SALT LAKE CITY — On paper, the fourth-ranked Utah gymnastics team should easily roll past No. 16 Stanford this Saturday. But paper is one thing. The Red Rocks aren’t taking anything for granted knowing they’ll need to hit all four events to avoid a repeat of last year’s fate against the Cardinal.
“My gymnasts have not forgotten about losing to Stanford last season,” said Utah co-head coach Megan Marsden. “They do not want a repeat of that meet.”
That meet had Utah jumping out to a three-event lead at Stanford. But the Red Rocks crumbled in their final event, beam, and watched the Cardinal wipe away their undefeated record.
This season, Utah (8-0, 4-0 Pac-12) enters the meet undefeated. Although beam has proven to be a solid event for Utah, it’s coming off its lowest beam set of the season (49.0 at Washington). Part of this was due to tight judging, and part of it was due to the team’s response after Georgia Dabritz fell in the second spot.
“Rather than just doing our routines, some of our gymnasts tightened up,” said co-head coach Greg Marsden. “We didn’t have another fall, but we also didn’t perform like we have or can.”
Stanford and Utah square off at 7 p.m. in the Huntsman Center.
"Stanford never seems to be rocked by the Huntsman crowd like other teams," said Megan. "They always seem to compete well against us regardless of where we are, and this is a team we expect to be in the final session of the Pac-12 championship with us. We need to bring our A game to win this meet."
Utah is 22-6 against the Cardinal and 10-1 in Salt Lake City. Last season, the two teams split their outings, with Stanford winning the regular season meet and Utah besting the Cardinal at the Pac-12 championships.
The fall on beam last week cost Dabrtiz the No. 1 all-around ranking as the senior fell to No. 4. Dabritz is No. 2 on vault, No. 3 on bars and is tied for first on floor. Heading into the Washington meet, Dabritz was limited to one day of practice for her routines. This came on the end of an emotional week that included flying home to Massachusetts to attend her club coach Laura Tebo’s funeral.
“I think there were a whole bunch of factors that came together last week and unfortunately I had the outcome I did,” said Dabritz. “I think it got into my head that I hadn’t practiced much because I know I can do these skills.”
Kailah Delaney hit a 9.875 in exhibition on beam against Washington. Delaney competed on beam in Utah’s first meet, but was replaced by Dabritz and hasn’t broken back into the lineup. The exhibition came after the junior hit a 9.95 on vault.
“Practice has been going really well so I’ve had more confidence,” said Delaney.
Utah senior Becky Tutka and Stanford freshman Elizabeth (EB) Price, who was a national team member, reunite Saturday. Both were members of Parkettes gym in Pennsylvania as was Lia Del Priore, who graduated from Utah last season. Although the two differed in age, Tutka admits it is always fun to reunite with a past teammate.
“It’s really exciting to see past teammates out in the Pac-12,” said Tutka. “I got to see a couple who are on Arizona State's team as well. But I also know that they are our competition during the meets so that changes things some.”