Bijak starting to have fun

Utah gymnastics » Senior stays relaxed as she looks for a strong finish to her career.
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After being so uptight and worrying about scores or deductions, Utah senior Daria Bijak decided Friday she was going to relax and simply enjoy one of her final home meets as a Utah gymnast.

In the end, the outlook was exactly what she needed as Bijak scored a 39.425 to win the all-around and lead the No. 9 Utes past No. 11 Nebraska 196.575-195.725.

"All these years I thought I can't wait until my senior year when I was going to be done and my body wouldn't hurt anymore," she said. "Now that it's close I'm getting sad. I only have two more meets so I decided to enjoy every second. I soaked it all in, how I felt and how I saw the fans going crazy."

Her relaxed outlook kept Bijak from getting uptight, even when she took her characteristic step back on her vault and scored a 9.875.

"I want to stick this in front of this crowd," she said. "I keep stepping back because I want it too much."

However, she didn't dwell on the mistake as she often does and went on to score 9.875 on the uneven bars, 9.75 on the balance beam and a 9.925 on the floor.

"Last week I went in really nervous and cautious, especially on beam," she said of the Utes' 195.925-194.375 win over BYU. "Tonight I enjoyed every single second of it."

Utah coach Greg Marsden was as relieved as Bijak was happy with the performance.

"When she doesn't worry about the outcome and has fun she is incredible," he said. "It looks so easy for her. When she is waiting and worrying about scores and placement and that kind of thing, that is when she gets tight and makes mistakes."

Rare occurrence

Jacquelyn Johnson 's fall off the uneven bars was the first of her career. She entered the meet 9-for-9 in her career, including a 7-for-7 streak this season.

Johnson's fall leaves the Utes with three gymnasts who have yet to fall this year. Junior Kyndal Robarts is 34-of-34, sophomore Cortni Beers is 17-of-17 and senior Beth Rizzo is 9-of-9.


Freshman Katelyn Mohr (back) and Beth Rizzo (toe) did not compete. ... Gael Mackie 's sprained ankle has healed enough that she competed in exhibition on the uneven bars...The Utes host No. 6 Oregon State, No. 17 Penn State and No. 20 SUU in a quad meet next Friday.