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Utah wins at Arizona State in final meeting between coaches Spini and Marsden

Arizona State freshman Kellie Wanamaker takes to the balance beam Saturday.
Arizona State freshman Kellie Wanamaker takes to the balance beam Saturday.
Scott Mammoser

No. 4 Utah posted its highest score of the season (197.200) and coach Greg Marsden won his 1,000th career meet in defeating No. 19 Arizona State (194.85) Saturday at Wells Fargo Arena.

The Utes (6-0, 3-0 Pacific-12) posted a 49.45 on the vault, of where it leads the nation, and had five athletes score over a 9.9, while ASU (5-2, 2-1) lost two gymnasts with health issues just before the meet.

The Sun Devils’ best event Saturday came on the floor, where they scored a 49.050 with a 9.875 from Natasha Sundby, a 9.85 from Samantha Seaman and a 9.8 from Allie Salas. Sundby also led ASU on the vault (9.825), while Carissa Kraus scored a 9.825 on the uneven bars. Stephanie Miceli (9.825) just edged Morgan Steigerwalt and Brianna Gades (both 9.8) for the ASU high on the balance beam.

ASU coach John Spini said Risa Perez had came down with the flu and freshman Gilly Hogue was experiencing back spasms and had to withdraw.

“We were scrambling at the beginning of the meet, trying to figure out what we were going to do for some backups and not really focusing,” Spini said.

“We were probably one beam routine from being a 195. They had a good attitude, they could have been a little cleaner, but they got to see a great team and they know it.

“Beam wasn’t as quality as we needed to get. We had great practices all week, and the beam looked great in practice, we got our landings. I think bars are our real weakness, though.”

Utah’s Georgia Dabritz, who is the top-ranked uneven bars athlete in the NCAA at 9.933, scored a 9.925 on the event Saturday and also posted a 9.95 on floor and 9.875 on the vault. Senior Corrie Lothrop, the alternate on the 2008 U.S. Olympic team, scored a 9.95 on the balance beam and 9.85 on the uneven bars. Tory Wilson vaulted a 9.925 and was over 9.8 on the other three events, and Kailah Delaney recorded her team’s best vault at 9.95 points.

On the same day when men’s basketball’s two winningest coaches, Mike Krzyzewski of Duke and Jim Boeheim of Syracuse, were set to face off for the first time in ACC play, women’s gymnastics’ first and fourth most-successful coaches met for the final time.

Marsden, in his 39th year, is now 1,000-199-7, with nine national titles, while 34-year head coach Spini has won 346 for the Sun Devils and will retire following the season.

“Greg and I have been going at it for so many years,” Spini said. “I think he’s a great coach, does a great job with his program, and he could be coaching another five to 10 years and still be doing the great job he does now.”

The Sun Devils will be at UCLA Feb. 8, before returning to Tempe to face BYU at 7 p.m. Feb. 15. Utah will host Arizona Feb. 7.

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