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Utah gymnasts advance to NCAAs
First Published Apr 06 2013 09:18 pm • Last Updated Apr 06 2013 09:18 pm

It seems Utah's gymnastics team has a knack for the dramatic moments. At least this time it turned out in their favor.

The Utes used one of their best vault performances of the year to finish second at the NCAA Regional Championships hosted by Alabama, scoring a 196.4.

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Alabama went on to win the region with a 197.4 while Iowa State was third with a 195.4, Denver was fourth with a 195.275, BYU was fifth with a 194.45 and Kent State was sixth with a 193.5.

The score makes Utah the 10th seed at the NCAA Championships, hosted by UCLA April 19-21.

"All of the pressure is off us now because we are an underdog," Utah's Kassandra Lopez said. "We can go there and have fun and just do the best we can."

The Utes gave it their best on the vault Saturday, scoring a meet-high 49.4 on the vault.

The ending was much different from a few weeks ago when the Utes tumbled from first to third at the Pac-12 Championships where they finished on the balance beam.

"That just shows what the luck of the draw can do for you," Utah coach Greg Marsden said. "The last time out we started on our best two events and we had to watch the scores rise behind us. This time we got to finish on them. Floor wasn't great but vault was incredible. I am really proud of the way we finished off."

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- Lya Wodraska

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