Gymnastics: Red Rocks outlast, win quad meet

Utah+Red+Rocks+take+the+win+over+Boise+State%2C+BYU+and+SUU+at+their+opening+meet+on+Jan.+11+at+the+Huntsman+Center.+Photo+by+Brent+Uberty.

Brent Uberty

Utah Red Rocks take the win over Boise State, BYU and SUU at their opening meet on Jan. 11 at the Huntsman Center. Photo by Brent Uberty.

Utah Red Rocks take the win over Boise State, BYU and SUU at their opening meet on Jan. 11 at the Huntsman Center. Photo by Brent Uberty.
Utah Red Rocks take the win over Boise State, BYU and SUU at their opening meet on Jan. 11 at the Huntsman Center. Photo by Brent Uberty.
No one would have given the Red Rocks a perfect 10 for their efforts in Saturday’s season opener, but in the end they pieced together a positive result.

No. 6 Utah started off the 2014 campaign with a win in a quad meet against No. 23 Boise State, BYU and SUU. The Red Rocks tallied a score of 196.650.

“It’s the first meet of the year, and I saw some good things,” co-head coach Greg Marsden said. “The first meet, you just don’t know what to expect. I saw some good things, but definitely some things we need to work on as well.”

The main area of struggle for Utah on Saturday was on bars. In her first official meet back from injury, Corrie Lothrop took a fall on her routine, which was followed by a fall from Nansy Damianova.

“Well, at least we only had two falls on bars this year,” Marsden joked, referring to last year’s season opener at UCLA when the team had a total of four falls on that event. “To have two falls by two seniors who are both international competitors and have had much bigger situations than this — you just have to think that this will get better and it won’t be a consistent problem.”

As bad as the falls were, they weren’t the worst thing to happen to the Red Rocks during the evening. At the very end of pre-meet warmups, junior Kassandra Lopez went down with a ruptured Achilles tendon. She may be sidelined for the whole season.

“We were a little down,” said junior Tory Wilson, who replaced Lopez in the bars lineup. “Unfortunately, that is something that this team is used to handling, so we just got together and knew that we could do it and it worked out well. It affected us a little bit initially, but I think, in the long run, we are stronger mentally from last year and we were able to handle it.”

Since Lopez was placed in three events for Utah, coaches had to use three gymnasts who were not expecting to compete in those respective events: Becky Tutka on the vault, Wilson on the bars and Baely Rowe on the beam. All three performed admirably for their fallen teammate. Tutka had a stick landing on the vault on her way to a 9.875, Wilson had a career-best 9.950 on the bars and freshman Rowe — in her first performance ever for Utah — scored a 9.750 on the beam.

“It’s a talented team and we have that depth,” Marsden said. “One person’s tragedy is another person’s opportunity. I was proud that those people took advantage of their opportunities and showing what they are capable of doing for us.”

The Utes will now head out on the road to face Cal on Friday.

“I was just really excited that our first meet of the season was at home,” Wilson said. “I think now that we’ve had our first meet and got the jitters out, we are ready to go and attack everything.”

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