Utah, BYU both headed to Baton Rouge for NCAA Gymnastics Regionals

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) MaKenna Merrill-Giles competes on the floor for Utah, in the PAC-12 Gymnastics Championships at the Maverik Center, Saturday, March 23, 2019.

Utah’s gymnastics team will compete against some familiar faces in the NCAA regional competition, the Utes learned Monday.

Both the sixth-ranked Utes and No. 17 Brigham Young will compete in the Baton Rouge, La., regional April 4-6.

Both teams are in the afternoon session on April 5 against Minnesota and Arkansas.

The evening session includes host LSU, Auburn, Arizona State and the play-in winner between George Washington and Lindenwood. The top two teams will advance to the following day to compete for two spots in the NCAA Championships April 19-20 in Ft. Worth, Tx.

Southern Utah will compete in the Corvallis, Ore., regional.

The Utes have wins over BYU and Arizona State this year and lost to LSU at a quad meet in Missouri.

The Utes are coming off a second-place showing at the Pac-12 Championships where they broke the 198-mark for the first time since 2018, finishing second to defending conference and national champion UCLA 198.4-198.025.

Those were the two highest scores in the nation during the weekend’s conference championships, giving the Utes a boost of confidence despite the loss.

“Even though it was a second-place finish, I think it shows nation wide we are still a contender for the last four spots at nationals,” Utah coach Megan Marsden said.

“Hopefully we can keep building on that,” Utah junior MyKayla Skinner said. “It’s pushing us to go harder and hopefully we are peaking at the right time.”

The regional format is expanding this year to nine teams at four sites instead of six teams at six sites.

The format change means only eight teams instead of 12 will advance to nationals.

However, the Utes like their chances of advancing.

“I’m incredibly proud of how we performed under the spotlight, on the podium and one at a time,” Marsden said of the Pac-12 meet. “There was a lot of pressure. We weren’t quite perfect and that is what it will take to beat UCLA, they are as good if not better than last year, but I feel like we took one more step in preparing this team to the pressure that comes at regionals and nationals.”

As the top seed in their session, the Utes will get to start on vault.

Utah’s gymnasts are excited to be traveling to a site in which they haven’t competed since 2002 and aren’t intimidated at the thought of going into SEC country, senior Kari Lee said.

“At this point we are going to have four judges, then six judges at nationals so the judging should be fair,” she said. “LSU might have the home advantage, but we will go down there, do our thing and let the judges score you.”


April 4, Play-in

George Washington (195.45) vs. Lindenwood (195.4)

April 5

Session 1

No. 6 Utah (197.535)

No. 11 Minnesota (196.885)

No. 17 BYU (196.57)

No. 20 Arkansas (196.38)

Session 2

No. 3 LSU (197.81)

No. 14 Auburn (196.695)

No. 21 Arizona State (196.32)

George Washington/Lindenwood winner


April 4, Play-in

N.C. State (195.715) vs. New Hampshire (195.68)

April 5

Session 1

No. 8 Georgia (197.315)

No. 9 Kentucky (196.085)

No. 19 Missouri (196.385)

No. 22 Iowa State (196.08)

Session 2

No. 1 Oklahoma (198.115)

No. 16 California (196.625)

Maryland (195.84)

N.C. State/New Hampshire winner


April 4, Play-in

Iowa (195.705) vs. Arizona (195.70)

April 5

Session 1

No. 5 Denver (197.545)

No. 12 Boise State (196.725)

No. 18 Washington (196.505)

No. 24 Southern Utah (196.045)

Session 2

No. 4 Florida (197.76)

No. 13 Oregon State (196.625)

No. 25 Stanford (195.995)

Iowa/Arizona winner


April 4, Play-in

Illinois (195.805) vs. Central Michigan (195.735)

April 5

Session 1

No. 7 Michigan (197.32)

No. 10 Alabama (196.99)

No. 23 Penn State (196.07)

Ohio State (195.99)

Session 2

No. 2 UCLA (198.1)

No. 15 Nebraska (196.65)

West Virginia (195.845)

Illinois/Central Michigan winner

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