Ute Gymnasts Fall Apart On Floor In Loss To Georgia

Ute Gymnasts Fall Apart On Floor In Loss To Georgia

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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ATHENS, Ga. - Despite their 7-0 record entering their showdown with No. 2 Georgia, the Utah gymnasts had been living on the edge all year. They finally fell off in a 196.850-195.475 loss before 9,604 spectators in Stegeman Coliseum.

Afterward the crash landing, head coach Greg Marsden shouldered the blame. "If you want to blame the athletes, go ahead, but I make the decisions on what we do in meets. Do I regret being so aggressive on the floor? Well, I'm looking at the big picture and we need to get those upgrades in under competitive circumstances like these." Marsden continued, "I still think we're a good team. We just haven't shown it in competition yet. If we had hit our floor, we would have been right in there in. We did a relatively good job on the other three events, and actually looked a bit better on the balance beam than we have lately."

Several gymnasts unveiled upgrades on the floor exercise, but few succeeded. A classic example was Annie DiLuzio, who nailed an Arabian double front on her first pass, but encountered problems soon thereafter, including a step out of bounds. Only Kristina Baskett, who tied for first on the floor with a 9.90, and lead-off Beth Rizzo (9.775), hit their routines cleanly. Nicolle Ford fell doing her double layout and Ashley Postell left out some elements and was tagged with a 9.45 score. DiLuzio managed just a 9.55 and Daria Bijak, who showed a big improvement from the week before when she fell twice against Utah State, scored only a 9.625. Utah's 48.30 floor score was by far its poorest of the season on that event, where the Utes entered the meet ranked fourth in the nation with a 49.10 average.

It looked like they would fare just as poorly on the beam, when lead-off Jessica Duke fell. But the remainder of the lineup rebounded nicely from their disastrous floor - especially Ford (9.85) and Postell (9.825). Baskett also scored a 9.825 on the beam.

The Utes hung within striking distance on the first two events, before their collapse on the floor. They opened with a respectable 49.025 score on the bars, even without Baskett's normally big contribution. The NCAA co-champion on the uneven bars fell, but Postell (9.90) and Ford (9.875) came up big. In a solid 49.25 vault set, Baskett led the way with a 9.90, while Ford contributed a 9.875 and Postell a 9.85.

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