They are a good, hard-working, talented, humble group of young women. – Utah co-head coach Greg Marsden, on his senior gymnasts
SALT LAKE CITY — They say there’s no place like home, and the Utah gymnastics team proved that Friday night as it hit the third highest score in school history before a record-setting crowd. The fourth-ranked Red Rocks topped No. 5 Michigan 198.25-197.675 in front of a Huntsman Center record 16,019 fans.
Utah hit on all cylinders in a meet that saw both teams combine to hit all 48 routines and all four of Utah's seniors shine. Senior Corrie Lothrop kicked off the meet with a 9.9 on vault. Lothrop eagerly admitted she hadn’t stuck a vault landing since before tearing her Achilles in 2013. Utah cruised through vault in such strong fashion that Georgia Dabritz, the nation’s No. 2 vaulter, had her 9.85 score, which included an uncharacteristic step out of her landing, dropped from the total average.
But Dabritz answered on the next event when she recorded her third 10.0 and eighth victory of the season on bars.
The key moment in the meet came when Tory Wilson hit her triple element set to kick off beam at 9.85. The senior fell last week but was as determined as ever to bounce back, as was Kari Lee, who also hit her triple set after falling last week. Lee came back with a vengeance, recording a 9.975, which included the first 10.0 of her career from one judge. Overall, Utah tallied a 49.5 on beam to easily top its old season high of 49.35.
“I haven’t seen a score like that the whole time I’ve been here,” said the senior Dabritz about Lee’s score on beam.
“To really come out of that box, and go to the 49.5 — that’s big for us. That makes that event just as strong as the other three,” said Utah co-head coach Greg Marsden.
And then came floor. It was the floor set Marsden has been searching for all season as the team recorded a 49.65, which bested its previous season high of 49.475. The total didn’t include a score below 9.9. Marsden placed his four seniors last to give them a deserving send off in front of the fans, and boy did it pay off. Wilson hit a 9.95, Lothrop a 9.925, Dabritz a 9.95 and Becky Tutka a 9.925.
Tutka ended the meet by blowing a kiss to her parents, marking the conclusion of her mom Jill’s first meet in the Huntsman Center. The senior Tutka has a difficult time traveling due to a nervous system condition and was thrilled to be in Utah.
The seniors admitted it was a special evening all around.
“They are a good, hard-working, talented, humble group of young women,” said Marsden about his seniors.
“They are so appreciative of the opportunity they have here and the fans that come out. To me that’s what is special about this group.”
Dabritz won the all-around with a career best tying 39.7 to go with her bars’ win. She tied with Wilson for the floor victory at 9.95. Wilson added a vault win, tying with Lee and Kailah Delaney at 9.925. Lee and Michigan gymnast Talia Chiarelli tied for the beam victory at 9.975.
Friday’s attendance broke the Huntsman Center record of 15,755 set by men’s basketball in 1993 against BYU. The old gymnastics’ record was 15,558 against Florida in 2011. Earlier Friday, the fire marshal updated the occupancy cap to 16,333. Friday’s crowd pushed Utah’s season meet average to 14,950, which breaks the NCAA record it set last season at 14,376. Utah garnered more national attention after its recent New York Times feature as a crew from CBS attended Friday's meet with a feature forthcoming.