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SALT LAKE CITY — The fourth-ranked Utah gymnastics team remain undefeated as it beat eighth-ranked UCLA, 196.726-194.725, in its first Pac-12 meet of the season Friday night.
While the Utes were trying to defend their conference championship in front of 14,873 fans, UCLA was seeking to remain undefeated overall and in the Pac-12.
"These have been the two best teams in the Pac-12 for a long time," said Greg Marsden. "It's very exciting for us to win that meet."
The Utes began the night scoring their season-best on the vault (49.450). Kailah Delaney and Tory Wilson earned 9.900s. Georgia Dabritz placed first in the event with a 9.950. Meanwhile, two of the first three Bruins to compete fell on the bars. Their 48.100 start didn't seem promising, especially since they had to count JaNay Honest's 8.750.
Utah continued to compete well, scoring 49.150 on bars. Corrie Lothrop picked up a victory with a 9.900. Dabritz (9.875) and Kassandra Lopez (9.850) helped raise the Utes' score as Breanna Hughes (9.775), Baely Rowe (9.750) and Wilson (9.725) pulled in lower scores.
There were some frustrations with Dabritz's score. One judge gave her a 9.800, the other 9.95. After questioning the huge difference, the low scoring judge explained she counted four deductions.
These have been the two best teams in the Pac-12 for a long time. It's very exciting for us to win that meet." -Greg Marsden
Freshmen Kari Lee (9.900) and Maddy Stover (9.850) had the highest beam scores for Utah. Dabritz and Lothrop were next best, both with 9.825. Lothrop's routine gave the team confidence because she followed Rowe (9.050), who fell in her specialty. The sophomore was under the weather, but thanks to her teammate's high score the missed routine didn't count toward the total score.
"Now that we have the balance beam (issues) of the last season resolved, we shouldn't be counting falls," said Marsden.
Heading into the final rotation, Utah had a 1.100 lead. The Utes ended with the lowest-scoring event of the night (49.000). Dabritz's 9.925 floor routine placed her in first for the event and second in the all-around (39.575). UCLA's Samantha Peszek won the all-around (39.625). Last week the two gymnasts ranked first and second in the all-around, respectively.
This win marks the 13th straight home win for the Red Rocks. Their next home meet is Feb. 6 against Arizona State. They head to Arizona Jan. 31 for their first conference road meet. Start time is set for 4 p.m.