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Utah gymnastics: Utes not taking success for granted

Published February 10, 2014 4:10 pm

Utah gymnastics • Team aims to avoid midseason letdown after 7-0 start.
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So far, victories have come easily for Utah's fourth-ranked gymnastics team, which is 7-0 for the first time since it finished second in at the 2008 NCAA Championships.

However, the Utes say the season hasn't been so smooth that they are getting too confident.

There is still plenty of work ahead of them as they head into the second half of the season.

"I don't have to remind them they need to stay focused," Utah coach Greg Marsden said. "With the number of good teams there are this year, that is taking care of itself. We are doing well, but so are other people."

Case in point is that the Utes posted a season-high 197.825 in their win over Arizona on Friday, but still didn't move up the national rankings, which are based on averages.

Florida holds the No. 1 spot with a 197.365 average, followed by Oklahoma (197.3), LSU (197.296) and Utah (197.135).

Junior Georgia Dabritz said the team is motivated to keep improving, using last year's ninth-place finish as motivation.

"We still feel like an underdog," she said. "We're still angry about last year and we want a good finish."

To make headway the Utes have to improve so all their events are averaging between 49.3-49.5, Marsden said.

Right now the Utes are ranked No. 1 on the vault (49.495) and floor (49.43), No. 4 on the bars (49.28) and No. 12 on the balance beam (48.93).

"Balance beam is getting better, but we still need to keep eliminating deductions there and other events," Marsden said.

It appears the Utes have found a new leadoff gymnast on the beam in Baely Rowe, who scored a 9.775 against Arizona, but Marsden said he'd still like to get Dabritz into the lineup somehow.

Dabritz has scored 9.8 or higher in exhibition on the beam in the last two meets.

"Her issue has always been a lack of consistency, but she is getting there," Marsden said.

Odd week

The Utes are at the mercy of the Pac-12 Networks when it comes to scheduling, and the network has left them with a tough time ahead as the Utes don't compete again until they travel to No. 10 Stanford on Monday. After that meet, they are in a bit of a time crunch since they turn around and host No. 13 Oregon State on Saturday.

Both meets will be televised live by the league's network.

It isn't an ideal schedule, but that is the price teams pay for TV exposure, Marsden acknowledged.

"It isn't something we are used to but we will have to adjust," he said. "We're still talking about how to handle it."

In the rankings

Dabritz is No. 1 on the uneven bars (9.94) and No. 2 on the floor (9.945). The Utes have three gymnasts in the Top 5 on the vault with Tory Wilson No. 2 (9.925), Kailah Delaney No. 4 (9.92) and Dabritz No. 5 (9.915).

Wilson is No. 3 (39.39) in the all-around. —

Top 25

1. Florida 197.365

2. Oklahoma 197.3

3. LSU 197.296

4. Utah 197.135

5. Alabama 196.93

6. Georgia 196.864

7. Nebraska 196.705

8. Michigan 196.65

9. UCLA 196.485

10. Stanford 196.154

11. Arkansas 196.145

12. Auburn 196.09

13. Oregon St. 196.088

14. Minnesota 195.825

15. Illinois 195.78

16. Boise St. 195.72

17. Arizona 195.78

18. Denver 195.685

19. Central Michigan 195.432

20. Ohio St. 195.25

21. Penn St. 195.175

22. Arizona St. 195.075

23. Washington 195.03

24. California 195.01

25. Kent St. 194.86