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Short in lineups due to injuries, the Utes had no choice but to use Tory Wilson in the all-around last season. Now she has made it so they can't afford to take her out.
Wilson is ranked 12th nationally in the all-around with a 39.445 average, but is the highest-ranked gymnast in the Pac-12, making her one of the favorites for the all-around title at the Pac-12 Championships.
Wilson is also ranked first on vault (along with teammate Kailah Delaney) with a 9.945 average, but being in the all-around brings a certain amount of pride, Wilson admitted.
"It's something that only the elite gymnasts did in the past, so it's fun to compete against them and see where I match up," she said.
Wilson isn't feeling like the hands-down favorite, since there are several gymnasts who are talented in the all-around but haven't competed enough to be ranked. Among those are teammate Georgia Dabritz and UCLA's Samantha Peszek, who has earned 39.65 and 39.7 in the all-around the last two meets.
Wilson's season high is a 39.6 she earned against Arizona.
"I'm proud to be where I'm at, but I'm not letting it get to my head," Wilson said. "I'm just going to do the best I can and hope it goes well."
That is the same philosophy she used last year when the Utes lost Corrie Lothrop for the season and needed Wilson to fill in on the uneven bars.
She did well enough to place fourth in the all-around at the Pac-12s and third at the NCAA regionals.
This year, she has remained in the all-around, despite the coaches' doubts at the beginning of the season.
"This year, when we were talking in the preseason, we didn't know if she was going to be in the bars lineup, but she went out there as if to prove to us she was going to be there," Utah co-coach Megan Marsden said. "It was like she said, 'You want to bet?' She is a competitor and she isn't going to back away from anything."
While the team award remains the most important, the Utes know winning the all-around is a unique distinction, too.
In 2012, Lothrop became the first athlete from Utah to win a Pac-12 title when she won the all-around.
"It's a select group of athletes who can compete on all four events," Marsden said. "When Corrie won that, it was a big honor for us and we used that a lot and having Tory in there now is great because it's such a select group."
Pac-12's top all-arounders
Tory Wilson (Utah) • 39.445
Chelsea Tang (OSU • 39.305
Alicia Asturias (Cal) • 39.27
Kristina Vaculik (Stanford) • 39.265
Aliza Vaccher (Wash.) • 39.18
About Tory Wilson
Ht • 5-foot-2
Class • Junior
From • Albuquerque, N.M.
Noteworthy • Three-time vault All-American is ranked No. 1 on the event this year. … Finished fourth in the all-around at the Pac-12 Championships in 2013. … The 2013 North Central Region Gymnast of the year. … All-around season high is 39.6.