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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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Utes look like team of old in NCAAs

Utah's gymnastics team looked more like the team it was at the beginning of the year than at the end Friday during the NCAA Gymnastics Championships.

For the Utes, that retro look is a good thing.

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Utah showed none of the nerves that plagued some of their final meets at the end of the year as they nearly won their afternoon session.

Now, can they improve on even that solid performance? They'll likely have to do so if they want to have a shot at winning the NCAA title.

UCLA, which has beaten the Utes three times in a row now, looked very, very good Friday.

The Bruins had a few small errors but got stronger as the meet went on. Coach Valorie Kondos Field said that slow start drove her nuts and said that wouldn't happen in the Super Six.

"It's like we have cobwebs to get out," she said.

That the Bruins can start slow and still win their session is a testament to the kind of effort the Utes have to give to earn a spot on top of the podium.

It was as if the Bruins knew just what to give to win and just simply pressed down harder on the gas for a strong finish. You have to wonder what the Bruins are capable of scoring when everything is on the line in the Super Six.

The Utes, on the other hand, cooled a bit finishing with a 49.225 on the bars and 49.175 on the beam Friday.

Utah's gymnasts say they can improve.

"We have to hit restart tomorrow and do it again," said Utah senior Stephanie McAllister.

The Utes not only need to hit restart, they need to find the turbo button, because that is what kind of effort it might take to win Saturday.

- Lya Wodraska



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