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Utah gymnastics: Utes’ senior class delivers in Pac-12 Championships

First Published Mar 22 2014 07:10 pm • Last Updated Mar 22 2014 11:11 pm

Berkeley, Calif. • Utah’s senior class made it its mission to change the culture of the Utes’ gymnastics program from one that was just happy to compete to one that wanted to win.

Credit them, then, for sparking Utah’s performance in the Pac-12 Championships on Saturday at Cal.

At a glance

Senior class highlights

Hailee Hansen » Earns a 9.9 on the uneven bars.

Mary Beth Lofgren » Keys Utah’s beam success with a 9.9.

Lia Del Priore » Scores a 9.925 on the floor.

Nansy Damianova » Has a 9.95 on the floor.

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The Utes, who posted a 197.925, had one standout performance after another from the senior class.

Mary Beth Lofgren scored a 9.9 on the balance beam, a 9.775 on the vault and 9.825 on the floor while Lia Del Priore scored 9.925 on the floor in her only performance of the night.

Nansy Damianova scored 9.95 on the floor to end Utah’s competition and added a 9.85 on the vault and 9.925 on the uneven bars.

Hailee Hansen, who instigated a new team attitude during summer workouts, made her statement with a 9.9 on the uneven bars in her only routine. Hansen’s score tied the career high she set at the 2013 Pac-12 Championships.

Afterward, Lofgren said she was motivated by knowing her career was coming to a close.

Her balance-beam routine was one of the key moments of the competition for the Utes.

Competing fourth, Lofgren followed Tory Wilson, who had a few bobbles in her effort and scored just a 9.75.

If Lofgren showed weakness in her routine, the rest of the lineup could have easily crumbled under pressure. They didn’t have to worry about that as Lofgren hit the 9.9.

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"I only have a few more times to compete with this team and I wanted it to be my best," she said. "We have worked so hard together I didn’t want to hold anything back."

Utah’s senior class decided the team needed a new outlook after finishing ninth at the NCAA Championships a year ago.

It was an embarrassing finish that has motivated the team all season and has breathed new life into the program overall.

"They have been outstanding and solid for us," Utah coach Greg Marsden said. "Their demeanor and their approach to the gymnastics has made it fun again for me too."

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