Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Hailee Hansen on the bars for the Utes, in their Gymnastics opener, Utah vs, BYU, Boise State and Southern Utah University, at the Huntsman Center, Friday, January 10, 2014.
Utah gymnastics: Damianova, other seniors credited with changing Utes’ outlook

Del Priore, Hansen, Lofgren also will be honored Saturday.

First Published Mar 14 2014 12:23 pm • Last Updated Mar 14 2014 07:06 pm

Too sick to travel with the team to Michigan a week ago Thursday, Utah gymnast Nansy Damianova managed to fly out the next morning and arrive just hours before the meet.

Still weak, she competed in three events and mustered enough energy to score two 9.9s and a 9.825.

At a glance

No. 6 Georgia at No. 5 Utah

At the Huntsman Center

Start » Saturday, 7 p.m.

TV » Pac-12 Network

Live scores » utahutes.com

Records » Utah 9-3, 6-1 Pac-12; Georgia 6-4, 4-2 SEC

Series history » Georgia leads 25-22-1

Last meeting » Georgia 197.65, Utah 196.975 (March 9, 2013)

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Her effort to help the team typifies the demeanor of the gymnasts who make up Utah’s senior class, which will be honored Saturday when the fifth-ranked Utes (9-3) wrap up the regular season against No. 6 Georgia (6-4).

After several years of being satisfied with mediocrity, Utah’s senior class had enough and has changed the culture of the team for the better, coach Greg Marsden said.

"They’ve been an exceptionally good group," Marsden said. "They want to be here and they are hungry and don’t mind working hard and they’re always positive and upbeat."

The four — Damianova, Lia Del Priore, Hailee Hansen and Mary Beth Lofgren — have all contributed in their own way.

Hansen, who competes only on the uneven bars, is the vocal leader who brought the other seniors together and demanded they get tougher this year.

Del Priore is one of Utah’s most consistent competitors, having hit 58 of 58 routines in her career. Last season she earned a rare 10.0 on the floor.

Lofgren is the hometown girl who competes on everything but the uneven bars. A steady, calm contributor, Lofgren is one of Utah’s best on the balance beam, where she sometimes serves as the anchor.

"She has basically grown up in the Huntsman Center," Marsden said of Lofgren. "Each one has their own personality trait they’ve brought to the team."

story continues below
story continues below

Damianova is penciled in to close out Saturday’s meet on the floor, since she serves as the anchor.

It is a moment she is looking forward to with a little trepidation, knowing she and her teammates will be emotional.

"I still have a job to do, so I don’t want to think about it too much or I’ll cry," she said.

Perhaps more than anyone, Damianova is finishing her career with the most satisfaction. After struggling to find her place in the lineup and on the team, Damianova, who hails from Montreal, has been one of Utah’s strongest competitors the last two seasons.

The Pac-12 runner-up on floor last year, Damianova has earned a career-high 9.95 twice on the event this season and has hit 26 of 27 routines overall. She is ranked No. 11 on the bars (9.9) and No. 12 on the floor (9.91).

"I feel like bars and floor have been stable," she said. "I’ve hit my handstands better and I’ve done a good job there, I just need to get vault to stick. That has been bugging me lately."

Damianova isn’t sure what the future will hold for her when she is done with gymnastics, although the thought of competing on the trampoline is enticing to her.

"It is big in Canada, and I want to keep competing in something," she said. "I don’t think I’ll compete in gymnastics anymore. I’d like to do something else."

She is happy sticking with gymnastics for now and hopes she and her teammates can finish her final year strong.

"The team has been doing so well this year, it has made it more fun," she said. "Before I came here, I was a little scared ,but it was a good opportunity and it has been great. We just want to finish strong."


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

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.