Utah gymnastics: Utah's Deetscreek model of consistency
Daria Bijak was the anointed star coming into the 2010 season, Kyndal Robarts was the next big thing and Jamie Deetscreek was ... oh yes her, the senior whose steady performances benefit the team but can get her lost in the hoopla surrounding her teammates on Utah's gymnastics team.
But always she is there in her teammates' shadow, pushing them to do better out of fear they'll be caught by her.
"She is right behind them," Utah coach Greg Marsden said after one recent meet. He corrected himself when he glanced at the stat sheet again. "Actually, she is right there."
Deetscreek is best known for her consistency after setting a school record by completing 64 consecutive routines without a fall last season.
At times she is easy to overlook because she rarely makes a major mistake and her performances aren't eye-catchingly powerful like Bijak's nor full of pep as some of her other teammates, but this season she is distinguishing herself in her own ways.
She leads the team with five wins this year, giving her seven for her career. She also won the all-around against Iowa State with a 39.425.
"Her improvement with us has been unbelievable," Utah co-head coach Megan Marsden said. "On bars and beam, she is as good as it gets, she can hang with anybody on those events."
By her own standards, Deetscreek rated her performances this year as just "good."
"There have been some areas I want to work on and I get discouraged in," she said. "Sometimes I make a big deal about little mistakes and get mad about them, but when I look back I realize I actually had a pretty good meet."
That tendency to self-criticize has served her well in her progression at Utah.
Deetscreek was a relatively unheralded gymnast when she came to Utah when compared to the usual steady influx of national team members and Olympians the Utes recruit. She qualified for the Junior Olympics in 2002 and 2004, but was at the elite level only in 2003.
However, her progress has been extremely steady throughout her career, making her latest improvement almost expected instead of a surprise.
After competing in four routines as a freshman, she was a steady contributor on the balance beam in 2008. Last year she earned the team's Most Improved Gymnast award, as she regularly contributed as an all-around competitor and earned All-America honors on the balance beam.
While others brought the big scores, she brought the consistency the Utes have always coveted.
"I don't know if we are ever willing to give up consistency," Megan Marsden said. "In college gymnastics, that is the name of the game. Very often you have to be consistent, then in time the big scores come."
The big scores seem to be coming for Deetscreek.
"I've been practicing hard and it's finally showing in meets," she said.
Tonight, 7:30 p.m.
About the meet » Utah has won its last three meets in Tempe. ... ASU's season high is a 194.9. ... The Utes haven't counted a fall this season.
Elsewhere » BYU hosts Utah St. and Denver tonight, 7 p.m. ... SUU hosts Kent State on Saturday at 7 p.m.