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Utah gymnasts focused more on landings than rankings as they travel to Washington

Utah's Georgia Dabritz does her floor routine during a gymnastics meet against UCLA at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Friday, Jan. 23, 2015.
Utah's Georgia Dabritz does her floor routine during a gymnastics meet against UCLA at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Friday, Jan. 23, 2015.
Kristin Murphy,

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s gymnastics team travels to Washington this Saturday. The Red Rocks have a dominant record over the Huskies (47-0-2 all-time, 12-0-2 in Seattle), but haven’t always produced noteworthy meets in Seattle.

“We seem to struggle up there at times, and we really haven’t had our best competitions there,” said Utah co-head coach Greg Marsden. “We haven’t mentioned this to the gymnasts because we want to go in with a clean slate.”

Washington pulled off an upset on the road over No. 10 Oregon State in January, but couldn’t follow up with another road victory, losing to No. 13 UCLA Monday. The Huskies' season high is 196.3, which was recorded against Oregon State.

Washington (No. 17) is one of five teams ranked in the top 20 that Utah will compete against to close out the regular season. The Huskies are also one of three Pac-12 opponents the Red Rocks will face over the next three weeks as they look to remain undefeated in league meets and on the season.

“They are a much improved team this year,” said Marsden of Washington. “They are competing well, their ranking is up some, and they pulled a big upset over Oregon State, so we have to be on our game.”

Utah enters the meet ranked No. 3 in the country. As a team, the Red Rocks rank third (tie) on vault and bars, fourth on beam and sixth on floor. Traditionally a strong floor team, Utah has had a slow and steady rise on floor this season. But with its two season highs coming over the past two weeks, including a best 49.475 in last week’s victory over Arizona State, Marsden isn’t worried. In fact, the coach had the opposite reaction when told his team ranks higher nationally on beam than on floor.

“That’s wonderful. We will be fine on floor. Early on, there wasn’t anything horrible, but we were stepping around a lot on our floor landings and that kind of thing, so our scores were not quite as high. Other teams seemed to be quicker out of the gate on that event than us,” said Marsden.

Most of Utah’s gymnasts are performing new floor routines this year, which could be part of the delay. But having all four events in the top 10 is also boding well for Utah, after having beam lag behind the past couple of seasons.

“We try to keep things in perspective,” said Marsden. “Rankings are great because they give you something fun to talk about, but we also know there are a lot of good teams and gymnasts that we haven’t been on the floor with yet. What the rankings do show us is who the better teams are.”

Utah will go with the same floor lineup it did in last week’s win. Senior Becky Tutka appears to be back to full strength after notching a 9.85 in the last meet. That means Utah will have four seniors going on floor, along with sophomore Baely Rowe and freshman Kari Lee.

The meet begins at 5 p.m. MST and will be shown on the Pac-12 Networks.

Pac-12 awards

Utah’s Georgia Dabritz earned a third Pac-12 gymnast of the week honor after winning the all-around and recording a 10.0 on the vault against Arizona State last week. Dabritz is the nation’s top ranked all-arounder and is also No. 1 on floor, No. 2 on vault and No. 3 on bars. Fellow senior Tory Wilson received specialist of the week honors for the league after her 10.0 on vault against the Sun Devils.