Despite two falls again on beam, Utah put away UCLA in convincing fashion by a score of 197.125-195.875.
“We are fighters,” said junior Kailah Delaney. “I think we proved ourselves tonight. We are one of the best teams — if not the best team.”
Georgia Dabritz led the charge for the Red Rocks with a hat trick, winning on bars, vault and floor. Dabritz scored no lower than 9.950 on any of her events and was a big reason Utah came out with a victory.
“She was absolutely perfect tonight in my opinion,” Red Rocks’ co-head coach Greg Marsden said. “She could not have done those three events better than she did tonight. She was just on.”
Utah couldn’t have gotten off to a much better start, as it finished the first rotation with a season-high 49.600 on vault. Carrying that momentum into the second rotation, the Red Rocks finished bars with another season best score of 49.525. At that point, they held a commanding lead over the Bruins, 99.125-97.725.
For as fantastic as those events were, things once again went downhill when Utah moved to beam for the third event. For the second week in a row, two falls doomed the rotation. First Tory Wilson had a miscue, followed by Mary Beth Lofgren for the second time in as many weeks. The Red Rocks wound up with just a 48.575 on the apparatus.
“The first half of our lineup nailed it,” Lofgren said. “It’s a bummer, but it’s something we’ve got to keep working on. A fall is always a letdown and it’s always hard to get back on the beam, but that’s part of it. Every tenth counts.”
Marsden expressed his concerns with the continued beam woes and said his team not only has to improve, but excel.
“We’ve got to absolutely flip that and make it our best event,” he said. “If we can do that, then we are a contender.”
UCLA gained some ground during the third rotation, but floor has typically been a strong event for Utah, and Saturday was no exception. The blacked-out Huntsman Center erupted with chants of “10” after Dabritz’s routine, a mark she did receive from one judge. The junior had to “settle” for a 9.975 en route to her final event victory.
“It was a great night for me, but it was a great night for everybody on the team,” Dabritz said. “I had a lot of fun out there.”
Going into this meet, the Red Rocks had lost eight straight to the Bruins dating back to 2011. After taking down the preseason pick to win the Pac-12, Utah now has a target on its back and gymnasts wouldn’t want it any other way.
“This team is capable of anything,” Dabritz said. “We show that day-in and day-out in practice and we showed it tonight on three events. We just got to get that last one in there.”
The Red Rocks will head back out on the road this week to face Arizona State on Saturday night in Tempe. The meet is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.