Lincoln, Neb. » If Kristina Baskett needed to do more to help Utah's gymnastics team win a national title this weekend, she couldn't do it. She gave her best in the two-day competition, and knowing that made Utah's third-place finish easier to take, she said.
"I'm really glad I was able to do my part for the team; that was one of my biggest worries coming in here, to do my role," she said.
Baskett's career will be highlighted by an incredible run in the all-around competition in recent weeks, as she has scored 39.6 or higher in the last five meets.
At the NCAA Championships, she scored a 39.6 on Thursday to finish second in the all-around and followed up that performance with a 39.625 Friday in the team competition.
Her 9.95 on the vault Thursday was the final score that allowed the Utes to tie UCLA, making it possible for Utah to advance to the Super Six. She earned another 9.95 on the vault Friday and has scored four 9.95s in a row.
Utah coach Greg Marsden and Georgia coach Suzanne Yoculan have had a strong rivalry through the years, one that got too fiery at times, with the two coaches refusing to schedule meets because of disputes. However, the coaches have put aside their differences in recent years and have formed a competitive bond.
While others may believe the Utes' chances of winning are better in the future with Yoculan retiring, Marsden said he was sorry to see her go.
"It has been a roller coaster, but it has been fun," he said. "There is a saying that is something about that you are only as good as your rivals, and I know she consistently challenged us to be better and take it to another level, and I think she is going to be missed more than we know."
Yoculan retires with an 831-117-7 coaching record. Marsden is the sport's winningest coach, with a record of 925-158-5.
The bad news for Nebraska never seemed to stop this season. First, the team failed to qualify for nationals, then its lone individual competitor, Kylie Stone , injured her calf muscle in the days leading up to the NCAA Championships and could only compete on the uneven bars, where she scored a 9.85.
She needed a 9.875 to qualify for today's competition.
Utah and UCLA were the only two teams to place three all-arounders in the Top 20. Baskett was second and Daria Bijak and Nina Kim tied for 11th. ... Friday was the first time five SEC schools have qualified for the Super Six. ... Alabama bested its previous season high by more than two-tenths of a point.