Utah Gymnastics Notes: No surprises in Ann Arbor
SATURDAY, Ann Arbor, Mich., 4 p.m., MDT
Gymnastics fans know the athletes like the equipment to be as perfect as possible before they depend on it to safely perform their acrobatic moves.
One advantage to going to Ann Arbor, Mich., for Saturday's NCAA regional competition is the Utes competed there this year, and are familiar with the equipment. Equipment can vary from gym to gym, depending on its quality or age. Brigham Young's floor, which has more bounce than Utah's, historically gives the Utes problems. Utah starts on the floor Saturday.
"The biggest thing are the floors," Utah freshman Kristina Baskett said. "Sometimes they can feel different or the bars or beam can seem a little bouncy. I'm glad we've been there, and we didn't have any issues with their equipment."
Utah will practice on the equipment Friday before Saturday's competition. The Utes, based on their win at Michigan, don't expect they'll have to make many adjustments.
"We know what it's like and there won't be any surprises," sophomore Ashley Postell said. "That's one of the nice things about going to a place where you've already been."
Baskett was roaming around the gym before Wednesday's practice with a heating pad on her lower back. She jammed her lower back when she landed one of her tumbling passes in practice Sunday.
"It's feeling a lot better," she said. "I knew it wasn't one of those, 'Oh no, I'm done,' when I did it, but it is in the back of my mind and is a little distracting."
Baskett said she could compete on any event Utah coach Greg Marsden wanted.
"I just can't let myself have another bad landing again," she said.
A hairline fracture in Jessica Duke's left hand the sophomore sustained a week ago shouldn't prevent her from competing on the bars and vault, Marsden said.
The swelling in the front of Gabi Onodi's lower leg is more troublesome, both Onodi and Marsden said.
"It's improving, slowly," Onodi said. "A couple days ago it was seriously painful to walk."
Marsden will use either Onodi or Dominique D'Oliveira as the leadoff on bars. Onodi competed just once on the bars, scoring a 9.45 against Oregon State when she couldn't perform her dismount because her grip came off.
D'Oliveira has competed on the bars four times, including the last two meets. Her season high is a 9.775, and she is likely to earn the spot based on her strong practices, Marsden said.
"I could change my mind Friday after practice," he said. "Of course, I could change it Saturday, too, before the meet. I could change a lot of things."