When the University of Utah gymnasts held their final intra-squad meet Friday at the Dumke Center in preparation for next week's NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championships at Nebraska, sophomore Gael Mackie was absent. She also missed Thursday's practice, diagnosed by a doctor with influenza, said coach Greg Marsden.
It's likely the same bug that kept senior Nina Kim from competing in last Saturday's West Regional at Seattle and that still has Kim tired and speaking hoarsely. Kim finally practiced Thursday, a week after the symptoms appeared.
"It was pretty dramatic for Nina," Marsden said Friday, hoping Mackie's illness doesn't hit her as hard and that others on the team don't get it with nationals less than a week away.
Last week, Utah's depth came through strongly at the regional as Mackie, little-used sophomore Jacq Johnson and freshman Stephanie McAllister filled in for Kim and scored no lower than 9.80.
"We have others that are ready to go in," Marsden said, hoping that won't be the case, "but we can't control the flu."
Marsden said the intra-squad meet would not determine who competes or in what order. It's more a way to get everybody more used to the long format of six-team sessions Thursday and Friday and to help stay sharp with nearly two weeks between meets.
— Combined news sources