Mary Beth Lofgren tied for fifth in the nation on the balance beam. Photo by Anne Marie Jensen.
April 17, 2011
Mary Beth Lofgren and Stephanie McAllister represented the Utah gymnastics team well on the closing day of the NCAA Championships, tying for fifth and 13th respectively, on beam and vault. Lofgren earned a place on the awards' stand with her fifth-place finish.
Lofgren scored a 9.8375 on beam and McAllister averaged a 9.7313 on vault. Lofgren finished her freshman season without a single fall, hitting 41-of-41 routines. McAllister, who set the school record for most routines without a fall (72 from 2010-11) before a spill at regionals, hit 56-of-57 routines this season.
Said Lofgren after her routine in the NCAA Event Championships, "It was different than when we have a big group, but Stephanie and I kept together like it was our own little team. As a freshman, I didn't even know this would even be possible," said Lofgren, who admitted, "I am exhausted after three days of competition."
Coach Megan Marsden was excited about Lofgren's performance. "I was thrilled for M.B. I think she was a little surprised to have this opportunity her first year and she hasn't had a lot of experience with all eyes on her in a big show. I told her to think about the team needing her as the fifth performer up because I sense that M.B. really likes to compete well for them. I don't know if she would feel comfortable doing it just for herself."
The NCAA vault finals require gymnasts to do two different types of vaults. McAllister, like many of the finalists, did not train a second vault during the season, so she resorted to a layout for her second attempt. After scoring a 9.8375 on her first vault, she settled for a 9.7313 average by the time the layout was included in the average.
"Stephanie has been such a rock for us all year. She has really been the leader for us and I'm really happy that she made vault finals, but I know her focus was always on the team," said coach Greg Marsden about McAllister's vault performance.
They qualified into event finals on the first day of the championships, when McAllister tied for third in Utah's semifinal on the vault with a career-tying 9.90 and Lofgren placed fourth in the session on beam with a 9.825.
McAllister and Lofgren are among 10 Utes expected to return next season, including senior All-American Kyndal Robarts, who will apply for a redshirt year after missing all but the first two meets with a knee injury. The Utes, who lose only seniors Jacquelyn Johnson and Gael Mackie from their fifth-place 2011 NCAA team, will add five freshmen to next year's roster. Utah's 15-member roster next year will feature five freshmen, six sophomores, one junior and three seniors.