It was a meet with a somewhat controversial finish, and the Lady Utes lost for the first time, but both teams really came out winners Sunday afternoon as the University of Oklahoma outpointed Utah 190.7-190.55 in a dual gymnastics meet.
Oklahoma, 6-1, smashed by 2.25 points its own 2-week-old Big Eight Conference scoring record and hit school records in floor exercise (48.35) and uneven bars (47.95).Utah, now 4-1, suffered three falls from the balance beam to lose the meet in its final event, but it had its second-best road-meet total ever.
Coach Greg Marsden had wondered how his team would perform in its first road meet. Utah scored one point higher last Monday in setting a school record in a home meet with defending NCAA champion Alabama; Sunday's score tends to lend credence to that total as well as gives Utah a high road score, which is important for NCAA postseason seeding.
Utah freshman Missy Marlowe tied Oklahoma senior Tatiana Figueiredo for the all-around title by scoring 38.60. That is Marlowe's collegiate best, beating her all-around-winning 38.40 of last week. It ranks in a tie as the third-best score in Utah history. Marlowe also scored 9.8 on balance beam, tying a 5-year-old team record.
Marlowe's other scores were 9.4 vaulting and 9.7s on bars and floor exercise. Figueiredo's scores were 9.55 on beam and three 9.7s. Oklahoma's Cassie Frey scored 9.8s on bars and floor and 9.7 in vaulting but fell from the beam for a 9.05 and third-place 38.85 all-around total. Utah's Patti Massoels and Hilarie Portell scored 37.7s to tie for fourth.
The meet came down to the day's final, controversial, performance.
After Massoels completed Utah's turn on beam, P.A. man John Brooks announced team totals with one performer left. Marsden protested that as unethical - it lets judges know what the hometown athlete needs to score to win the meet.
Also, as Figueiredo performed in floor exercise, she stepped out of bounds, but although Oklahoma officials admitted she clearly was out of bounds, judges did not give her the automatic .1 deduction for it. She needed 9.55 to tie the team total and received 9.7. The .1 would have made it 9.6. Marsden, however, claimed the skill she performed when she went out of bounds shouldn't have counted and said that would have made more of a difference in the total.
After the meet, however, he said he had no real problems with the judging, saying some scores were high and some were low for both teams. "It was our first meet on the road, and some things are going to happen that will surprise you," he said.
The Utes could have won anyway, but Portell, Jessica Smith and Kris Takahashi all had falls from the beam. Utah went into that final event 1.35 points ahead of Oklahoma and, despite the falls, actually outscored the Sooners on beam.
"I don't think Utah was at their best today," said Oklahoma Coach Becky Buwick, who added, "but then again, look at their scores. It proves how tough they are.
"I still don't think we are close to our peak," she said of her Sooners, "and I won't be surprised if we have some more high scores."
Event winners Sunday included Marlowe on beam, Frey on floor and bars, and a three-way tie in vault between Utah's Kristi Pinnick and Oklahoma's Frey and Figueiredo. Ute freshman Shelly Schaerrer had a second-place 9.75 in floor exercise and was part of a four-way tie with Marlowe for second on bars with 9.7.
Utah has meets at Arizona State Saturday and at Alabama Feb. 18 before returning to the Huntsman Center to face Oklahoma, Stanford and New Mexico Feb. 27.