Red Rocks ready for road, ranked rivals

S-Gymnastics Colby Patterson
Kailah Delaney competes on the vault at the Huntsman Center on Feb. 22 against Oregon State. Photo by Chris Ayers.

Kailah Delaney competes on the vault at the Huntsman Center on Feb. 22 against Oregon State. Photo by Chris Ayers.

Every tenth of a point matters in gymnastics. Because of the technical nature of the sport, each balance check and non-pointed toe can be the difference between victory and defeat.

Thus far, the No. 6 Red Rocks are averaging nearly half a point, or five-tenths, worse on the road than they are at the Huntsman Center. This statistic brings up an area of concern for Utah, especially with its upcoming road test against two top 10 teams in Michigan and UCLA this weekend. The last time the Red Rocks were challenged on the road against a ranked foe was at Stanford, when Utah dropped its only meet of the season.

“I think the team is probably ready to redeem themselves a little bit,” said co-head coach Megan Marsden. “That Stanford meet left a pretty bitter taste in their mouths, and they wanted to quickly remedy that, and they were able to do that at home, but to truly remedy it, I think we need to be able to do that on the road.”

The remaining meets for the Red Rocks will have postseason feeling to them, as every opponent the rest of the way is a Top 10 foe. Michigan is No. 7, UCLA is No. 8 and Georgia is No. 5.

Fighting back

Utah was not at full strength last weekend against Washington, as both Kailah Delaney and Georgia Dabritz were limited because of various maladies.

Dabritz was suffering from a muscle strain and sat out of the beam set because performing that event was causing her the most pain. The junior is still not 100 percent, but is hoping she’ll be back to normal in time for this weekend’s meet.

“I’m hoping it doesn’t,” Dabritz said about her injury affecting her performance. “It’s still bothering me a little bit, but I’m doing a lot of treatment on it, hoping that it’ll feel better for this weekend.”

Delaney, who was suffering from strep throat, was only able to compete on vault against the Huskies. She was kept out of the beam and floor lineups. Delaney was in the gym Monday, though, and is looking forward to the weekend.

“I am feeling better each day,” Delaney said. “I’ve taken antibiotics, so I think I’ll be good by this weekend. It’s just taking some time to get back.”

Best vaulters in the nation

Most who pay attention to Utah gymnastics know the team boasts one of the best vault lineups in the nation. In fact, the Red Rocks have the two best vaulters in the country in Delaney and Tory Wilson. The pair is tied for first in the country with Florida’s Bridget Sloan with an average score of 9.940 per vault.

“It’s really exciting,” Wilson said. “It’s fun to be in the top spot, obviously, and I think that it’s great to be able to share it with a teammate. I think that just makes it better for our team as a whole.”

Despite being ranked No. 1, Delaney is being extra cautious to make sure it doesn’t get to her head so she can continue to get better.

“There’s always room for improvement,” Delaney said. “I just will keep focusing on doing my vault, and the landing will come with it.”

g.adams@chronicle.utah.edu