When Jamie Deetscreek landed her bars dismount Monday night at Utah State, she knew she'd done well.
But when she looked at the score, 9.925, "I was really surprised, and getting that high a score on bars was really cool because I hadn't even gotten a 9.90 yet," she said.
That bars routine, which ended with a new dismount (double layout with a full twist) done well, propelled her to a career-high 39.50 all-around score and has her on a high as she and the No. 1-ranked University of Utah (7-1) gymnastics team compete tonight at 6 MST at No. 12 Nebraska (4-1), site of this year's NCAA Championships.
The whole preseason, the Utes all talked about how Deetscreek who had in previous years done only three events and never scored higher than 9.875 was their most improved performer. But even she might not have expected to get into this really elite kind of scoring.
"I never really thought about that," Deetscreek said. "I thought I would go all-around, but I didn't know I was going to be as successful as I've been, so it's kind of a nice surprise."
"Who would have thought when (20-time All-American) Ashley Postell left that Jamie Deetscreek would be the one that stepped up and to a large extent filled a lot of those holes?" said coach Greg Marsden.
"That's a big compliment," Deetscreek responded. "I wouldn't exactly say I'm up there with Ashley, but we all knew we had to step up this year with Ashley leaving, and I think we've done a great job of filling that role and making this team as good as it is right now."
Deetscreek obviously worked hard last offseason to get into better shape, fueled by the success she began having in 2008.
"Getting a taste of being in the lineup really made me want to do it more, and I just wanted to get on all four events," she said.
And finally becoming an all-arounder has made her gymnastics better, calming her nerves. "Last year I would wait the whole meet to do beam and be like, 'OK, I've got to do good.' So doing four (events) helps, and I think just the whole environment and atmosphere of the team and everything is really light, and everybody is happier, and it's just helping everybody's moods."
Deetscreek also had a pleasant experience with her upgraded bars dismount Monday. Anticipating the dismount, she didn't think her way through the other skills.
"I'm worrying about the skill at the end, so I kind of just put it on automatic throughout the rest of the routine, so it actually helped me, I think," she said.
The junior from Hatboro, Pa., scored 39.10 in her first career all-around on Jan. 9 at home vs. UCLA and has been above that each meet since, getting 39.35, 39.325 and 39.50 in her last three meets.
"It makes me feel like a more important part of the team because I want to help out so bad, and I want us to win. It's good to know that I have a part in that; I have a lot bigger role," Deetscreek said.
Another new all-arounder, sophomore Gael Mackie, will likely get her second straight four-event night tonight, said Marsden, who wanted to keep resting Annie DiLuzio's sore foot. Mackie will go all-around if she warms up well, he said. She scored 39.125 in her first career all-around outing Monday at USU.
Marsden also planned to put Daria Bijak in the all-around again after she did it for the first time this season last Friday.
Utah hopes to avenge a particularly galling 196.675-196.10 loss at Nebraska last time it was in Lincoln. A strong road score would help keep the Utes ranked first as the ratings process makes its annual switch next week to Regional Qualifying Score from raw season average.
No. 1 Utah (7-1) at No. 12 Nebraska (4-1)
Today, 6 p.m.