Utah senior gymnast Stephanie McAllister looked up into the stands Friday during Utah's win over BYU and was amazed at the crowd.
"It was crazy. It was literally filled to the rafters," she said. "When they announced that attendance, it was unbelievable."
The attendance, announced at 15,310, was the fourth-largest in the program's history.
What has the top-ranked Utes happy, and a little fearful, is that Friday's attendance for the home meet against No. 4 Georgia could be even higher.
While BYU is popular given the in-state rivalry, the Georgia meet has always been one of the best-attended because the teams have a long history that includes some controversies, and because they are almost always in the hunt for the national title.
This year's meeting between the two has all the makings of one of the best yet in the series, considering both teams are coming off big wins, are ranked in the top five and have several All-America-caliber athletes.
The competition on the floor plus the increasing interest in Utah's gymnastics program and the timing of a large invitational meet for young gymnasts in town that has led to more ticket sales has Utah officials wondering where they'll put all the fans.
Last year the Utes had to turn away fans at the door for the final meets of the year. Hoping they don't have to do that Friday, Utah officials are urging fans to get tickets ahead of time.
Already, more than 10,000 tickets had been sold for the meet as of Tuesday morning.
Just in case the Huntsman Center is sold out, fans who can't get in will receive reserved seats to future meets.
There are no free-ticket giveaways for the meet.
"It's going to be wild," Utah gymnastics coach Greg Marsden said. "I'd be more surprised than not if it wasn't a sellout for this meet.
"But there are still some good seats available, although I do encourage people to buy tickets in advance to save the anxiety and long lines," he added.
The Utes have become accustomed to large crowds over the years, averaging 14,213 fans in 2010 and 13,503 fans in 2011.
The largest crowd to ever watch a gymnastics meet was last year's attendance of 15,558 for Utah's 197.0-196.75 loss to Florida.
The Utes will try to make as much room as the fire marshal will allow for fans for Friday, Marsden said.
The one thing he doesn't want is fans staying away because they fear they can't get into the arena.
Still, it's a good problem to have, Marsden said.
"We have a really competitive team this year, great opponents and the people who do come usually have a lot of fun even if they don't know much about gymnastics," he said. "There is a buzz about it this year."
No. 4 Georgiaat No. 1 Utah
P Friday, 7 p.m.
TV • Ch. 4 (televised at 11 a.m. Sunday)