Utah gymnastics: Backups get chance to shine
SEATTLE - Utah's gymnastics team has stressed the importance of having all of its backups ready for "just in case moments," that might arise in the season. They finally had one Saturday and yep, the backups were indeed ready.
Senior Nina Kim, who is ranked sixth in the all-around, didn't compete in the West regional because of illness. Her absence forced some inexperienced gymnasts into the lineup with Gael Mackie competing on vault, Jacquelyn Johnson competing on bars and freshman Stephanie McAllister competing on floor.
The replacements fared well, with McAllister tying her career high on floor with a 9.85 and Gael Mackie setting a career best 9.825 on the vault. McAllister also earned a 9.8 on the beam for her first beam routine.
The gymnast who had the longest to wait to compete was also the most inexperienced with Johnson taking Kim's place on the bars. Johnson, a sophomore, had competed just once before, performing a floor routine on Feb. 9 at Utah State in which she scored a 9.775.
Johnson looked nothing like the inexperienced she is, performing a big bars routine and nailing the landing for a 9.825.
Mackie also tied her career best on beam with a 9.85.
"They've all played supporting roles and just haven't been able to break into the lineup," Utah coach Greg Marsden said. "For them to come in and do their jobs like that, I'm really happy for them."
It was the first meet in which Kim hasn't competed this season and only the third time she hasn't competed in the all-around.
Streak continues: Jamie Deetscreek hit all of her routines Saturday to extend her streak to 61 consecutively made routines. She is just two shy of tying the school record of 63 straight routines, set by Suzanne Metz during 1994-95.
The last gymnast to threaten that mark was Ashley Postell, who hit 49 straight routines before falling on the uneven bars against Oregon State in 2008.
Deetscreek has hit 48-for-48 this season, making her the only gymnast without a fall.
She finished her night Saturday on the balance beam, scoring a career best 9.95.
Her last fall came here at Washington on Feb. 16, 2008.