Rocks earn nation-high score

By Bryan Chouinard, Staff Writer

The No. 1 Red Rocks have built a résumé that has made them the team to beat heading into the post season. Friday night, they added the cement.

Utah turned in the highest overall score in the nation this year, beating No. 15 Michigan 197.525 to 195.350 in the Huntsman Center. Fueling the nation’s highest overall score of the season was a four-way race for the all-around title between the Red Rocks.

“This is the deepest, smallest team I have had in a long time,” said head coach Greg Marsden.

Going into the final rotation, the meet was not in question, but the all-around was still up for grabs. Only .025 separated Utah seniors Kristina Baskett and Nina Kim for the all-around title. In the end, it was Baskett who clinched her fourth all-around title of the season with a 39.6758212;just .025 off her career-best 39.7. She tied her career best of 9.925 on the floor. For the second time this season, Baskett managed to score at least a 9.9 on each of the four events, for her best all-around score of the season.

“I just felt good about my routines,” Baskett said. “It’s just what I have been doing in practice so it was good to see them very similar from training to competition.”

Kim, who is fresh off the first all-around title of her career, posted a 39.475, her second highest all-around performance of the year.

Utah’s depth was showcased, not only by the four all-arounders (Baskett, Kim, Jamie Deetscreek and Daria Bijak) but by the role players as well.

Sophomore Kyndal Robarts participated in three of the four events8212;vault, beam and floor8212;for just the second time this season. After coming back from a preseason shoulder injury, Robarts continued her success on the beam with her second highest score of the season on the event, posting a 9.850.

“It was tough,” Robarts said. “Especially ’cause we all worked so hard in the preseason, so to have an injury like that right before the season was hard. But it was really motivating.”

Robarts has been crucial to Utah’s recent success on the beam, leading the Red Rocks on the event since her return to the lineup. She has helped solidify Utah’s national championship hopes on Utah’s lowest average scoring event.

“Beam won’t exactly win you a championship,” Marsden said. “But it sure can lose you one real quick.”

Robarts wasn’t the only sophomore who shined Friday night. Gael Mackie didn’t participate in the all-around, but had one of her strongest meets of the season8212;setting a career high on beam with a 9.8 as well as tying a career high on bars with a 9.925.

“This is only my second season,” Mackie said. “Last year I was only doing two events, now this year I’ve done four, so it was a big step, but I just keep trying to progress.”

Progression has been a theme throughout the season for Utah this year. It’s something Marsden knows must continue, even after the performance on Friday night.

“There’s a different feeling of common purpose,” Marsden said. “This is already a special year, but it could get even more special if we stay focused and don’t take anything for granted.”

After shattering their season high team score and not counting a fall in competition or exhibition8212;going a perfect 30-for-30 on the night8212;the Red Rocks earned themselves the weekend off before the off week.

“I’m going to give them a couple of days off,” Marsden said. “But then we’re going to have a pretty serious talk on Monday. We have about a month left in the regular season and as good as this was, there are still places judges are making deductions.”

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Erik Daenitz

Kristina Baskett scored a 39.675 in the all-around Friday night in the meet against Michigan. The Red Rocks 197.525 overall score is highest overall score in the nation this season.