The University of Utah gymnastics team will suffer an unexpected key loss in 2017, as Samantha Partyka, who had a strong sophomore season in 2016, announced on Instagram that she's retiring from the sport.
The native of Katy, Texas, told the Deseret News Tuesday she's doing so because of leg and back injuries.
"I kind of dealt with them all season," she said, noting that she's been thinking about retiring since the end of the 2016 campaign and told coaches a few days ago. "I just came to the conclusion that it was time for me to see what else is in store for me...it has been on my mind, and it's definitely not something I took lightly."
Partyka began the 2016 season competing on vault, beam and floor, but added bars for a few meets later in the season to compete in the all-around.
She'll continue attending the university, where she's majoring in elementary education.
With Partyka's retirement, co-head coaches Megan Marsden and Tom Farden will have some big holes to fill next season beyond those left by seniors Kailah Delaney, Kassandra Lopez and Breanna Hughes.
Headlining the Red Rocks' freshman class for 2017 will be MyKayla Skinner, who will be competing next month in San Jose, California, for a chance to represent Team USA in August's Summer Olympic Games in Rio.
In addition, Mountain View High School's Kim Tessen and Missy Reinstadtler from Brick, New Jersey, will join the team.
Ryan McDonald is a sports reporter at DeseretNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @ryanwmcdonald.