Utah gymnasts hoping to change direction this week
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For the last two weeks Utah's gymnastics team has been going backward in the opinion of coach Greg Marsden . On Friday, the Utes (5-2) hope they can move in the right direction again when they compete in the not so unfriendly confines of BYU.

While it's an away meet, Utah normally has more fans in the Marriott Center than the Cougars (2-7) making the atmosphere welcome. The added motivation of competing against their rival might be just what they need to break out of their current slump too, the gymnasts say.

The Utes are coming off a season-low 195.725-195.1 loss at Michigan.

"We know we have stuff to work on and we have to get back in and re-focus," senior Annie DiLuzio said. "The focus is definitely on us and what we need to do as a team and work for what we want."

Just over the halfway mark of the season, the Utes aren't quite in panic mode. However, things do need to improve if the Utes are to be a contender at the NCAA Championships in April.

"It's the middle of the season and we're at that moment where it's not quite close enough to the end, but you've been doing it a while too and sometimes there is a lull," co-coach Megan Marsden said. "We have to find a way to motivate each week and get better."

The Utes were expecting a difficult contest at Michigan, given their history there and the low scores they've seen consistently being registered in Ann Arbor, so they aren't getting too caught up in the score itself.

"The score looks like the absolute horrible thing," Megan Marsden said. "But when we watch the video that wasn't the case. A few things hurt, but a lot of others didn't do that poor of a job and had some pretty nice routines."

Giving space

Utah's coaches were surprised that senior Jamie Deetscreek struggled so much at Michigan because she is known for her consistency. Deetscreek had several issues on bars and scored just 8.05 to go with a 9.7 on the vault.

She was pulled from the final two events when it became clear she wasn't in the right frame of mind.

The Utes aren't making a big deal of the meltdown, hoping it was an isolated incident.

"She was the last up on bars and supposed to be our big wig and when you have a performance like that that is so far from expectations, it can take you down," Megan Marsden said. "I wish she could have finished things off with a bang so she could redeem herself and it not be that devastating but now she has to wait a week which is a long time, but we'll help her through."

Injury report

Utah's Gael Mackie is expected to miss her third straight meet Friday when the Utes compete at BYU due to a sprained ankle. ... Freshman Katelyn Mohr , who injured her back during Friday's warmups at Michigan, will also miss the meet.

Although Mohr has competed just three times this year, her injury is more of a concern than Mackie's long-term because of her history of back problems. She came to the Utes with stress fractures in her back which limited some of her training.

"We thought things were going well so it's frustrating," Megan Marsden said. "We're still hoping for the best."

lwodraska@sltrib.com

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