in the next several weeks as the Utes determine what their best lineups will be.

"It’s an unfortunate situation, but we have a lot of depth this year," junior Georgia Dabritz said. "We did all right on Saturday and we just need to keep doing that."

As for Lopez, she does have a redshirt year, but it’s unknown whether she will use it or not. Marsden said Lopez will make that decision later.

Lothrop didn’t decide until late in the season last year that she wanted to extend her career another year.

"It’s a traumatic and emotional thing," Marsden said. "She has plenty of time to make that decision. Right now we just want her to get the surgery behind her and then we can start looking at those things."

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In the rankings

The 196.65 they posted on Saturday was good enough to move the Utes up two spots to No. 4 in a tie with Florida in the rankings. Oklahoma holds the top spot with a 197.7, followed by LSU (197.2) and Alabama (197.15).

Cal was ranked No. 22 in the preseason but fell out of the Top 25 when it lost to Denver 195.2-193.225 Saturday.

The 9.95s that Dabritz and Wilson earned on the bars were the best in the nation, putting them No. 1 on the event. Dabritz was the 2013 NCAA runner-up on bars.

That Oklahoma, which has finished in the top three in three out of the last four seasons, is staking an early claim to No. 1 didn’t surprise Marsden.

Around the state

Bailey McIntire was named Utah State’s student-athlete of the week after helping the Aggies beat Iowa 191.75-191.65. She finished second in the all-around with a 38.75 and won the floor with a 9.85 effort.

The Aggies take on SUU Friday in Cedar City.

BYU, which was third in Saturday’s meet behind the Utes and Boise State, gets a rematch with the Broncos in Boise on Friday in a meet that also features Denver.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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