Red Rocks look to push through injuries

By Bryan Chouinard, Staff Writer

Friday night’s meet against UCLA was bittersweet for head coach Greg Marsden and the Red Rocks.

On one hand, Utah knocked off the No. 4 Bruins and junior Jamie Deetscreek won the first all-around competition of her career at Utah.

On the other hand, Utah lost junior Beth Rizzo to a severe ankle sprain, one that will likely keep her out of the lineup for quite some time.

“It’s going to be at least four to six weeks,” Marsden said. “But hopefully we can get (Beth) back somewhere in the middle of the season.”

Like every season, the Red Rocks didn’t start at the level they hope to be at come April, but could pick some positives from allowing UCLA to nearly come back and beat them.

“We did well enough to feel good about ourselves, but made some first meet mistakes that we need to improve on,” Marsden said. “It gave us something to work on not only for next week but for the rest of the season.”

The Red Rocks were already shorthanded because of torn cartilage in sophomore Kyndal Robarts’ shoulder. Robarts injured her shoulder Dec. 16 in voluntary training during Finals Week. The injury held Robarts out of the lineup against UCLA, but Marsden said he hopes that will be the only meet she will have to miss.

“(Kyndal’s shoulder) has progressed a little more quickly than we thought it would,” Marsden said. “Right now she is preparing to do vault. I hope we can have her ready for our meet Monday with Georgia. Right now we’re pretty optimistic.”

Regardless, Friday night’s meet taught Marsden a lot about his team. Even on a night when people were not at their best, they stepped up and did what it took to get the win.

“Physically, we looked really good,” Marsden said. “Saturday after the meet we talked about really focusing on the mental part of it, going in and competing with a little more confidence and getting more aggressive for this meet.”

With a trip to Athens, Ga., awaiting his team this weekend, Marsden knows that injuries are no excuse to feel self-pity and expects his gymnasts to rise to the challenge of taking on the No. 1 team in the country in their own house.

“We need to prepare the same way,” Marsden said. “It just means that we’re thinner and people are going to have to step up and be ready to contribute. It’s what they’re here to do.”

With less than a week to prepare, Marsden will look to some younger faces such as sophomore Gael Mackie and freshman Stephanie McAllister, both of whom were standouts against UCLA.

“Somebody’s bad luck is somebody else’s opportunity,” Marsden said. “That’s how we have to look at it and that’s how they have to look at it. They have to do what they came here to do and that is to compete for Utah.”

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