Gymnastics: Utes scoring big in attendance
Utah's gymnastics team is accustomed to setting attendance records; after all, the program has averaged more than 11,000 fans a meet during the last 18 seasons.
But this week the Utes and their fans could set a rather unique mark.
If the Utes, who are averaging 14,049 fans this season for home meets, bring in a crowd of 12,474 for their season finale against BYU on Friday, Utah (10-3) will set an NCAA attendance record for all women's sports this season.
No sport other than basketball has set the mark. Tennessee women's basketball (12,393) and Alabama gymnastics (13,786) are the programs closest to the Utes' average.
Breaking the record would be an exciting moment because it would bring the program more exposure even outside the gymnastics world, said Utah co-coach Megan Marsden .
"This is for all women's sports and it would be something for our fans to really hang our hat on," she said. "It says something that so many people feel this way about gymnastics for this to happen, at least we hope it will happen."
If the Utes draw 12,925, their average would break their NCAA gymnastics season attendance record of 13,861 they set last year.
Utah's lowest attended meet this year was 12,605 against Iowa State in January.
Friday's meet is Senior Night, the last regular-season meet for seniors Annie DiLuzio , Jamie Deetscreek , Daria Bijak and Beth Rizzo , which the Utes hope will add interest in the meet and counteract some of the attention the NCAA regional basketball tournament being held at the EnergySolutions Arena Thursday and Saturday might pull away from the meet.
"They're not playing Friday so it's OK," Marsden said. "We want those basketball people to know they are welcome to come and see what we do here."
Despite posting their season-best road score Friday, the Utes fell in the rankings from No. 9 to No. 11. Michigan and LSU moved ahead of the Utes after they earned big scores and dropped lower ones to see an increase in their regional qualifying score.
Individually, Utah's Kyndal Robarts is No. 7 on the vault (9.92), Bijak is tied for ninth on the uneven bars (9.895), Deetscreek is tied for ninth on the balance beam (9.885) and DiLuzio is tied for ninth on the floor (9.915).
SUU's Elise Wheeler is No. 9 in the all-around (39.435).
Back to the beam
The Utes will spend plenty of time working on their balance beam routines this week after faltering on the event at Florida on Friday and scoring just 48.85, but Marsden said practice isn't when the Utes are struggling.
"We are doing a decent job training, it's Friday nights we have to get better," she said.
RQS, previous ranking
1. Alabama, 197.195, 1
2. Oklahoma, 197.1, 2
3. UCLA, 196.9, 3
4. Florida, 196.85, 5
5. Georgia, 196.69, 4
6. Stanford, 196.575, 8
7. Oregon St., 196.545, 7
8. Arkansas, 196.51, 6
9. Michigan, 196.425, 10
10. LSU, 196.415, 11
11. Utah, 196.405, 9
12. Nebraska, 196.265, 12
13. Illinois-Champaign, 196.255, 13
14. Missouri, 196.005, 14
15. Auburn, 195.975, 17
16. Iowa State, 195.89, 16
17. Penn State, 195.75, 15
18. Kentucky, 195.6, 18
19. Boise St., 195.505, 23
20. Denver, 195.395, 19
21. Wash., 195.38, 22
22. SUU, 195.345, 21
23. Arizona, 195.32, 20
24. Central Michigan, 195.11, NR
25. Michigan St., 194.95, 24