BERKELEY, Calif. – After a slow start, the University of Utah Red Rocks rallied to earn a second place finish at the NCAA Berkeley Regional Saturday night, and the showing means Utah’s gymnasts are bound for the national championships for the 40th year in a row.
Georgia won the match, which featured what a press release from the U of U described as a “disastrous first half.”
Utah was able to rally back and score 196.575, but couldn’t match Georgia’s 197.025. California came in third with 196.000 and Boise State, Utah State and Brigham Young University rounded out the top five at 195.375, 195.150 and 194.150 respectively.
According to the press release, the Red Rocks started with scores on two events that amounted to season-lows, and after scoring 49.075 on bars and 48.625 on beam Co-Head Coach Greg Marsden told his team to “come out and fight” like the team he knew they were.
“I am disappointed that we dug ourselves in such a hole after the first two events—really disappointed,” Marsden said in the press release. “It felt too much like prelims at nationals last year. I was proud they didn’t give up and I’m happy that we’re going to the championships. I hope they view it as an opportunity to show what they are capable of.”
Things improved from there for Utah, who scored 49.375 on floor and 49.500 on vault to finish the competition, and those were the best scores from any team on those events, according to the pres release.
Georgia Dabritz, a team captain and the Pac-12 Gymnast of the Year, led Utah to the win with 9.95 on vault, bars and floor and 9.90 on beam with a 39.75 in the all-around.
Fellow team captain Corrie Lothrop also had a strong showing with 39.45 in the all-around and a 9.9 on vault—which ties her career best in that event.
Georgia and Utah both will advance to the national competition after Saturday’s Regional, and they will travel to Fort Worth, Texas to compete April 17- 19. According to the press release the other teams advancing are: “region winners LSU, Alabama, Florida, Oklahoma and UCLA, and region runners-up Nebraska, Auburn, Stanford, Oregon State and Michigan.”