Utah gymnastics: Utes' confidence on upswing

Victory over Iowa State gives team momentum as Georgia's visit nears.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2010, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Just like last week, Utah's gymnastics team got back to work Monday knowing it needs to make a lot of improvement to be the kind of team it wants to be.

But unlike last week, the Utes have something going for them as they prepare for their showdown against rival Georgia -- confidence.

The Utes, who realized just how far behind they were with their loss to UCLA, at least now feel they are on the right track following Friday's 196.35-195.35 win over Iowa State.

The meet was close, but the Utes never counted a fall and teammates covered for others in the lineup after mistakes were made. Knowing they can do that and avoid meltdowns through a lineup is just as valuable as a win, the Utes said.

The victory over the Cyclones allowed the Utes to avoid their first 0-2 start in the program's history.

"It was really good for our mental frame of mind," Utah senior Jamie Deetscreek said. "We took a huge step."

Georgia, the five-time defending national champion, comes into Friday's meet after a rare loss. The Gym Dogs fell at Alabama 196.275-195.5 last week, snapping a 13-meet regular-season winning streak.

Suzanne Yoculan , who had many battles with Utah coach Greg Marsden , retired after the 2009 season, leaving the program in the hands of longtime assistant Jay Clark .

However, the rivalry is still a big one for the Utes.

"I don't see how it can't be," Utah co-head coach Megan Marsden said. "I understand the head coach is gone and now there is a new head coach but it doesn't change the history with our programs, and the athletes we have been through too much with that program for the rivalry to just go away."

Rankings update

After falling out of the Top 10 last week for the first time since the program started tracking the polls in 1984, the Utes moved back into the polls at No. 6. Georgia, the No. 1 team in the preseason, remained at No. 10. Nebraska fell the furthest this week, from No. 3 to No. 9. UCLA kept up its high marks with a 196.125-194.875 win over Washington to remain No. 1.

Backing off

Marsden didn't hide the fact he pushed his team hard in practice last week after its disappointing loss at UCLA. He won't do it again in preparation for Georgia, although he said the Utes need all the practice time they can get.

"We can't continue to do that," he said. "I don't care who is coming in to town. We can't push them like I did."


Deetscreek sang the national anthem before Saturday's women's basketball game against UNLV. ... Kyndal Robarts is tied for 10th in the all-around (39.15) and on vault (9.8875) and is tied for eighth on the balance beam (9.85). Deetscreek is tied for 10th on the uneven bars (9.862). ... Annie DiLuzio is tied for first on the floor (9.912) and Daria Bijak is tied for ninth (9.875).

State update » Utah State visits SUU on Friday, and BYU is at Denver on Saturday. SUU opened the season with a 194.1-193.05 win over the Cougars. The Aggies have had a rough start, falling 192.875-187.275 at Central Michigan and scoring 191.65 to finish third at the New Hampshire Invitational.


Gymnastics rankings

Ranking, school, average, previous ranking

1. UCLA 196.362 (1)

2. Oklahoma 196.275 (2)

3. Alabama 195.962 (4)

4. Florida 195.925 (8)

5. Oregon State 195.875 (5)

6. Utah 195.712 (11)

7. Arkansas 195.662 (7)

8. Stanford 195.537 (12)

9. Nebraska 195.45 (3)

10. Georgia 195.325 (10)