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Matt Piper and Kyle Goon
Matt Piper and Kyle Goon cover University of Utah sports teams for The Salt Lake Tribune. Matt Piper is on twitter at @matthew_piper, Kyle Goon is on twitter at @kylegoon

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Utah gymnasts find form in NCAA regional win

Utah's gymnastics team had the breakout meet it was looking for Saturday, winning its NCAA Regional to qualify for the NCAA Championships.

The Utes finally showed the confidence they had earlier in the year when it nearly upset UCLA at home in the season opener and posted a string of 197.0 or higher meets.

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Hard to say what was more impressive, the way the Utes opened on floor in an unfamiliar rotation, scoring a 49.325 or the way they were able to finish the meet, competing well when the pressure was the highest.

"It was like a snow ball rolling down hill as the meet goes on," Utah coach Greg Marsden said. "Floor has been our best event for most of the year. It's high energy routines to get us going and we started off well and built on that."

The Utes now move on to the NCAAs April 20-22. Teams like Florida, Oklahoma and UCLA are the favorites and the Utes would be hard-pressed to upset those squads considering they've all competed fairly consistently this year.

However, just getting to the NCAAs and getting the experience of being there will go a long ways to helping the Utes' young team. It's tempting to look ahead to next year as a possible title run, but who knows, the Utes have the talent to compete with the favorites, perhaps after Saturday's meet they have the confidence too and can pull off some surprises.

Utah's seniors suddenly seemed more confident they could do so with Stephanie McAllister saying she believed the Utes would surprise people. Her thoughts were echoed by Kyndal Robarts.

"Yeah, we definitely can," she said.

- Lya Wodraska



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