Utah gymnastics: Utah ready for season opener
The week of a season opener, coaches often say they'd like one more week of practice to make sure the team is ready to go.
But Utah's gymnastics team doesn't need any last-minute polishing before it opens the season Saturday at home against SUU, BYU and Boise State. If anything, the season opener can't get here soon enough for them.
"Most years you always want a little more time before you get out there, but this group, we're having to be careful this week we don't overdo things," co-coach Megan Marsden said. "This team feels like it has been ready for a long time now. They've gotten a lot of feedback from us as coaches, but they are ready to get out there and try some things out on a grand stage."
The Utes' preparedness is a product of their new outlook for the 2014 season. Embarrassed by their ninth-place showing at nationals last year, the Utes went into the offseason determined to make the 2014 season a much better time for them.
"We were all disappointed with last year and I personally don't want that to happen again," senior captain Hailee Hansen said. "We had to get our mindset going that we would be more determined and more confident and just better overall this season."
So far all the work they did on their own has paid off, allowing the Utes to progress faster than normal. Even the Christmas break, which traditionally is at a bad time for a team days away from kicking off a season, didn't knock the Utes off their training.
"It only took two or three workouts and we were back to where we left off," Marsden said. "There have been times in the past when we've had to back off after the Christmas break and water down routines, but this group is ready. They've been doing some of their biggest and best stuff in practice this week."
The Utes held an intra-squad meet on Friday, and Marsden said the gymnasts nailed their routines. They seem determined to do so when it counts on Saturday too.
"We've been ready," Kailah Delaney said. "I don't know if this team has ever been this ready. Everyone is confident right now. We are doing so well in practice; hopefully we can handle it out there too."
The Utes have sold a school-record 6,900 season tickets so far, but season-ticket packages are still available through the school.
The Utes open conference play Jan. 17 at Cal.
Utah gymnastics opener
P BYU, Southern Utah and Boise State at Utah
• Saturday, 7 p.m.