Utah gymnastics fans can get their first look at a team that should contend for the Pac-12 and NCAA Championship this year when the Utes host a preview meet Friday at 7 p.m. at the Huntsman Center.
Admittance and parking are free, and seating is first-come, first-served.
The Utes, who were picked fifth in the national preseason poll, have a young squad that includes five freshmen and six sophomores, but there is anticipation that the Utes could have one of their best teams in several seasons.
So far the team has met coach Greg Marsden's expectations in preseason workouts, although he said he'll know more about the makeup of the team after Friday's event, in which the gymnasts will perform most of their routines.
"We want to get them out there and get a feel for where they are at and what we need to do after finals and the Christmas break," he said. "Last year's group was a surprise, but we still have to be careful not to expect too much of this team since 11 of them are freshmen and sophomores. We have to expect it will take some time for them to find their consistency."
Nevertheless, the Utes are farther along in their training this year than they were last year at this point, which is an encouraging sign.
Seniors Cortni Beers, Stephanie McAllister and Kyndal Robarts all look strong. Robarts, who is back after missing much of the 2011 season with a knee injury, has been working the uneven bars well and could contend for a spot in the lineup this year.
Sophomore Corrie Lothrop is another who could surprise fans.
"She is in even better shape and seems much more directed this year," Marsden said. "She knows what it is all about and is very self-motivated and focused."
The freshmen are a solid class, with Georgia Dabritz, from Newburyport, Mass., having the best shot at contributing early in the season, Marsden said.
With the Utes hosting both the Pac-12 championships and the NCAA regional championships and a solid team returning, there could be pressure for the Utes to deliver the school's first Pac-12 title.
However, Marsden acknowledged pressure is something his group is accustomed to handling.
The Utes open their season at No. 1 UCLA on Jan. 8, which is just one of seven matchups for the Utes against top-20 teams.
"We're used to competing against these teams, so things aren't changing a whole lot for us," Marsden said. "Our goal every year is to be as successful as we can be, so that doesn't change for us."