Athens, Ga. » Utah coach Greg Marsden acknowledged he was putting two of his least experienced gymnasts in difficult spots when he designated freshman Stephanie McAllister and sophomore Gael Mackie as the Utes' leadoff gymnasts on uneven bars and balance beam, respectively, against Georgia on Monday.
Both fell, but rather than yanking them from the lineup, he is leaving them in the rotations, he said after Utah's 197.150-196.725 loss to Georgia.
McAllister's bars routine, for which she earned a 9.275, was the first of her collegiate career, as was Mackie's 9.175 on the beam.
"They need to grow into those positions," he said. "If they make a mistake, we need to put our arm around them and encourage them because they are going to be in those positions."
Marsden said he wasn't interested in moving them out of their spots because he didn't want to shuffle his gymnasts that are deeper in the lineups.
"I have absolute confidence they'll learn to compete in those spots," he said of Mackie and McAllister.
No. 1 vs. No. 2
Georgia's Courtney Kupets and Utah's Kristina Baskett have had a great battle for top honors on the uneven bars since they shared the NCAA title in 2006 as freshmen.
This year, they are ranked No. 1 and No. 2 again, with Kupets in the top spot with a 9.95 average and Baskett behind her with a 9.925 average.
On Monday, Baskett hit her average with a 9.925, but it wasn't enough to beat Kupets, who scored a 9.975.
Baskett said she wasn't paying much attention to what was going on individually.
"It's hard to compare rankings between individuals or teams at this point," she said.
Marsden singled out Jamie Deetscreek for her strong performances as she earned a 39.275 in the all-around and had a 9.825 on the beam after Mackie fell to get the Utes back on track. Deetscreek has been one of Utah's strongest-looking gymnasts in the preseason and is continuing to excel in competition.
"The way she is growing up amazes me," he said. "I amazed at the transition she has made and what has happened with her in a year."
Going for it
Annie DiLuzio originally was scheduled to go fourth on the floor, but the Utes switched her to last so she could attempt her triple twist on her first pass if everyone in front of her hit.
They did, so she was given the green light. She hit the skill and completed her routine strong to earn a 9.9, tying Nina Kim for team highs on the event.
In the rankings
In the latest rankings Utah dropped one spot to No. 3 and Georgia moved up four spots to No. 4 based on its 195.425-194.075 win at LSU.
Kim is ranked No. 1 on the vault with a 9.95 average and Baskett is ranked No. 2 with a 9.925.
The Utes enjoyed a couple extra days to prepare thanks to the Monday meet, but that luxury is gone this week since Washington comes to town Friday. That meet is a "pink out" for the Utes to raise awareness for breast cancer.
1. Florida 196.500
2. UCLA 196.225
3. Utah 196.175
4. Georgia 196.137
5. Oklahoma 196.125
6. Auburn 196.092
7. Stanford 196.025
8. Arkansas 195.850
9. Alabama 195.750
10. Oregon State 195.025
11. LSU 195.008
12. Missouri 194.887
13. Nebraska 194.837
14. Illinois-Champaign 194.725
15. Ohio State 194.687
16. Arizona State 194.475
17. Denver 194.292
18. Iowa State 193.975
19. Michigan 193.958
20. Minnesota 193.950
21. West Virginia 193.887
22. Penn State 193.862
23. Boise State 193.700
24. Northern Illinois 193.450
25. Washington 193.400