The bad news for Utah's gymnastics team is Kyndal Robarts won't participate in the all-around this season like the coaches had hoped. The good news, which far outweighs the bad, is Robarts will be back in the lineup sooner than expected.
After Robarts looked strong in two exhibition routines on the vault and balance beam Friday, Utah coach Greg Marsden said he plans to use the sophomore Friday when the No. 2 Utes compete at No. 11 Oregon State.
Robarts tore cartilage in her right shoulder in the preseason and was listed as being out indefinitely, but she has healed faster than anticipated and will give the Utes some needed depth. She is tentatively scheduled to compete on the balance beam in place of Gael Mackie and could break into the vaulting lineup, too.
"She demonstrated Friday she is ready to go," Marsden said. "We've gone from being cautiously optimistic to just optimistic because her shoulder is tolerating training and competition well."
Robarts is close to being ready for competition on the floor as well. The one event she won't train is the uneven bars, where she suffered the injury. Marsden doesn't want to risk her hurting it again. As it is, she'll probably have surgery in the offseason to clean up the shoulder so she can compete on the bars in the future.
While admitting she is a little disappointed she won't go in the all-around, Robarts said she's satisfied with being back in the lineup sooner than anyone expected.
She said Utah's schedule, in which the Utes had several extra days off before a Monday meet at Georgia, helped her get in some extra rehab time. She didn't travel with the team to the meet.
"I did a lot of extra catching up and worked out hard when they were gone," she said. "It has been really hard to watch and not be doing stuff so I'm excited to compete."
In the rankings
Utah is ranked No. 1 on the uneven bars with a 49.275 average, third on the vault (49.25), seventh on the balance beam (48.967) and fifth on the floor (49.092).
Individually, Kristina Baskett is No. 8 in the all-around (39.367), third on the vault (9.9) and second on the bars (9.925). Annie DiLuzio is sixth on the floor (9.883).
Marsden said he wasn't concerned about the bobbles the Utes have had on the beam and pointed out he felt the Utes were scored too low on the event at Georgia.
The one change he is expected to make this week is putting Robarts in the leadoff spot to replace Mackie, after Mackie has fallen in the last two meets.
"We really probably had one of our best beam sets we've had in a long time at Georgia," he said. The Utes scored a 48.95. "Gael is struggling a little with that leadoff spot and we have to get that resolved, and Annie had a little trouble, but the rest of the team walked through the set."
Around the nation
Georgia regained the top spot in the rankings this week while UCLA is at No. 3, followed by Stanford and Florida. Marsden said he wasn't surprised that UCLA is doing so well given the talent of its freshmen class. The three swept the all-around in the Bruins' 197.125-190.575 win over Cal, the first time since 2007 the Bruins had reached the 197-plus mark.
Stanford was the surprise to Marsden. "They lost a big senior class, so I didn't know how they'd look, but they look every bit as good as they were last year when they finished third," he said.
The Cougars scored a season-high 190.65 in a loss at San Jose State (192.375) Friday and are off until competing at Utah on Feb. 6. The Cougars are without McKell Poulson-Merkley , who has a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
1. Georgia 196.65
2. Utah 196.58
3. UCLA 196.54
4. Stanford 196.275
5. Florida 196.14
6. Auburn 196.14
7. Oklahoma 196.13
8. Arkansas 196.03
9. Alabama 195.93
10. LSU 195.4
11. Oregon State 195.38
12. Nebraska 195.14
13. Missouri 194.84
14. Ohio State 194.74
15. Illinois-Champaign 194.62
16. Arizona State 194.54
17. Penn State 194.53
18. Iowa State 194.4
19. West Virginia 194.18
20. Michigan 194.18
21. Minnesota 194.11
22. Denver 194.12
23. Northern Illinois 193.9
24. Arizona 193.83
25. Boise State 193.8