Regular-season finale: Tidd recovers enough to win all-around and lead the Utes past the Cougars
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PROVO - Getting sick in midseason normally isn't a good thing, unless apparently you are a Utah gymnast.
A week after senior Annabeth Eberle had one of her best performances despite a cold that kept her out of practice, sophomore Rachel Tidd returned to the all-around lineup and won it to lead the top-ranked Utes past Brigham Young 197.45-196.825 on Saturday.
Tidd, who competed only on the vault and uneven bars in Utah's last two meets because of a lingering illness, scored a season-high 39.575 to win her second all-around title.
Her last all-around title was against BYU in February when she scored a 39.375. A year ago, she scored a 39.675 against the Cougars for a career high.
"I always get nervous, but I was really nervous tonight because I haven't had a whole bunch of practices," Tidd said.
Utah freshman Ashley Postell, one of the team's top all-arounders, fell on her floor event, ending her streak of 43 routines without a fall.
Tidd scored a 9.95 on the vault, 9.925 on the uneven bars, 9.9 on the balance beam and a 9.8 on the floor.
"We have four great all-arounders," Utah coach Greg Marsden said. "On any given night, it just comes down to who is hot that night."
Tidd hasn't been that hot recently, miserable would be a better way to describe her. Tidd came down with a cold three weeks ago. It turned into an ear infection, then led to some migraine-like headaches.
"It kept getting worse, then I was getting dizzy, I've been on so many drugs lately," Tidd said. "I was getting really frustrated, not able to compete in the all-around the last two weeks."
The illness did have a good side effect. Since Tidd wasn't able to practice, the time off helped her back, which has given her troubles throughout the season.
"It has been day-to-day, but since I haven't been doing anything, it feels good," she said.
"Tonight gives me a lot more confidence."
The meet started out close when BYU received a season-high 49.45 on the vault, the school's third-highest vault score.
Utah scored a 49.375 on the bars to trail the Cougars after the first rotation.
The Cougars' advantage didn't last long, as Utah also got a season high on the vault, scoring a 49.6 with Postell, Tidd and Annabeth Eberle all getting 9.95s.
BYU only scored a 48.725 on the bars, giving Utah a comfortable 98.975-98.175 lead after two rotations.
"I was really pleased with our first two events," Marsden said. "We started strong on bars, and then we had some of our best landings on vault of the year."
BYU's final score was its best of the season. Both teams will find out Monday who they'll compete against in the NCAA Regionals on April 9. Utah will be at home since it is one of the six regional sites.
The top two teams from each region advance to the NCAA Championships in Auburn, Ala.
Normally it is a tense night, but the Utes, who have scored 197 or higher in its last five meets, aren't worried.
"Bring it on," sophomore Nicolle Ford said. "We're going to have our own crowd and our own equipment, we'll be fine."