But when Becky Tutka had two big breaks on the beam for a 9.575 and Georgia Dabritz took her first tumble of the year for a 9.275, the meet suddenly was in doubt. Between the two mishaps, freshman Breanna Hughes, who celebrated her 19th birthday the day before, coolly hit a 9.80. Corrie Lothrop, the all-around winner with a season-best 39.40, scored a 9.80 to keep Utah in the lead and Lofgren sealed the win with the best score of the night on the balance beam.
“We started a little nervous and finished a little nervous, but we took another step forward tonight,” said coach Greg Marsden. “We did a good job on bars and beam in that we didn’t give up the big one, but our first three up on bars swung a little tight and we had two problems on the beam. Vault and floor were spectacular,” added Marsden, whose team improved to 4-1 overall and 1-1 in the Pac-12.
The Utes won every individual title, taking the all-around (Lothrop), vault (Tory Wilson), bars (Dabritz), beam (Lofgren) and floor (Tutka). It was the third win in as many meets for Wilson, who matched her career-high of 9.95, also scored last week. Dabritz earned a 9.875 to tie for uneven bar honors, Tutka won the floor with a career-tying 9.90 and Lofgren’s 9.90 beam routine also matched her personal best.
“Mary Beth (Lofgren) was great all night, including her two exhibition events. After a great freshman year when she was our finisher on beam, she felt the pressure last year. She is getting back to where she was as a freshman,” said Marsden.
As for Wilson’s third-straight vault victory, Marsden, the vault coach had this to say. “Tory does her vault in a unique way and it looks different than anyone else in the country. She blasts it up and drops down on top of it and she is getting rewarded for it.”
Utah came out charging, scoring season highs on its first three events—a 49.175 on bars, a 49.325 on vault and a 49.275 on the floor.
The bar team that struggled so mightily on the first rotation at UCLA three weeks ago was nowhere to be seen tonight, with all six starters performing without a hitch and exhibition performers and Tutka nailing their routines in a show of depth. Dabritz led the way with a 9.875 and Lothrop turned in a 9.85 and after one rotation, the Utes led 49.175-48.900.
Utah heated up even more on its move to vault, where Dabritz, Lothrop and Wilson finished things off with a 9.925, 9.875 and 9.95, respectively. Dabritz and Wilson tied their career highs with their routines, while Lothrop set a season high. The Wildcats also fared well in round two and Utah led 98.500-98.050 at the midway point.
The Utes kept going strong, but so did Arizona. The Wildcats, enjoying their best meet of the season, hung tough on beam while the Tutka-led Utes were putting on an impressive show on the floor. Tutka, who was moved to the end of the lineup in hopes that her big tumbling would get more recognition, proved her coaches right by tying her career high with a 9.90. Lothrop scored a 9.875 on the event for the second straight week and Utah tied its season high on floor (49.275).
While the Utes would lose some of their lead in the final event, Marsden was not displeased. “It wasn’t perfect, but a lot of people performed a lot of good routines for us. If we want to be one of the best teams in the country, we need to be confident from start to finish.”