The Utes scored season highs on three of four events, making their move on the favored Gators in the second rotation on the uneven bars, where Georgia Dabritz brought down the house with a perfect 10.0.
“It felt great,” said Dabritz, the defending Pac-12 uneven bar champion who entered the meet ranked eighth in the nation on the bars. “I hit the ground and thought, ‘that was probably my best one yet.’”
Dabritz repeatedly credited the fans for Utah’s breakout performance and its best score ever against a team other than instate rival BYU. “Our main goal tonight was to put on a show for our amazing crowd in our last home meet. Oh my gosh, having all these people come here for us. It’s impossible to describe what it’s like.”
The fans started warming up on the first event when Tory Wilson, the nation’s top-ranked vaulter, extended her win streak to 10 by scoring a 9.975 to tie for first with Florida’s Kytra Hunter. Hunter is the defending NCAA vault and all-around champion.
By the time Dabritz finished the best meet of her career—she tied for first place in the all-around with a career-high 39.700, won the bars with a 10.0 and tied for first on floor (with teammate Becky Tutka) with a 9.975—the Huntsman Center crowd was in a constant roar. The fans even got a chance to cheer for themselves after learning their beloved Utah gymnastics team had won its third NCAA all-sports season attendance title for women, averaging 14,349 fans to its meets this year to beat out Tennessee women’s basketball and Alabama gymnastics.
Utah trailed in the meet just once, scoring a 49.450 on vault behind Florida’s 49.550 on the bars in the first rotation. But finishers Dabritz (9.925) and Wilson (9.975) set the tone for what was to come.
Leading up to Dabritz’s 10.0 on the bars were career-high 9.90 scores from Wilson, Breanna Hughes, Hailee Hansen and Kassandra Lopez. Utah’s 49.600—easily its best this season—missed the school record by a single tenth; a record set 20 years and two conferences ago at the 1993 Western Athletic Conference Championship. Most importantly, it moved Utah ahead of the Gators, who scored a 49.450 on vault, 99.050-99.000.
Asked if the big bar score surprised him since bars has been an inconsistent event for the Utes this season, coach Greg Marsden responded, “That’s the bar team I see in the gym all the time. I feel like this is the first time this year they really relaxed and performed how they do in practice.”
It was a confident Utah team that went to the balance beam, where the Utes scored a season-best 49.425. Kassandra Lopez scored a career-best 9.925 to tie for second place and Wilson also set a career mark with a 9.90. Florida’s 49.375 on floor gave Utah a slim tenth of a point lead entering the final rotation, 148.475-148.375.
It was a fight to the finish with the Gators showing no signs of pressure and scoring a 49.500 on the beam. But Utah did even better on the floor, scoring a season-best 49.650, led by 9.975 scores by Tutka and Dabritz.
Next up for the Utes are the Pac-12 Championships in Corvallis, Ore., on Mar. 23.