Annabeth Eberle won the all-around and tied for first on the beam.
Feb. 25, 2005
ATHENS, Ga. -
The No. 4 ranked Utah gymnastics team mounted a frenetic comeback after falling behind No. 8 ranked Georgia by over a half a point on the first event. But in the end, the Utes came up just short for the second straight week, falling 197.275-197.150 to a Georgia team that shattered its previous season best by nearly a point.
Despite its best road score and "best meet" of the season, Utah head coach Greg Marsden expressed outrage over the outcome. "I couldn't be prouder than the job our team did tonight. We got stronger and stronger as the meet went on. The only place we gave away a little was on bars, but after that it was our best meet of the year. In my way of thinking, we were winners tonight. We just weren't wearing the right leotard to the judges." Even so, Marsden said, "This was still really fun tonight."
Faced with an almost insurmountable 49.475-48.975 deficit after one event, it seemed Utah would need the Bulldogs to count a fall--as they did in the preceding five meets--to make things close. Instead, Utah clawed back without benefit of such an assist.
Utah closed to within a tenth of a point, 147.700-147.600, heading into the final event. While the crowd of 8,172 roared for the Bulldogs on floor, Utah's workers were hammering the beam into submission, scoring a season-best 49.550. But Georgia counteracted with a 49.575 on the floor in a finish that left Marsden fuming. With the meet still in doubt, closer Ashley Kupets landed her final double back low to the floor and stumbled forward to keep upright. She received a 9.925 despite the obvious gaffe. A similar event occurred an event earlier on the balance beam, where Georgia's first performer fell and its sixth competitor flailed mightily to stay on the beam--bending completely over the apparatus before regaining her balance--yet scored a 9.675.
Scoring aside, Marsden was thrilled about the about face his team made from a lackluster performance at Nebarska five days earlier. Utah's four all-arounders were sensational, all of them placing in the top two, including ties. Senior Annabeth Eberle fired out her best effort of the year to win it with a 39.575. Tied for second with Georgia's Kupets were Nicolle Ford, Rachel Tidd, all with a 39.425. Close behind was Ashley Postell (39.400).