Utah's gymnastics team kept its promise. Spurred by its disappointing season-opening loss at UCLA a week ago, the No. 11 Utes brought the intensity that was lacking in the first meet to the floor Friday just as they said they would do.
The result was a 196.3-195.35 win over Iowa State in front of 12,605 at the Huntsman Center.
While the Utes still aren't where they want to be, the home opener was much more satisfying than their 196.6-195.125 loss to the Bruins.
Good thing the Utes were better, because No. 21 Iowa State proved to be a tough foe, never trailing the Utes by more than a couple tenths of a points. If the Utes had counted a fall, they would have been in danger of losing their second meet in a row, something that hasn't happened since the 2007 season. The Utes have never started a season with two losses.
Utah led the Cyclones 147.025-146.65 going into the final rotation.
Things got a little tense when Stephanie McAllister, the leadoff gymnast on the floor, fell and scored just a 9.175.
The Utes prevented an upset as the rest of the lineup competed without any major breaks, earning a 49.275.
Meanwhile, the Cyclones struggled on the balance beam, scoring a 48.7, a low score that made the outcome seem easier than it was.
"I was really impressed with the way they not only performed, but how they did it in a difficult environment that a lot of teams don't do well in," Utah coach Greg Marsden said of the Cyclones. "About halfway through the meet, I thought I was going to be too impressed with Iowa State."
Marsden wasn't in such a humorous mood last week after the Utes lost in Los Angeles.
That disappointing start showed just how much work the Utes had to do -- work that began with a rigorous week of practice.
The Utes worked from 1:30-5:30 p.m. every day -- about an hour longer than normal -- and loaded up on conditioning as well as their routines.
"It was very, very intense," senior Annie DiLuzio said.
"As much as we hated this week of practice, it paid off," said all-around winner Jamie Deetscreek. "We came in more prepared and more focused."
Marsden said he told the team Friday's meet was a "freebie," and that he would understand if they came out flat because they were tired from the workouts.
"You don't experience what we did at UCLA and look at yourself in the mirror and think you can do less and get better," he said. "We had to raise the intensity. Whether I took that over the top -- I probably did a little bit -- but I'm proud of the way they responded."
Marsden said all he asked of the team was to be aggressive. They were strong from the start, scoring a 49.175 on the vault.
Mistakes were made, but overall, there were gains. Most encouraging is the miscues didn't lead to any meltdowns, Marsden said.
"On every event other than vault, there was an opportunity for us to go into the tank, and we didn't do that," he said. "We had mistakes early in the lineup and had to stay mentally strong, and we did."
Things don't get any easier for the Utes next week with five-time defending champion Georgia visiting, but the Utes need the competition, Marsden said.
"UCLA was good; believe me, that was tough to get spanked, but it sent a message to the team and coaching staff," Marsden said. "It clearly defined what we have to do. It helped even tonight, and we know Georgia is going to be a tough opponent. They always are. We need to measure ourselves this way."
All-around: Jamie Deetscreek, Utah, 39.425
Vault: Kyndal Robarts, Utah, 9.925
Uneven bars: Jamie Deetscreek, Utah, 9.875
Balance beam: Jamie Deetscreek, Utah, 9.9
Floor: Annie DiLuzio, Utah, 9.95
IN SHORT » Utah's Jamie Deetscreek wins the all-around, and the Utes rebound from their season-opening loss at UCLA to beat Iowa State at home, avoiding their first 0-2 start.