Utah Gymnastics: Utes ready for NCAA prelims
College gymnastics • Team members give thumbs-up to floor set-up in Birmingham
Published: April 18, 2014 01:27PM
Updated: April 18, 2014 05:34PM
Kim Raff | The Salt Lake Tribune Utah gymnast Tory Wilson performs her routine on the beam during a meet against Florida at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on March 16, 2013. Utah went on to beat Florida in the meet.

Birmingham, Ala. • Utah’s final preparation for the NCAA Gymnastics Championships went well enough to leave the Utes relaxed and confident for their preliminary round scheduled for Friday at 6 p.m. MT.

Live coverage from the meet can be found on www.ncaa.com.

The fifth-ranked Utes will compete against UCLA, Florida, Penn State, Alabama and Nebraska with the top three teams advancing to Saturday’s Super Six.

Friday’s afternoon session, which begins at noon MT, features Oklahoma, Illinois, Georgia, Michigan, LSU and Stanford.

The Utes went through a light workout on Friday, using their time to get accustomed to the podium setup in which the equipment is placed on stands off the floor. Most of Utah’s gymnasts have competed on a similar setup in international competitions, but it still took a few routines to adjust, the gymnasts say.

“I thought the balance beam was going to be wobbly but it was good,” Utah junior Tory Wilson said. “The floor has a lot of spring to it too so I liked it.”

Utah coach Greg Marsden said he liked his team’s demeanor.

“They are relaxed and looked confident,” he said.

The Utes failed to make the Super Six last year, finishing a disappointing ninth after several miscues on the balance beam.

Utah feels much better about its balance beam lineup this season and has not had a fall in its last three meets on any event.

“Everything is good,” Wilson said.

The last time the Utes won a national title was in 1995.

Thanks to a not only physically strong but mentally strong lineup, the Utes believe the current team represents their best shot at winning an NCAA title than they’ve had in several years.