Go Utes!
Go Utes!
Gymnasts Host Stanford in Top-10 Showdown

The Utes are averaging 14,485 fans a home meet this season.

The Utes are averaging 14,485 fans a home meet this season.

Feb. 18, 2013

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The No. 7 ranked Utah gymnasts (6-1-1, 3-1-1 Pac-12) host No. 10 Stanford (8-2, 3-1 Pac-12) in a key Pac-12 showdown in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Feb. 23. The meet, which will be televised live nationally on the Pac-12 Networks, will start an hour later than usual, at 8 p.m., with team introductions beginning at 7:45 p.m. The announce team is Jim Watson (play by play) and Amanda Borden (color commentary).


Fans are encouraged to be in their seats by 7:45 p.m. this Saturday as the team introductions will start 15 minutes early to accommodate TV ... Saturday's meet marks the first ever Ute gymnastics "blackout" and fans are encouraged to wear black. Official Utah blackout gear can be found at http://shop.utahutes.com ... The Utes are averaging 14,485 fans a meet at home and all three home meets have drawn in excess of 14,000 (14,917, 14,410, 14,129), giving Utah 25 all-time crowds of 14,000 or more ... Utah and Stanford met four times last season with Utah winning three, before Stanford came from behind on the last rotation of the NCAA Super Six last April to finish ahead of the Utes (Stanford finished fourth and Utah fifth) ... Utah's wins last year came in a dual meet, at the Pac-12 Championships (Utah took second and Stanford finished fourth) and in the NCAA Championship semifinals (Utah was second and Stanford was third) ... This is the last week that the rankings will be based on season average. Next week, they'll switch to regional qualifying score (RQS) for the remainder of the regular season.


Sophomore All-American Tory Wilson is the nation's top ranked vaulter for the third straight week and has a 9.954 season average. Wilson has won the vault in all six meets and is believed to be the first Utah gymnast ever to win six-straight vault competitions ... She scored a career-high 10.0 against California on Feb. 9 and had a 9.975 on Feb. 1 vs. Arizona State ... The Utes have won three Pac-12 weekly awards: Georgia Dabritz was the Pac-12 Gymnast of the Week on Jan. 19 and the Specialist of the Week on Feb. 9. Wilson was the Pac-12 Specialist of the Week on Jan. 19 and Feb. 5 ... The Utes are 5-0 at home in three meets (the first was a quad meet) and 1-1-1 on the road ... While the Utes have beaten four Pac-12 schools (Oregon State, Arizona, ASU and California), they have just three conference wins since the OSU win came in a non-conference contest ... Ute individual winners: Dabritz (10), Wilson (8), Corrie Lothrop (3), Nansy Damianova (2), Becky Tutka (2) and Mary Beth Lofgren (1) ... The Utes have completed 135-of-144 routines without a fall. Gymnasts without a fall are Lothrop (15-15), Breanna Hughes (12-12), Tutka (12-12) and Lia Del Priore (9-9).


Coming on strong of late is junior Nansy Damianova, who has scored a 9.875 or better in 5-of-6 routines in the last two weeks ... Freshman Breanna Hughes has moved into the critical first spot on bars and scored a 9.80 last week at Washington to tie for second. Hughes also tied for second on beam with a 9.85 ... Utah has lost two All-Americans to injury: Junior five-time All-American and 2012 Pac-12 all-around champion Lothrop (Achilles surgery) is lost for the season. Doubtful to compete this year after preseason knee surgery is sophomore vault All-American Kailah Delaney.


Last week's tie with Washington was the seventh tie in Utah's 38-year gymnastics history and its first since the Utes tied UCLA in the 2009 NCAA semifinals in Lincoln, Neb. (Utah won the tie breaker and went on to place third in the finals). Three of Utah's ties have come in the regular season: Arizona State (1977) and Washington (2001 and 2013). Four have come at the NCAA Championships: Georgia (1996), Nebraska (1997 and 2001) and UCLA (2009).


Utah slipped one place in the national rankings to seventh this week. Tory Wilson leads the nation on vault (9.954 season average). Also in the top 10 is sophomore Becky Tutka, who is tied for sixth on floor (9.892 average). See page 3 for complete rankings.


The Utes dug themselves out of a huge hole after botching their first event, but only enough to finish in a tie with No. 23 Washington, 195.975-195.975. Reminiscent of 2001, when the final Husky gymnast needed a 10.0 on floor to tie Utah and got it, UW's final floor exercise performer needed a 9.925 this time around for the tie and she got it. Tory Wilson won vault (9.95) and beam (9.875) and Georgia Dabritz won bars (9.825). The Utes clawed back from a .650 first-event deficit after counting a 9.30 on bars, but couldn't build a big enough lead to hold off the Huskies.


(For complete series results, see page 2) ... Utah is 19-5 all-time against the Cardinal and 9-1 in Salt Lake City ... Stanford's win in the Huntsman Center was in 2011.


Coach: Kristen Smyth (12th season)
2012 NCAA Finish: 4th
National Rank: No. 10
2013 Record: 8-2 (3-1 Pac-12)
Season high 197.275 in last week's win over Arizona State (195.250) ... other Pac-12 wins were against Arizona and Cal, and sole confererence loss was to UCLA (196.925-196.200) ... top all-arounders are sophomore All-American Ivana Hong (39.550 best) and senior Ashley Morgan (39.550 best) ... Hong is ranked No. 3 in the country in the all-around (39.550 average) and Morgan is ranked 16th (39.310 average).



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