SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Sports) -The “real” Utah gymnastics team showed up for its home opener Saturday night and blasted three ranked teams before a Huntsman Center crowd of 14,917. The Utes hit all 24 routines without a miss to beat runner-up Oregon State by a point, 196.950-195.950 .West Virginia (192.125) finished third ahead Southern Utah (191.050).
Said sophomore Georgia Dabritz, who won the all-around and three events, “This is how good our team is. I think we proved that we are a Utah gymnastics team tonight.”
Dabritz was referring to last week’s season-opening debacle at UCLA, where three of Utah’s first four gymnasts fell off bars. It was a different story tonight as every team other than Utah counted falls.
Utah coach Greg Marsden liked his entire team’s effort, but reserved special praise for Dabritz after the meet, saying, “Georgia is the real deal. She is big time. The only thing that hurt Georgia in the past was she had a reputation for meltdowns in competition. She was great on three events for us last year, but she lacked confidence on beam. She has worked really hard on her mental approach.”
It showed. Dabritz won the beam with a career-high 9.90 and is 2-for-2 on the event where she fell on her only try a year ago. She also earned a career-high all-around score—a 39.525—to beat OSU’s Makayla Stambaugh (39.425) for the all-around title. Finishing third in the all-around for the second-straight week was junior Corrie Lothrop (39.250).
Tory Wilson won her second vault title in two weeks with a career-tying 9.95, Dabritz won bars (9.90) and beam (9.90), and Lothrop and junior Nansy Damianova tied Dabritz and two others for floor honors with 9.875s.
Utah led the pack from the start, posting a 49.275 on vault. Wilson hit her 9.95 as Utah’s final competitor. Dabritz and Lothrop both scored 9.85s in the set, which featured the first college routine by freshman Taylor Allex, who scored a 9.80. Trailing the Utes after one rotation were West Virginia (48.525), OSU (48.450) and SUU (46.675).
Where Utah showed the most improvement from a week ago was on bars. Kassandra Lopez, scheduled to go all-around against UCLA before injuring her leg the day prior to the meet, returned to the bar lineup and got Utah off to a good start with a 9.775. Despite extremely tight scoring, Utah’s 49.075 was a full point better than against UCLA. After two rotations, Utah had a 98.350, followed by OSU and West Virginia at 97.575 and SUU (48.275).
Lopez, who had to walk instead of jog during pre-meet intros because she still can’t push off her sore calf, said she didn’t think about her injury up on the bars. “I watched how hard it was for the rest of our girls after the first one fell last week at UCLA and I wanted to make sure that didn’t happen tonight,” she said.
Utah’s beam was strong for the second week in a row, even with four new competitors from a year ago. Preceding Dabritz’s 9.90 winner, all with their own personal bests, were Wilson (9.875), Becky Tutka (9.825) and Breanna Hughes (9.875). Utah’s 49.325 on the beam put the Utes a point ahead of Oregon State heading into the last rotation.
On floor, Damianova, Lothrop and Dabritz all scored 9.875s to tie for first and Utah sealed its first win of the young season.
The Utes head to Tucson for a Jan. 25 meet with Arizona before their next home meet on Feb. 1 vs. Arizona State.