Beam proves ultimate downfall

S-Gymnastics-cropped Colby Patterson
Georgia Dabritz competes on the beam at the Huntsman Center on Feb. 7. Photo by Chris Ayers.

Georgia Dabritz competes on the beam at the Huntsman Center on Feb. 7. Photo by Chris Ayers.

Balance beam has been giving Utah problems all season long, but the apparatus has never been so harsh as to cause the team to lose a meet.

That changed Monday afternoon as the No. 4 Red Rocks suffered their first loss of the season, falling to the No. 12 Stanford Cardinal, 197.000 – 196.300. Utah carried a slight lead into beam, its final rotation of the day, but imploded on its way to losing.

“It’s a tough place to be in when you’re on the road,” said co-head coach Greg Marsden. “We need to go into those situations and take care of business. The great teams can do that, and we can’t put ourselves in that category at this point.”

Leadoff Baely Rowe started things right by staying on the beam and finishing with a 9.725. After that, in a move that seemed to be called for by Red Rocks fans for weeks now, junior Georgia Dabritz lined up by the beam instead of the usual second performer, Breanna Hughes. Dabritz posted just a 9.675 in her first beam routine of the season.

“I just did the same thing that I do every practice and warmup,” Dabritz said. “I just wish the outcome could’ve been different.”

Fellow junior Tory Wilson picked up the slack a little bit, scoring a 9.775 on the next routine. Unfortunately for Utah, things began to go downhill at that point.

Mary Beth Lofgren, a former All-American on beam who was coming off of a career-best beam performance last week against Arizona, could not keep her balance and fell off the apparatus. The fall resulted in a score of 9.150 and put pressure on the rest of the lineup to stay on the beam.

That didn’t happen. Matters continued to worsen when Kailah Delaney followed up Lofgren’s performance with a fall of her own for the second week in a row. With the two falls and subpar scores before that, the beam was a nightmare for the Red Rocks and was what ultimately decided their fate.

“We went over [to the beam] wanting to win the meet,” Marsden said. “It wasn’t just one person, it was the entire lineup. Not one person went up there and did what they’ve been doing in practice.”

Utah’s final score of 196.300 was the lowest it has posted all season long, and followed up last week’s season high.

“It’s disappointing,” Marsden said. “That event has cost us the last couple of years, and we have worked so hard to get better at it. We’ve got to get better because it’s a problem. We can’t act like it’s not there. Right now, nothing seems to be working, and I’ve got to accept responsibility for that. I’m failing right now.”

The Red Rocks will return home to face Oregon State on Saturday night. Running on a short week, Utah will have to bounce back quickly from Monday’s disappointment.

“We are beating ourselves up a little bit right now,” Dabritz said. “We have to shake it off pretty fast. I’m sure we will be gym ready all week and get our confidence back.”

g.adams@chronicle.utah.edu