The best teams in the Pac-12 are rewarded for their strong seasons by getting to pick their order of rotation in the league championships, starting with the conference’s top seed.

But things are a little different when it comes to the NCAA Regional Championships, where rotations are decided by a random draw before the season.

So what does Utah’s gymnastics team get as a reward for being the top seed in Saturday’s competition? A rotation that has the Utes starting on floor and ending with a bye. Congratulations Utes, the luck of the draw doesn’t belong to you.

The fourth-ranked Utes compete against No. 9 California, No. 16 Auburn, No. 21 Brigham Young, Stanford and Southern Utah at 4 p.m. Saturday in the Huntsman Center. The top two teams advance to the NCAA Championships April 20 and 21 in St. Louis.

Utah’s rotation is considered one of the toughest because it has the Utes opening on an event that is considered a power event, one the Utes ideally would have later in the rotation. The Utes instead will finish on the beam then have a bye for the final rotation. Teams like to be on the floor in the final rotation because scores tend to rise.

Even though the rotation is less than ideal, the Utes are making the best of the situation and trying to find some positives.

“Our emotions are going to be high, so it’s not a bad event to get cranking on and get some of that energy out,” junior MaKenna Merrell-Giles said. “We will be settled in by the time we get to our more intricate events where you don’t want to be so revved up.”

The Utes have been practicing in the rotation for the last two weeks to familiarize themselves with it.

“It’s completely opposite of the Pac-12s, so we are going to have to simmer down for bars and beam,” junior Kari Lee said. “It’s completely different than anything I’ve done in my career in college, but in club you can start on any event, so we should be able to adjust.”

The Utes are the only team to qualify for all 36 NCAA Championships, and they should be able to keep that streak alive as long as they hit their routines.

However, they don’t just want to qualify. They’d like to go into the NCAAs with a big score so they are known as a threat for the title.

The Utes also are smarting a little after their second-place finish to UCLA at the Pac-12 Championships.

“If we perform the way we know they can, then winning this region is doable,” Utah coach Megan Marsden said. “We definitely have some teams coming in that we can’t take for granted, but our training has been good.”

The Utes went through a string of meets late in the regular season in which they had trouble hitting all their routines. However, Utah remains confident it can go 24 for 24 in a pressure meet like regionals.

“We need to do what we have been doing in practice,” Lee said. “I feel like we’ve been losing that a lot this season because we have been trying too hard and we’ve gotten in our own heads, and that makes things rocky. But if we do what we’ve done in practice and have fun, we should go in there and have a great meet.”


When • 4 p.m. Saturday

Where • Huntsman Center

Teams • No. 4 Utah, No. 9 California, No. 16 Auburn, No. 21 Brigham Young, Stanford, Southern Utah

TV • None

Radio • ESPN 700


SUU • Vault, bye, bars, beam, bye, floor

BYU • Bye, bars, beam, bye, floor, vault

Stanford • Bars, beam, bye, floor, vault, bye

California • Beam, bye, floor, vault, bye, bars

Auburn • Bye, floor, vault, bye, bars, beam

Utah • Floor, vault, bye, bars, beam, bye



National rank/RQS • 4/197.54

Season high • 198.15

Coach (year) • Megan Marsden (ninth) and Tom Farden (third)

Top all-arounders (season high) • MyKayla Skinner (39.725), MaKenna Merrell-Giles (39.675)


National rank/RQS • 9/196.89

Season high • 197.5

Coach (year) • Justin Howell (sixth)

Top all-arounders (season high) • Toni-Ann Williams (39.7), Kyana George (39.5)


National rank/RQS • 16/196.595

Season high • 197.0

Coach (year) • Jeff Graba (eighth)

Top all-arounders (season high) • Katie Becker (38.925)

Brigham Young

National rank/RQS • 21/196.43

Season high • 196.625

Coach (year) • Guard Young (third)

Top all-arounder (season high) • Shannon Hortman (39.425)


National rank/RQS • 26/196.08

Season high • 197.0

Coach (year) • Jeff Graba (eighth)

Top all-arounders (season high) • Elizabeth Price (39.825), Kyla Bryant (39.475)

Southern Utah

National rank/RQS • 32/195.915

Season high • 196.8

Coach (year) • Scott Bauman (26th)

Top all-arounders (season high) • Autumn Jorgensen (39.4)