Red Rock rout: U gymnasts recover to win quad meet

During the week, U gymnasticscoach Greg Marsdenstressed the importance of agood start for the Red Rocks.The Utes lived up to the coach’swords, exploding out of the gateFriday night.The Red Rocks carried theenergy throughout the entiremeet, as they defeated Florida,Cal and Stanford in a quadrangularmeet with a stellar scoreof 197.425.Florida came in second witha score of 196.450, Stanford inthird at 196.025 and Cal pulledup the rear with a score of191.500.If this was a preview of theNational Championships, thenU coach Greg Marsden has tobe pleased with the way histeam performed in the meet.”It was good,” Marsden said.”We made a mistake on barsand beam. I was proud of thefact they didn’t get tentativeand still aggressive on their routines.In the past they haven’tdone that.”With four teams competing atonce, the atmosphere was morelike a postseason event, and theUtes did not have a problemwith it at all.”It goes a lot faster since youdon’t have to wait for the othergymnasts to go,” U senior gymnastAnnabeth Eberle said.The Utes had the event winnerin all four events and theall-around winner in NicolleFord with a score of 39.625.Ford was sick all week andonly practiced two days butsaid the “adrenaline carried methrough.”The quad meet might not bea good indicator of the postseason,with the Utes on theirhome fl oor, but nevertheless,the Utes performed one of theirbest meets of the season. It allstarted on the vault.Three Utes scored at leasta 9.900 and another scored a9.875.Eberle had a huge vault andscored a 10.0 from one judge,but the other gave her a 9.95,which left her with a 9.975.Nicolle Ford scored a 9.9 andAshley Postell matched herscore with another 9.9.Rachel Tidd scored a solid9.875and the Utesasateamscoreda49.275onthevault,thesecond-highesteventscore of the night.”Ithinkit’simportantbecauseit’sgoodtohavetheedge on every team whenwestart out and then it takes thepressureoffaswegoalong.Ifwestartoffslowwegetalittle tight,” Eberle said.”Whenyoustartstrongthereisjustagoodfeeling,and you can kind ofbuild onthat,” Marsden said.TheUtesdidn’tseemtightinanyeventandthestrongstartmayhavebeenintegralin the team’s looseness.TheUteshadasolidbarset,justnotasgoodofaneventscoreastheyhadonthevault.FreshmanKatieKivistohadanuncharacteristicfall offofthebars.Herscorewouldbedropped,whileanotherfreshman,JessicaDuke, had a solid 9.75.Fordscored another 9.900,whileTiddwontheeventwith a 9.925.Aftertwoevents,theUteshadaclearadvantageandseemedtohaveagrasponthe victory.Buttheypushedtheleadoutevenfurther after agoodscoreonthe beamof49.250.AlthoughTiddhadanearfallandonlyscoreda9.35along with two 9.8s, the Utesmadeup for the lower scoreswitha9.9byFordandtheevent-winningscoreof9.925by Postell.As strong as the Utes startedthemeet,theyfinishedevenstrongerwiththetopeventscoreofthenightof49.525. Four of thefive Ute countedscoreswereatleastata9.9.TiddandPostellscored9.9s,whileFordscoreda9.925.GrittHofmannhadverystrongroutine,asonejudge gave her a 10.0 and theother a 9.95.Eberlestruggledwithhernewly upgraded routine andhad a fall. She scored a 9.575,butitwasinconsequentialas it didn’t count in the Utesfinal tally.”Annabethwantedtoupgrade,andIputherlastonfloorsoifwewerecleanthereshecouldgoaheadandgiveitatrytonight,”Marsdensaid,”Shereallyhandleditprettygood.Sheover-rotatedthedoublepike,butbelieveme,thatisa good thing and a good signfor her first time out. It givesmemuchmoreconfidencein her handling it.”TheUteswillnowfaceseveralPac-10teamsduringthenexttwoweeksintheHuntsmanCenter,astheybattleWashingtonandArizonaState before closing outtheregularseasonagainstBYU in [email protected]