Utah gymnastics: Utes end season with season best

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Georgia, Stanford, Alabama and all those other teams hoping to win the NCAA gymnastics national title take note, the Utah Utes are ready for you.

The Utes said as much Friday as they ended the regular season with a season high score in a 197.800-192.725 win over BYU Friday in the Marriott Center.

The only team that has scored higher this season was Georgia, which notched a 198.200 at home against Florida on Feb. 28. The top-ranked Dogs and other teams in conferences that sponsor gymnastics hold their conference championships tonight.

All of the teams, including the Utes (12-1), find out where they'll go for their April 4 regional competitions on Monday.

The Utes can use the down time to replay and enjoy Friday's accomplishment in which they put together their most complete effort of the year.

"To come here in a meet we usually struggle with at the end of the season, it shows how mentally strong we are and all the work we've done," said senior Kristina Baskett, who won the all-around with a 39.65. "But you can see we are physically ready too. It was a good night."

With BYU (4-15) struggling because of a rash of season-ending injuries and no seniors to honor in the season finale, the night was really the Utes' to enjoy.

They did from the start, scoring a 49.375 on bars for one of their better scores of the season followed by a season-high 49.55 on the vault.

By the time the Utes got to floor, they said they could sense it was shaping up to be a great night. The good vibes allowed them to relax even more and the result was another season high 49.6.

"I can always point to steps on vault and things like that," Utah coach Greg Marsden said. "But we were doing big vaults. I don't think anybody can compete better compositionally on vault and floor better than we are."

The Utes have struggled in the past when the regular season has ended here as they've often looked past the Cougars to the post-season. There was none of that Friday and after a few small deductions on the uneven bars the Utes found their rhythm and looked stronger and stronger.

Baskett waved off the few errors on balance beam where the Utes ended the night because they were minor breaks.

"Greg kept telling us to 'Be ready, be ready,' but we knew we were going to be ready," she said. "We know we are headed into the post-season and we wanted a great score to go out on."

The Utes went into the meet with the post-season in mind, cutting out their exhibition teams and going through warmup routines much like they plan to for the final meets. Now they can only hope to replicate or even improve on Friday's performance in the biggest meets of the season. They set quite a bar to aim for as the Utes didn't have a fall and the lowest scores that counted were 9.825s.

"We have a lot of confidence going into the post-season," Marsden said. "That will be my challenge in the next couple weeks, to make sure they don't take anything for granted."



In brief » The Utes end the season with a season high to extend their winning streak to 26 meets against the Cougars.

Key moment » The Utes score a season-best 49.55 on the vault, capped by a 9.95 from Kristina Baskett.

Key stat » Kristina Baskett earns a 9.925 on the bars, finishing the regular season scoring 9.9 or higher in 10 out of 11 meets.

Individual winners

Vault » Nina Kim (Utah) and Kristina Baskett (Utah) 9.95

Uneven bars » Kristina Baskett (Utah) 9.925

Balance beam » Kyndal Robarts (Utah) and Nina Kim (Utah) 9.9

Floor » Annie DiLuzio (Utah) 9.975

All-Around » Kristina Baskett (Utah) 39.65

Utah career highs set or tied Friday

Vault » Daria Bijak, 9.9 (tied); Nina Kim 9.95 (tied)

Uneven bars » Gael Mackie 9.875

Balance beam » Kyndal Robarts 9.9

Floor » Annie DiLuzio 9.975, Kristina Baskett 9.95, Daria Bijak 9.925

Team » 49.55 vault, 49.6 floor