Utah gymnastics: Utes draw regional in Minnesota
Utah's second-ranked gymnastics team is headed to familiar territory for its NCAA regional championship competition.
The Utes were seeded into the North Central region Monday, and will compete against No. 11 Arkansas, No. 14 Arizona, No. 23 Iowa, Southern Utah and host Minnesota at the regional championships April 12.
BYU was sent to the Northeast regional at Penn State to compete against top-ranked Georgia, No. 12 Auburn, No. 13 Denver, No. 22 Penn State and Iowa State.
The top two teams from each of the six regions will advance to the NCAA Championships at Georgia, April 24-26.
The Utes won their region last year and have qualified for all 26 NCAA Championships, the only program to do so.
Utah competes every other year at Minnesota, which is coached by former Ute assistants Jim and Meg Stephenson.
"What is nice is we've been there and we know what to expect," Utah coach Greg Marsden said. "It's going to be a relatively easy travel day and we've got a lot of alumni in the area so we're looking forward to it."
The Utes start out on a bye before bars and finish on the vault, one of their best events.
"Starting on bars and ending on vault is what you do every time you are on the road so that is a draw we're comfortable with," Marsden said.
The Utes completed their 2008 regular season Friday with a 197.1-193.85 win over rival BYU to finish the regular season with a 12-1 mark. The only loss was to No. 3 Florida.
Included in their wins were victories over SUU (197.2-193.1) and Minnesota (197.75-194.1).
"We can't go and have three falls on an event, but as long as we go and have a good meet, we should be OK," Marsden said.
The Utes didn't count a fall in the regular season, believed to be the first time in the program's history they've done so.
Going by seedings and rankings, the Southeast regional looks like it could be one of the closest. The third-ranked Gators are hosting, and the regional includes No. 9 UCLA and No. 15 Nebraska. Both UCLA and Nebraska have had several injuries this season while UCLA is in for the longest travel day of the top teams, something that has become a habit for the Bruins. In 2007 they were sent to West Virginia for their qualifier.
The Central region, in Baton Rouge, La., pits the closest ranked top teams with No. 6 Stanford and No. 7 LSU as the highest seeds. The Northeast region, in University Park, Pa., could be the upset special with No. 1 Georgia, No. 12 Auburn, No. 13 Denver and No. 22 Penn State seeded as the top teams.
The top two teams from each region will advance to the NCAA Championships, April 24-26 at Georgia.
North Central - at Minnesota
No. 2 Utah
No. 11 Arkansas
No. 14 Arizona
No. 23 Iowa
West - at Oregon State
No. 5 Michigan
No. 8 Oregon State
No. 17 Michigan State
San Jose State
South Central - at Oklahoma
No. 4 Alabama
No. 10 Oklahoma
No. 16 Boise State
No. 19 Arizona State
Southeast Missouri State
Central - at LSU
No. 6 Stanford
No. 7 LSU
No. 18 Missouri
No. 20 Kentucky
Northeast - at Penn State
No. 1 Georgia
No. 12 Auburn
No. 13 Denver
No. 22 Penn State
Southeast - at Florida
No. 3 Florida
No. 9 UCLA
No. 15 Nebraska
No. 21 North Carolina State
No. 25 West Virginia