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Utah gymnastics notebook: Gymnasts try to put pain behind them so they can compete individually on Sunday

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Three of Utah’s gymnasts will have no choice but to get over Friday’s bitter disappointment of not advancing to Saturday’s championships.

Georgia Dabritz, who qualified in vault with a 9.925, and Becky Tutka and Nansy Damianova, who scored 9.925 on floor, will compete for individual titles on Sunday.

“We’ve got a day to lick our wounds,” said Utah co-head coach Greg Marsden. “We’ll just come and compete. You go through different disappointments in athletics, and you have to accept it and get over it.”

He tried to give his gymnasts some perspective on the pain that felt overwhelming on Friday night.

“I told them, ‘If this is the toughest thing that happens in your life, well, it just won’t be,” he said. “We’re disappointed; we’re upset; we’re heartbroken. But we’ve got to accept it at some point and move on.”

It's interesting to note that none of the Pac-12 teams moved onto Saturday's Super Six.

No blame game

Before the gymnasts met with the media, Marsden huddled them up for a short pep talk.

“I was afraid, just watching the demeanor of some people, I was afraid some individuals were going to try and take the burden on themselves,” he said. “When we win, it’s a shared joy, and when we lose it’s a shared burden. And you could go through the night and find a lot of places where we could have added a tenth of a point pretty easily. So no individual should feel responsible. But I know them, and I was afraid they were going to do that. That’s a big burden to carry on your shoulders, one that isn’t deserved or necessary.”

Even the best struggle

Defending all-around champion Bridget Sloan, Florida, fell on balance beam, earning just a 9.20. Luckily, her team didn’t have to count it, but it means she won’t be defending her individual all-around title on Sunday.

In the evening session, Alabama’s Kim Jacob led the all-around with a 39.625, while Arkansas gymnast Katherine Grable, who competed with Alabama as an individual, was second with 39.600. Tory Wilson was Utah’s best finisher with 39.350, which was good enough for 12th in the session and 15th overall.

In the earlier session, Michigan’s Joanna Sampson earned the best all-around score with a 39.550, while LSU’s Rheagan Courville was second with 39.525.

Last competition for Lofgren

Friday’s meet was the last collegiate competition for senior Mary Beth Lofgren.

She had a solid night, scoring 9.80 on bars, 9.85 on beam and a 9.85 on floor. It was not the end to her collegiate career that she expected.

“What do you say?” she shrugged. “It’s just a bummer. But I’m really proud of the team. … It just wasn’t our night.”

She wiped away tears as she talked about the disappointing end to a tremendous season.

“I feel so honor to have been part of this team, to have had this year with them, they’re incredible girls. I’m going to miss it a lot, but I’m so, so proud of them.”

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Utes head coach Greg Marsden discusses Utah's failure to advance to NCAA's Super Six.
Georgia Dabritz discusses Utah's failure to advance to NCAA's Super Six.