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Utah sophomore Kyndal Robarts was worried the shoulder injury she suffered in the preseason would endanger her 2009 season. Those worries are now long gone.
Robarts delivered her best meet of the season Friday, earning a 9.825 on vault, a 9.85 on balance beam and a 9.875 on the floor in the top-ranked Utes' 197.525-195.3 win over No. 15 Michigan.
"It was tough not to be doing anything at the beginning because I worked hard in the preseason," Robarts said. "But I wanted to come back and do well so that was a big motivator. It feels great to be able to help out now, that is the biggest part."
Robarts fell in her only routine a week ago at Nebraska, scoring just 9.275 on the beam. Utah coach Greg Marsden said he wasn't concerned about that mistake, believing it was only a minor technical glitch and not something more concerning. His hunch was right, as Robarts showed Friday.
"That's why she's there," Marsden said of Robarts' job to lead off the beam rotation.
Training all facets
The fact the Utes are in good shape physically with their routines has given them a chance to work on other areas of their competition form, Marsden said. The Utes are spending a lot of time working with their sports psychologist, nutritionist and strength coaches to make sure they have put into this season as much as they can. Marsden called it a "special year," and hinted the Utes didn't want any regrets if they don't win a national title in April.
"We just want to make sure we've done everything we can to have the best possible opportunity," he said.
Utah may have known it had a good chance of beating the Wolverines when they couldn't even handle the introductions Friday -- a Michigan gymnast fell as she ran out onto the floor during team introductions. The Wolverines were able to laugh off the misstep, but not so other mistakes that hurt their performance Friday. Michigan had three falls, including two on the balance beam.
Gael Mackie ended Kristina Baskett 's streak of uneven bars titles at three when she won the event Friday with a 9.925. It was her second individual title of the season. She earned the same score in a tri-meet against BYU, SUU and Texas Woman's on Feb. 6 to tie Baskett and Daria Bijak for honors.