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Top 10 storylines: #4 Gymnastics misses on national title by half of a tenth of a point.

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Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah gymnastics team had another excellent year under Greg and Megan Marsden. The Red Rocks advanced through the regular season, winning their second consecutive Pac-12 championship. In the post season they advanced through Regionals to Nationals, where they would take part in one of the most memorable meets in Utah gymnastics history.

Looking for the program's 11th national title, the Utah gymnasts squared off against Florida, Oklahoma, Alabama, Stanford and Auburn in the Championship meet. There was a large shadow of doubt cast across the Red Rocks ability to show well heading into the meet. Senior Tory Wilson was lost to injury during the Pac-12 championships, and as a result, the Utes struggled to advance past Regionals, squeaking into Nationals as the last seed.

On top of the Utes own struggles, power house program Oklahoma and 2 time consecutive champion Florida were poised to battle for the top spot. A top finish for the Red Rocks looked unlikely at best. The Red Rocks gathered their resolve, however, and having dedicated their post season to Wilson, vowed to bounce back at Nationals.

The Utes started the meet on uneven bars and came out on fire. The scores included a 9.85 by Baely Rowe, 9.90 by both Kassandra Lopez and Tiffani Lewis, 9.925 by Corrie Lothrop and a perfect 10 by Georgia Dabritz. Lewis, just a freshman filled in for Wilson on three events, uneven bars, floor and vault, posting career highs in each, on her way to the best performance of her young career. After the first rotation, Utah had the early lead.

During the second rotation, Utah headed to beam. The Red Rocks did not fare as well on beam as they did on bars, with Kari Lee leading the team with a high score of 9.875. After the second rotation, Florida had edged the Utes to lead the pack by a .125 margin.

Utah reasserted itself during the third rotation, their floor routine. Lewis and Lee both scored 9.875 while Dabritz scored a 9.90 and senior Becky Tutka scored a 9.925 in her final collegiate routine. The floor performance by Utah moved the Utes to within one and a half tenths of a point of Florida and separated them from the rest of the pack. Heading into the final rotation it was a two team competition for the championship.

Florida led Utah 148.400- 148.250 heading into the final event. The Utes took to the vault while the Gators finished their night on bars. The Utes put up an excellent performance on vault with Lewis posting a 9.875, Lee and Kailah Delaney both posting 9.925 and Dabritz finishing the set off with 9.975. Dabritz's final vault score was the best vault score of the entire meet, and nudged the Utes just ahead of Florida into first place. Meanwhile the Gators had just one routine left on bars by Alex McMurty. In order for the Gators to overtake the Red Rocks, McMurty needed at least a 9.9 on her bar routine. Unfortunately for the Utes, McMurty delivered for the Gators, nailing a 9.95 score to give the Gators a .05 lead and win the national championship for Florida.

The heartbreaking fashion in which the Utes were defeated by Florida was undeniable. Yet despite the narrow margin separating the Red Rocks from an 11th national title, they outperformed expectations. The loss of Tory Wilson combined with falling apart during regionals and nearly missing Nationals altogether, could have ruined what was otherwise a very successful season. The Red Rocks weathered the storm, however and were able to force 3 time consecutive champion Florida into needing a near perfect score on the very last routine of the meet. The Red Rocks finished the season knowing they gave everything they had and performing to the best of their abilities, sending coach Greg Marsden into retirement as a proud coach.

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