Utah gymnast Annie DiLuzio no longer dreads the landings on her vaults before she heads down the vault runway. Now, instead of thinking of the pain in her ankles she might feel when she lands, she thinks about sticking her landing.
The different outlook is the result of a different vault.
The junior has switched her vault from a full to a one-and-a-half, which means with the latter she gets to land facing forward.
That kind of landing puts less pressure on her ankles, which in turn causes less pain.
"My body is so much happier," she said.
Her happiness is reflected in the scores. DiLuzio, who started making the switch to the one-and-a-half about midway through the season, has scored 9.95s twice in the last three meets.
She should be one of the favorites to win the West regional vault title Saturday when the Utes compete in the NCAA meet.
DiLuzio is ranked 12th nationally on the vault with a regional qualifying score of 9.9. Her toughest competition in the event likely will come from her own teammates, since senior Kristina Baskett is ranked second (9.94) and senior Nina Kim is ninth (9.91).
DiLuzio is no stranger to success on the vault. As a freshman in 2007, she earned All-American honors and finished second on the event.
However, the power she had often made her landings inconsistent and the landings aggravated her left ankle.
Switching vaults to one that is normally more difficult has had an opposite effect with DiLuzio, who has been more consistent lately.
"She is being rewarded for her efforts now," Utah coach Greg Marsden said. "She is capable of so much power, but now she is using it instead of always taking a step."
Kim has upgraded her floor routine's third pass to a rudy punch front layout that will give her a three-tenths bonus. Plans are for her to use it at regionals and nationals, Marsden said.
"We're going to use the same lineup, but we're still working on things and might up to nationals," he said.
The Utes left for Seattle on Thursday and will go through a light workout today to prepare for Saturday's meet. Marsden said the team will go through workouts on the uneven bars and balance beam similar to that of a pre-meet warm-up and will go lighter on the floor.
"We just want to make sure they are comfortable on the surface," he said.
At the University of Washington
Saturday, 7 p.m.