Throw this into the be-careful-what-you-wish-for category.
After a subpar effort on the balance beam possibly cost them a shot at the Pac-12 Championship, Utah’s gymnasts were wishing they had a chance at a do-over to prove they could conquer the event under pressure.
Congrats, gals, you’ve got that chance, with the pressure increased even more.
By random chance, or karmic selection, depending on one’s belief, the Utes were given the same rotation they had at the Pac-12s for the NCAA Championships, which starts Friday in Los Angeles.
The one slight difference is that the Utes will start on a bye before floor. They still finish on the balance beam — the event that has given them the most trouble this season.
As the 10th seed in the NCAAs, the Utes know they must hit the event to have a realistic shot of advancing to Saturday’s Super Six, especially since they are in a difficult semifinal field that includes Oklahoma, Alabama, UCLA, Michigan and Arkansas.
Illinois, Florida, Stanford, LSU, Minnesota and Georgia compete in the early session Friday.
Only the top three teams from each session advance to Saturday’s Super Six.
Sophomore Tory Wilson said the Utes know what is at stake, but aren’t focusing on the circumstances.
“You have to do all the events anyway, so the rotation shouldn’t matter,” she said. “We need to approach it like we have to go in and hit all our routines no matter what and have confidence.”
Yet confidence is exactly what the Utes have lacked on the beam when it comes to finishing a meet.
Utah co-coach Megan Marsden, who coaches the balance beam, hopes the Utes can get some momentum going on the floor and vault — the team’s two best events — and use the confidence to get through their last two events.
“We’re strong on floor and vault, and it isn’t perfect to end on beam, but we have to learn how to do that,” Marsden said.
“We didn’t do horrible at Pac-12s, and other teams did really well, but we don’t mind another shot at finishing on beam and hopefully ending with a bang.”
P At UCLA
Live streaming • www.ncaa.com
Live scoring • www.uclabruins.com
1 p.m. session • Florida, Georgia, LSU, Minnesota, Stanford, Illinois
7 p.m. session • Oklahoma, Alabama, UCLA, Michigan, Utah, Arkansas