Utes' Kivisto thrust into role as leadoff
Utah freshman Katie Kivisto knew she would perform her floor routine Friday, she just didn't know she would be the first up, and that her routine would count.
Kivisto, originally slated to compete only in exhibition, was thrown in as the leadoff gymnast after Kristen Riffanacht was pulled from the lineup.
Riffanacht aggravated her hamstring strain during her balance beam routine.
Adding more drama for Kivisto was that her floor routine was virtually new, after she reworked her floor passes this week. Kivisto was in the restroom when she got the news she was competing.
"I didn't have much time to get ready," Kivisto said. "I had no idea I'd be starting on floor."
Kivisto's routine went up in difficulty when she replaced her triple twist on her first pass with a two-and-a-half punch front, worth three-tenths of a point instead of two-tenths.
"I didn't even know she could do it," Utah coach Greg Marsden said.
Kivisto scored a 9.725 on the floor, and also scored a 9.9 on the uneven bars. Both were career highs.
Riffanacht's injury is starting to worry both Marsden and Riffanacht, since every time she starts to get over it, it catches again.
"It'll be okay, but it's frustrating," Riffanacht said.
In the crowd
Utah's attendance of 14,100 fans was the eighth highest in the program's history, and the largest since a meet against the Cougars in 2002. The crowd included three males who temporarily caught the attention of most in the arena just before Utah went to the floor, as they performed the "Haka," a traditional Polynesian war chant.
The atmosphere was unusual for the Cougars, whose highest attendance was 1,427 fans for their win over Southern Utah.
"It's always loud up here," Jaime Mabray said. "You can look at it two ways. You can either get nervous or go have fun with it."
After Annabeth Eberle scored a 9.9 on the floor, Utah's crowd was ready to see another big score when Gritt Hofmann ended Utah's rotation with a clean routine. However, she got just a 9.875, drawing a hearty chorus of boos from the fans.
"The judging is tough this year, they could have taken off for leg separations or something like that. We'll have to talk to the judges and find out," Marsden said.
BYU's Genevieve Claveau earned a a season best of 9.8 on the uneven bars and Sierra Jacobs tied her season high mark of 9.775 on the vault. Candace Bauer earned a 9.65 on the beam, her season best. . . . The meet was taped and will be broadcast today at 5 p.m. on KJZZ .