Gymnastics: Senior Red Rocks prepare for final home tilt vs. Michigan

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On Friday, the Red Rocks will honor their senior class and things are expected to get a little emotional. Corrie Lothrop though, started the tears a little early.

On Monday, Lothrop received a call from her club coach Kelli Hill, who informed her former pupil that she was coming from Maryland to see her last dual meet at the Huntsman Center.

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Hill was the U.S.A. Olympic head coach in 2000 and 2004, and helped Lothrop earn an alternate spot on the U.S. Olympic team in 2008. It will be the first time since Lothrop came to Utah, that her club coach will see her compete in person.

The surprised Lothrop could just say, ‘You are? Well that’s so nice of you,” while holding back tears.

“I really try to be a rock,” Lothrop said, “but when it comes down to family things or senior things I can definitely show some emotion. I don’t like to but it kind of just comes out.”

More moving moments are sure to be in store when Lothrop, along with fellow seniors Georgia Dabritz, Becky Tutka and Tory Wilson are honored before the Utes host No. 5 Michigan.

“We spend the few minutes talking about their accolades and what they have meant to the program,” Utah co-head coach Megan Marsden said.

From hair-raising individual performances to strong leadership this class has meant a lot.

“It hasn’t quite settled in yet,” Wilson said. “I think I’ll fully realize it at the senior acknowledgement. I want to go into it and enjoy so I can have a good memory to remember it by.”

From road trips to winning championships to hitting 10s, there will be plenty to smile at when they think back to their careers up on the hill. And while the stories of competing in the Super Six and winning a Pac-12 championship will definitely be thought of, the other moments may stand out just as much.

“This team is such goofs, we will do the stupidest things and we will laugh for hours with them,” Dabritz said.

Just last weekend Dabritz was going to congratulate Kailah Delaney, who had just hit her beam routine, when she tripped and fell right into Delaney’s arms. For a moment, the competition took a backseat as the team laughed around the two.

“It was supposed to be about Kailah because she did so great but we are all just laughing at me because I face-planted right in front of her,” Dabritz said.

Lothrop has had her own troubles celebrating over the course of her career, and those are the stories she thinks she will be telling years down the road.

There are times that Lothrop gets so excited following a routine that she will jump, but then she forgets she is in the air and tries to run. It doesn’t end well.

“And then all of a sudden I’m in a split and almost on my face,” Lothrop said. “I did that at Washington, I’ve done it on the floor. I’ve tried to tone it down a little bit, because the coaches don’t want me to get hurt.”

Marsden said the thing that has impressed her the most about this group is how they have improved upon their weaknesses.

She singled out how Wilson improved her feet, knees and landings to make a run to the Pac-12 all-around title last season. And she mentioned the strides that Dabritz has made on the balance beam since she was a freshman. Marsden also mentioned the strong leadership the seniors have provided.

Tutka, who has hit 75-of-75 routines in her career — a school record for most routines hit without a fall, will surely get a rousing applause when she performs on the floor as Utah fans have grown accustom to her high-energy routine. That spirit though is also evident away from the gym and is something Marsden thinks has helped change the program’s mindset.

“Becky has provided so much spirit, so much school pride spirit and I love that,” Marsden said. She and [former Ute] LIa [Del Priore], the two of them came in from athletic families that were all about football, baseball and they think beyond the gymnastics team, but Utah Athletics and they brought more of a Utah pride. I think we will forever be more changed as gymnastics team towards that.”

Though the seniors all have family and friends traveling hundreds, if not thousands of miles to witness senior day, it won’t be the last time the four will compete in the Huntsman.

The Red Rocks will host the Pac-12 Championships later this month, which will be the seniors official home swan song.

“I think it helps that we are hosting Pac-12s,” Lothrop said. “It was going to be really, really sad if that was going to be the last time I compete here, but luckily we are coming back.”

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