Gymnastics notebook: Red Rocks climbing in the rankings

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After posting a second straight 197.825 on Friday against Arizona State, Utah climbed up a spot in the national rankings to No. 3 with an average score of 197.195.

Though for now that is little more than an arbitrary number.

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“I don’t think we care that much,” senior Corrie Lothrop said. “It’s so early in the season, and it really only matters at the end. So while it’s nice to know that and it’s definitely a confidence boost, it’s not a big influence of what we do in the gym.”

But it may be a big influence on how the team is perceived, especially with the judges. Utah co-head coach Megan Marsden said word spreads around about which teams are putting up the high score.

“I don’t think it hurts reputation to have people out there know that we are one of the top teams,” she said.

Marsden said she likes how her team, which started off at No. 6, has steadily climbed the rankings since the beginning of the year. But with it being so early in the season, Utah is more focused on where it’ll be when it gets closer to the championship meets.

“On some level, you need to stay in the area where you hope to be at the end of the season, and show during the year, that you are one of those teams,” Marsden said. “So I think there is some importance to it, exactly the spot I think you can jockey around a little bit.”

The two teams ahead of the Red Rocks — Oklahoma and LSU — both eclipsed the 198-mark last weekend, something Utah has yet to do this season. Lothrop, though, thinks it’s just a matter of time before the Utes pull off the feat.

“We finally got a high-197 at home, which is what we’ve been striving for,” Lothrop said. “And we got that high-197 with mistakes still, so I think a 198 is in our future.”

 

Red Rocks still improving

The Utes have yet to count a fall this season, but that doesn’t mean there haven’t been a few stumbles along the way.

Tory Wilson’s and Georgia Dabrtiz’s back-to-back 10 showing on the vault Friday overshadowed how Utah had some less than stellar landings on the apparatus.

“I know we obviously had a couple of great stuck vaults, but I think we had three that weren’t stuck,” Marsden said.

Marsden pointed out that some of the top teams are managing to stick four or five vaults during a competition consistently, which is something Utah hasn’t yet managed to do.

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The big improvement thus far this season has come on the beam, but Utah had to overcome a number of balance checks against Arizona State — something Marsden wasn’t pleased about.

“I have really good beamers,” she said. “I know our scores are better this year, because we have been down, but if they all do walk-through routines on the same night, then we can go as high on beam as some of the other events scores.”

So while beam hasn’t been the clear weakness like it has been the past couple seasons, it still isn’t necessarily a strength. But Marsden think that it could be, and even should be.

“I don’t have to be content with 49.25 or 49.3 when the other events are scoring 49.6,” Marsden said. “I think we can really be 49.5 if I get everyone hitting all at once. I thought the other night we had a couple people be a little cautious. I thought that was a half-step back.”

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