Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Courtesy Kory Mortensen | University of Utah The Red Rocks pose for a photo at the 2014 NCAA Regional Gymnastics Championships.
Utah gymnastics: Utes punch ticket to NCAAs
Gymnastics » Utah wins regional event, will be joined by UCLA in Birmingham, Ala.
First Published Apr 05 2014 05:38 pm • Last Updated Apr 06 2014 08:55 pm

Fayetteville, Ark. •Utah’s gymnastics team didn’t just earn a berth in the NCAA Championships, the Utes powered their way into the event.

Utah won the Fayetteville Regional with a 197.3 Saturday while Pac-12 rival UCLA also advanced with a 196.6.

At a glance

Storylines Utes roll to another regional title

IN SHORT » Utah wins its 28th regional title to advance to the NCAAs while Utah State is eliminated after struggling on the uneven bars.

KEY MOMENT » Utah goes from third to first by posting a 49.525 on the floor.

KEY STAT » Utah’s Mary Beth Lofgren has scored a 9.9 on the balance beam in the last three meets.

Event winners

Vault » Katherine Grable (Arkansas) 9.95

Uneven bars » Samantha Peszek (UCLA) 9.95

Balance beam » Peszek (UCLA) 9.95

Floor » Nansy Damianova (Utah), Olivia Courtney (UCLA) and Grable (Arkansas) 9.95

All-around » Peszek (UCLA) 39.7

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Arkansas (196.375), Arizona State (194.425), UC-Davis (193.9) and Utah State (191.875) didn’t make the cut.

Utah is the only team to advance to the NCAA Championships every year. The Utes will make their 33rd trip to the NCAAs, scheduled for April 18-20 in Birmingham, Ala.

"It never gets old," Utah coach Greg Marsden said. "I never take it for granted. People ask me if I still get nervous for meets and big events and I always do. If you don’t, you shouldn’t be in it."

There were plenty of nerves early for the Utes.

The Utes thought opening on a bye before the uneven bars would be a good rotation for them, but it turned out to be challenging instead as the Utes looked sluggish and scored a 49.25.

The score was the third-lowest of the year for Utah as several gymnasts had minor breaks such as steps on landings and imperfect handstands.

While the Utes were struggling, UCLA opened with a 49.525 on floor and Arkansas delivered a 49.25 on vault.

Any weakness on the balance beam would have put the Utes in a dire situation. Luckily for Utah, it didn’t fold under pressure and scored a 49.2.

story continues below
story continues below

All of the counting scores were in the 9.8 range or higher; Mary Beth Lofgren (9.9) and Kailah Delaney (9.85) led the Utes.

It was a solid effort, but the Utes were still in third after two rotations with a 98.45 while UCLA had a 98.65 and Arkansas had a 98.625.

But worries turned to celebrations as the Utes bounded into first with a 49.525 on floor, led by Nansy Damianova’s 9.95.

"I had no idea where we were, but it didn’t bother me," Damianova said. "We were pretty confident."

Utah finished the meet with a 49.325 on the vault.

The landings weren’t perfect, but the Utes didn’t need them to be.

"It was a different meet for us, with the byes and all the waiting, but we handled it OK," junior Tory Wilson said. "It wasn’t our best meet but we did our job."

Marsden was cautiously optimistic as well, knowing Utah was finishing on its best events.

"Bars and beam have come a long ways, but there is no question we were looking forward to floor and vault," he said. "Those are our strengths."

Doing anything but winning the region and advancing to the NCAAs would have been disappointing for the Pac-12 champs.

Now that they are headed to the finals, the Utes get a chance to make up for last year’s disappointing ninth-place finish.

Next Page >

Fayetteville, Ark., NCAA regional team scores

Utah » 197.3

UCLA » 196.6

Arkansas » 196.375

Arizona State » 194.425

UC-Davis » 193.9

Utah State » 191.875

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.