Illnesses don’t prevent Red Rocks from rolling over BYU

By By Jon Gilbert

By Jon Gilbert

Updated 2/8 @ 10:30 p.m.

PROVO — Sometimes a win can leave the victor a bit unsatisfied. On Friday night, that was the case for the U gymnastics team.

Utah defeated BYU 196.700-193.925 at the Marriott Center in Provo to improve to 5-0 on the season. Despite beating its archrival and posting a solid score, Utah knows that a performance riddled with minor mistakes need evaluating before the team takes to the mats again.

“I said last week our gymnastics looked easy,” head coach Greg Marsden said. “This week it didn’t look easy.”

The Red Rocks achieved the 10th highest score in school history last week when they trumped Minnesota with a 197.750. This week the Red Rocks looked a little differently. Few landings were stuck by Utah and routines were, for the most part, not concise.

Marsden attributed much of the mistakes to illness. Flu-like symptoms made their way through the team this week. The bug kept Ashley Postell out of the all-around competition-which she has won in all four of Utah’s previous meets-for the first time this season. She competed on the vault and the beam. Postell typically sits out a portion of one meet each season, and she said that Friday will most likely serve as that meet in 2008.

Daria Bijak won the all-around competition for Utah in Postell’s stead with a score of 39.375. Teammate Nina Kim, who came into this week ranked as the top all-around performer in the country, finished second and Kristina Baskett came in third. BYU did not have a gymnast compete in the all-around and has yet to this season.

Bijak felt well throughout the week but began feeling ill leading up to the meet on Friday.

BYU head coach Brad Cattermole said that he would trade Utah his team’s injuries for their sickness.

“It’s frustrating for (the coaching staff) and (the gymnasts) when you can’t go full throttle,” he said.

Senior Cougar Alethea Boon struggled while competing in three events. She sat out of the uneven bars competition due to a nagging wrist injury. Cattermole said that if Boon experiences any pain in her wrist, he does not want to risk re-injury.

Dayna Smart-Allen earned a 9.875 while anchoring the Cougars on the vault. She also scored a 9.80 on the beam in the anchor position. Her performance helped raise BYU to its highest score of the season. The Cougars have improved in each of their three meets.

Regardless of whatever held back each team, neither coach is making excuses or is totally displeased.”Whether you’re sick or hurt, you fight through it,” Cattermole said.

Marsden said that the sickness weaving its way through his squad gave other gymnasts an opportunity to compete and he was happy with the way they responded. Beth Rizzo and Annie DiLuzio got back into the floor exercise. With Postell out, Bijak worked back into the all-around competition for the first time since Jan. 25 against Arizona State. Katie Kivisto competed both the bars and floor exercise marking only the second time all season the senior competed multiple events. Kyndal Robarts competed every event except for bars. She fell on the beam but it did not count against the team. A fall has yet to count against Utah this season.

Despite not improving its overall score for the first time this season, Utah knows there are still a lot of positives to take away from the meet. Even though routines did not reach full potential Friday, the Red Rocks found some bright spots.

“I still think we took a step forward with different girls competing and in the exhibition,” Postell said.

Notes: Utah will remain the nation’s No. 2 program when the fresh rankings are released Monday. No. 1 Georgia stayed strong by defeating North Carolina State, with a score of 196.875. No. 3 Florida scored a 196.35 in their win against Kentucky and No. 4 Alabama posted a 196.775 against Arkansas.

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Tyler Cobb

Katie Kavisto performs an exhibition routine on beam during Utah’s 196.700 – 193.925 win over archrival BYU. Utah fans made it like a mini home meet in Provo’s Marriott Center.

Tyler Cobb

Daria Bijak took home all-around honors with a combined score of 39.375.