Gymnastics Notes: Utes unfazed by losses to top foes

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For Utah's second-ranked gymnastics team, what do losses to top-ranked Georgia and No. 3 Florida mean?

Hopefully, in the eyes of the Utes, not much.

Utah, preparing for its final meet of the regular season on Friday against Brigham Young, still considers itself a national contender, even if it hasn't beaten the other top two teams in the current rankings.

Utah stayed in second Monday behind Georgia and just 0.8 points ahead of Florida, which it lost to 197.325-196.675 on Friday.

"We've just got to be a little sharper, it's as simple as that," Utah coach Greg Marsden said. "The Georgia meet could have gone either way and Florida was just at their best. I don't think they've had a better meet all year."

Utah's lack of depth is an issue; the Utes can't afford anymore season-ending injuries. But Marsden believes the Utes have as good a shot at the national title as several other teams, never mind the losses.

"We're strong, and so is Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Stanford," he said. "UCLA will show up in the postseason, too, and you can't count out Michigan. It's really going to come down to who is good that night."

Even though Nicolle Ford fell on the floor, Friday's meet was the first time the Utes didn't have to count a fall. Ford was trying out a new floor pass, and upgrades could come on the same event from Nina Kim and Kristina Baskett on Friday. Both freshmen are also working new vault routines.

Rare appearance

Dominque D'Oliveira led off Utah's beam rotation and scored 9.775 in just her third appearance in the lineup this year.

Despite how infrequently she competes, D'Oliveira said she isn't desperate to get into the lineup more.

"This is my last year ever to do gymnastics, and I have a totally different perspective," the senior said. "I want to have fun and do my best, but if I'm not in the lineup, I'll help the team out in other ways."

WAC championships

Utah State plays host to the Western Athletic Conference Championships on Saturday at 2 p.m. The Aggies have suffered through a miserable season, going 5-14 overall and 0-8 against WAC opponents. The other WAC teams are Boise State, San Jose State and affiliates Cal State Fullerton, Sacramento State and Southern Utah. SUU, which competed in three meets last week, is the favorite.

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