Utah gymnastics: Utes host Red Rocks preview Friday
With just one newcomer, Utah gymnastics fans can expect to see virtually the same team from 2012 when the Utes hold their Red Rocks preview Friday night at 7 p.m. at the Huntsman Center.
They'll see the same team, but also a very different one too, coach Greg Marsden believes.
Failing to make the Super Six last year spurred the team to examine the way it went into competitions. As a result, Marsden says they have a new hunger and new attitude that has driven them in the offseason.
"We've had one of the best preseasons we've ever had," he said. "Everybody has come back in great shape and ready to go. This group likes to work hard and they are determined."
The Utes plan to perform 10 routines on almost all the events because the lineups are so deep and Marsden wants to see how the gymnasts perform with a little pressure on them before they open the season at home on Jan. 11 against BYU, SUU and Boise State.
Utah's lineups are bolstered by Kailah Delaney and Corrie Lothrop, two gymnasts who were non-factors last year. Delaney, a junior, missed the season after surgery on her patella tendon. Lothrop, a five-time All-American, tore her Achilles tendon four meets into the season.
The senior received a medical hardship waiver so she has two years of eligibility remaining.
Both gymnasts have come back stronger than Marsden had hoped.
"Kailah, even in her freshman year was bothered by that knee and couldn't do as much as she wanted so I think she is going to be a real surprise to people," Marsden said. "She is going to be a strong option on all four events this year."
Lothrop is just one of the five seniors on the roster, giving Utah plenty of experience and leadership. The seniors, along with five juniors, are credited with the team's change in attitude.
"The juniors were talking the other day about how boring they are now and how they've grown up since their first year," Marsden said. "Sometimes when you are that young everything is exciting and new and you don't always make good decisions. This year they are a lot more focused and mature."
Utah's lone freshman is Baely Rowe, who could contend for a spot on any of the lineups. The competition, though, will be fierce, Marsden predicted.
"Last year they were intimidated by other teams at times and they want to change that environment and not let that happen this year. They were embarrassed by not making the Super Six last year and they are going to do everything they can to make it this year."
Red Rocks preview
P Friday night, 7 p.m.
At the Huntsman Center