Utah gymnastics coach Tom Farden has earned a good reputation amongst his peers in recent seasons. Now, his fellow coaches are showing him just how much respect they have for his coaching talents by voting the Utes fifth in the Women’s Collegiate Gymnastics Association preseason poll.

This is the third year in a row the Utes have been ranked fifth in the preseason poll, but it is the first season in the program’s history that there isn’t a Marsden on the coaching staff, since Megan Marsden followed her husband Greg into retirement at the end of the 2019 season.

Oklahoma was picked to win the NCAA title again followed by LSU, Florida, UCLA and Utah. Michigan, Denver, Georgia, California and Alabama rounded out the Top 10. Brigham Young is ranked No. 23.

The preseason ranking is a surprise since the Utes not only finished a disappointing seventh at the NCAAs last year, but also have a new coaching staff and return the fewest routines among any team that competed in the NCAA Championships a year ago.

Key seniors Kari Lee and MaKenna-Merrell Giles graduated while MyKayla Skinner left the team to pursue her Olympic hopes, leaving the Utes with a relatively inexperienced team for 2020.

Farden sounded surprised but pleased at the poll.

“We lost arguably the best gymnast in the NCAA and we are young,” he said.

Farden is optimistic the Utes can be good in 2020 and is eager to see how the team responds to the spotlight of competition. He and Utah fans will get their first glimpse of the team in a big atmosphere when the Utes hold their Red Rocks preview Friday at 7 p.m. at the Huntsman Center. The event is free to the public.

The Utes, who return just 10 out of 24 routines from the 2019 NCAA Championships, begin the season Jan. 3 against No. 12 Kentucky.

NCAA PRESEASON GYMNASTICS POLL


Ranking Team Points
1. Oklahoma 1813
2. LSU 1755
3. Florida 1680
4. UCLA 1671
5. Utah 1559
6. Michigan 1515
7. Denver 1493
8. Georgia 1438
9. California 1315
10. Alabama 1306
11. Oregon St. 1271
12. Kentucky 1240
13. Auburn 1213
14. Minnesota 1196
15. Nebraska 1137
16. Missouri 1000
17. Washington 925
18. Boise St. 900
19. Arkansas 798
20. Iowa St. 765
21. Arizona St. 749
22. Stanford 746
23. BYU 742
24. Ohio St. 654
25. Penn St. 638