Lia Del Priore
Feb. 28, 2014
SALT LAKE CITY-- -
The No. 5 Ute gymnasts needed to adjust their starting lineup for their meet with Washington, but still won going away, 197.125-193.475, before a Short People Appreciation crowd of 13,933 in the Huntsman Center. Utah improved its Pac-12-leading record to 9-1 overall and 6-1 in conference play while Washington dropped to 4-7, 0-6 Pac-12.
The first lineup modifications were health related, as three-event starter Kailah Delaney competed only on vault due to strep throat, while a muscle pull kept all-arounder Georgia Dabritz out of the beam lineup.
But it was a modified floor pass that caused the biggest sensation. The Ute coaches moved Tory Wilson to the back of the floor lineup with the understanding that if the five gymnasts ahead of her hit their routines, she would open hers with a full twisting double layout. When everyone preceding her scored a 9.90 or better, Wilson successfully executed the extremely difficult trick before taking a step out of bounds. She is believed to be just the third college gymnast ever to perform a full twisting double back in competition (along with UCLA's Kristen Maloney in 2005 and Penn State's Brandi Personett in 2010).
"She trained it this summer and early the preseason before we took a little break to concentrate on getting her regular routine ready," said Utah coach Greg Marsden of Wilson, who normally opens her floor routine with a double layout. "I kind of kiddingly said, `Are you ever going to do that in competition' and she said `Yeah.' She's been looking really good with it in the gym."
Asked if Wilson would try the trick again this season, Marsden said, "I'd love for her to make floor finals at nationals and do it then."
"I've been playing around with it and wanted to try it this season," said Wilson. "Everyone set me up with 9.90s down the line. It was fun to do and exciting to show people new things to keep them interested."
It was a raucous finish from start to finish on the floor, where Mary Beth Lofgren--a substitute for the ill Delaney--started the set with a career-best 9.90, followed by a 9.95 from Lia Del Priore that brought down a chorus of boos from the crowd in reaction to one judge's 9.90 (the other scored the routine a 10.0). The crowd dissent continued after a 9.925 for Becky Tutka and 9.90s for Dabritz and Nansy Damianova.
The cascade of boos over the scores actually started on the very first event--the vault--where the nation's No. 2 ranked vault team received its lowest score of the year (a 49.325). Marsden shrugged off questions about the low scores, saying, "The scores really affected the crowd more than us. You could just feel the tension in the air. In some meets, judges are going to score tighter and as long as both teams are held to the same standard, you can't be too upset."
Marsden was right that the scores held up, with a Ute winning every event and the all-around. Delaney won her only routine (vault) with a 9.925, Damianova won bars (9.925), Lofgren beam (9.90) and Del Priore floor (9.95). Wilson won the all-around with a 39.025.
The meet was never in doubt after Utah took a 49.325-47.900 lead on the first event. Despite two surprises on bars--a fall by Hailee Hansen (Utah's first fall on the apparatus since the season opener) and Dabritz (9.90) seeing her season-long win streak end at the hands of Damianova (9.925)--Utah expanded is lead to 98.600-96.475 at the halfway point.
Utah's adjusted beam lineup batted .500, with Tutka scoring a 9.80 on her first routine of the season in place of Dabritz, and Breanna Hughes falling as Delaney's substitute. Wilson (9.725), Lofgren (9.90) and Corrie Lothrop (9.825) insured the fall didn't count in the team total.
Up next for Utah is a tri-meet at Michigan next Friday with UCLA. Utah's final home meet is Mar. 15 vs. Georgia.