Tuscaloosa, Ala. • Utah’s gymnastics team heads into tonight’s NCAA Regional competition as both an underdog and a favorite, as the No. 9 Utes compete here in Tuscaloosa against No. 3 Alabama and four other teams for the right to advance to the NCAA Championships April 19-21 in Los Angeles.
It will be difficult for the Utes to upset Alabama, which has won 34 home meets in a row dating back to 2009. However, the Utes believe a strong meet should allow them to beat No. 15 Denver, No. 23 Kent State, Iowa State and BYU, paving the way for another trip to the NCAA Championships.
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Utah is the only team to participate in every NCAA Championship, a streak of 31 appearances in a row.
The Utes will start on a bye and then bars while BYU starts out on the bars. Alabama, the two-time defending NCAA champion, has the Olympic rotation of starting on vault and ending on floor.
The Utes went through a solid practice Friday, but acknowledge practices haven’t been an issue for them — staying on the balance beam during high pressured situations has been their downfall.
A subpar effort at the Pac-12 Championships cost them a shot at the title.
"As long as we do our job, we should be OK," Utah coach Greg Marsden said.
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