SALT LAKE CITY — The most beneficial aspect of the Utah gymnastics team earning three perfect 10s this season may not be the statistical edge those scores provide.
It may, in fact, be the mental boost it gives the gymnasts.
“The 10s are fun,” said Utah co-head coach Greg Marsden after Georgia Dabritz scored a 10 on bars in Saturday’s upset over then No. 2-ranked Florida. “I’m happy the judges seem more willing to (award them). For a long time, it seemed the judges were determined that no matter what, they were not going to give a 10. I don’t want to see them coming all the time, but occasionally, when someone does a special routine, it’s nice that it’s a possibility.”
The gymnasts said seeing their teammates earn perfect scores not only inspires confidence in each other, it excites them about the possibilities of earning one for themselves. Marsden said the confidence boost is only one of the benefits.
“It gets us on ESPN’s top 10 plays,” Marsden said. “It gest us this kind of crowd (highest average attendance of any women’s sport in the NCAA). People feel like they’ve seen something special. And it makes little girls who’ve dreamed about that their entire lives cry. It’s definitely a motivator.”
NOT A FAVORITE: The Red Rocks’ 198.125 earned against Florida is the third highest score in team history. The Utes were named the Pac-12’s top seed for the conference championships in Oregon this weekend. The Utes will start on the floor in the evening session Friday at 7 p.m.
While the young team seems to be peaking at the right time, Marsden said the Utes will not think of themselves as favorites at this week’s Pac-12 championships.
“No,” Marsden said when asked if Utah could be considered a favorite this weekend. “And I’m not just blowing smoke. Oregon State has a huge advantage. They compete well in their home arena. It will take a really monumental effort on any one of the other team’s parts to beat them there. On any given night, one of the four teams (in the evening session) has a chance to win (the title).”
MORE HONORS: Dabritz was named the Pac-12 Gymnast of the Week. She scored a 10 on bars, which is the fourth 10 awarded to a Pac-12 gymnast this season. Three of those perfect scores belong to Utah gymnasts. It’s the first time Utah has earned a 10 on bars since 2003. She also tied for all-around honors at the meet with a 39.70.
Tory Wilson earned Specialist of the Week honors for becoming the first Utah gymnast to ever go undefeated in an event (vault) over the entire regular season. She was 10-0 on vault with a high score of 10. She scored a 9.975 against Florida for her 10th win.