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Given Kailah Delaney's injury history, one can't blame Utah's gymnastics team for getting a little nervous when her left knee became sore and swollen.
Luckily for the Utes, Delaney checked out Ok and the sophomore should be fine to compete in the Pac-12 Championships on Saturday, much to the Utes' relief.
Delaney sat out the 2013 season while recovering from patella surgery on her right knee in the fall, making the Utes more worried than usual when her left knee showed signs of irritation, but the MRI showed only some mild damage.
"She was feeling much better today and we're optimistic she can get through the season on it," Utah coach Greg Marsden said.
Delaney will be kept out of the floor exercise for precautionary reasons, but should compete on the vault and balance beam, which are the two events in which she is needed most.
Delaney is ranked No. 1 on the vault along with teammate Tory Wilson and has tied her career high of 9.95 five times. She has competed on the floor only three times, earning 9.7, 9.825 and 9.875.
"We can live without her on floor," Marsden said. "It doesn't cost us any tenths, but it would if she couldn't compete the other two events."
The Utes are expected to compete the same floor lineup in the Pac-12s that they used in the season finale when Utah earned a 49.575.
"We are ranked No. 1 on floor, so I'm not worried about that event," Marsden said.
Utah's Georgia Dabritz and Becky Tutka have been experimenting with new balance beam landings in the hopes of making their landings more consistent.
Both are practicing performing an aerial into a back full because it makes for an easier dismount, Dabritz said.
"If you aren't quite right with the routine, you can just get out of it with the dismount," Dabritz said.
Utah co-coach Megan Marsden, who coaches the beam, said the dismounts aren't quite ready for competition, but could be if the Utes want to use them at regionals or nationals.
Switching to the safer dismounts could eliminate the small steps and hops that can add up to big deductions in the postseason.
"It's good to have options," Marsden said. "We don't know if we are going to use them, but we'll see how it goes."
Bad time, good time
While the coaches are upset the Utes are competing in the afternoon session at the Pac-12 Championships, Utah's gymnasts are less concerned.
Wilson said she preferred to compete earlier rather than later so the team doesn't have to sit around all day, while Dabritz said the Utes are accustomed to afternoon sessions since they practice at 1 p.m.
"It will be like a normal practice day for us," she said. "I don't think it's going to make much of a difference for us."
The Utes are competing earlier because Cal, the host school, selected the evening session in which to compete.
Utah is 304-56-4 against Pac-12 teams all-time. … The Utes have hit 225 of 240 routines this season. … Corrie Lothrop (2012 all-around) and Dabritz (2012 uneven bars) are among the return winners for the Pac-12 Championships. Others are UCLA's Olivia Courtney (2012 vault, floor 2013) and Stanford's Amanda Spinner (2013 balance beam).