SALT LAKE CITY — To say the Utah gymnastics team suffered a blow in its 196.425-195.45 victory over Arizona State on Friday night would be an understatement.
The Red Rocks lost Corrie Lothrop for the season when the reigning Pac-12 all-around champion tore her Achilles while warming up for floor. The All-American is one of the best in the country, and losing her for the rest of the season will have an enormous impact on the Utes' squad.
Both co-head coaches Greg and Megan Marsden joined Lothrop after the meet in the media room full of emotions and belief that if anyone will come back it’s Lothrop. This will be the junior captain’s second torn Achilles, but this time it’s her left foot compared to her right, which she injured before joining Utah.
Greg Marsden said it’s too far into the season for Lothrop to earn a medical hardship, but she’ll have her senior season next year. In the meantime Marsden said the team has to move on because there is a lot of season left, including a home meet against Cal next Saturday.
“I’ll tell you what I told the team: Feel sorry for ourselves for the weekend and when Monday comes in we move forward. Big shoes to fill, but we have a team full of talented athletes so others need to step up,” said Marsden.
The coach was especially impressed with the effort his team gave on floor after they watched their teammate fall. The ninth-ranked Red Rocks put up a season-best 49.3 score in the event before a crowd of 14,410 to seal their 13th-straight victory over the Sun Devils.
Mary Beth Lofgren, who stepped in for Lothrop in the floor lineup, said the team huddled together before the event started and said they would do well for Lothrup — because she couldn't do it herself. Floor featured career bests by Tory Wilson and Becky Tutka at 9.9 and 9.925, while Georgia Dabritz hit a season-high 9.9. Tutka won the event.
Wilson also hit a career best on vault at 9.975 for her fourth straight victory in the event. The sophomore’s vault has become an instant favorite of fans and her teammates.
“Being in the arms of my teammates afterward is more fun than the vault,” said Wilson, whose teammates bear hugged her after one judge put up a 10.
“Tory has been vaulting great and for a fourth consecutive week stuck her vault, and is really feeling it now and in control,” said Marsden. “It’s huge and looks different from everyone else’s.”
Dabritz grabbed the bars title with a career-best-tying 9.95, but the sophomore fell for a second straight week on the beam. The event has been a thorn in Dabritz’s side, keeping her from becoming the solid all-arounder her coaches believe she can be.
“Coming off the first two events, I just wanted redemption on beam from last week,” said Dabritz. “ I had a great first two meets and then I slipped.”
Dabritz said it meant a lot that her coaches said they weren’t giving up on her on beam, and she committed to making every change she needed this week. Beam was the only event Dabritz fell below the 9.9 mark. Utah recorded its lowest beam score of the season with a 48.5 as Dabritz and Lofgren fell. Lothrop won the event with a 9.875 and was on track to win the all-around before getting injured.
“It’s the fourth meet of the year and we have been improving in places throughout the year,” said Marsden. “We still have places to work too.”
As for Lothrop, Marsden said, “she’s going to be upset and feel sorry for herself for a while. Once we get through surgery and the initial trauma and she feels better, she’ll get back involved with the team. She won’t be able to play a role out on competition floor, but she’ll be able to play one in terms of leadership.”
“It’s definitely emotional for everybody because Corrie’s a big deal to all of us,” said Lofgren. “She’s the rock, so it really stinks. But I’m not worried about her because she’s a fighter so she’ll find a way to help the team — even in a boot.”