Improvement, yes. Satisfactory? Not quite.
This past Friday was the second home meet for the Utah Red Rocks gymnasts against their greatest rivals, the evil Georgia Bulldawgs of the SECheaters. The Bulldogs, after losing their longtime coach, Suzanne Yoculan, and top gymnast, Courtney Kupets, are a mere shadow of the five-time running national championship team we’ve come to expect in recent years. Is the shaky team we saw score a 196.500 even related to the domination of last year’s finals with a score of 197.825?
But the same could be said for Utah, who scored a season-high 196.550, raising their season average to a mere 195.991. Utah’s final score last season was a 197.425. The loss of Kristina Baskett and Nina Kim seems to have ruined our team. Baskett is undoubtedly an amazing gymnast, but she did not singlehandedly increase the Red Rocks’ scores by a point and a half.
The team struggles with wobbles and balance checks on every event, receiving scores in the 9.7 or 9.8 range. We’re nowhere near where we need to be come championship time. There isn’t one person to blame for the mediocrity. Low scores appear across the board, with a few exceptions.
We need someone to step up and be the go-to gymnast who can post scores above 9.9 on a consistent basis. No more falls. No more almost-falls. Stick it.
I do have to commend the team on improving their landings. We saw far fewer steps, large or small, on all events. And congrats, I suppose, on bouncing back from the pathetic 195.125 season opening score versus UCLA.
Despite the poor showing of the typical numbers one and two (Utah is currently ranked sixth, Georgia at number 10), the meet was an exciting one, with only a 0.050 margin of victory for Utah. But wins and losses don’t matter. Scores do. We need to improve them before April.
I, for one, don’t want to watch our Red Rocks lose at home during Regionals.