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Utah Utes gymnasts have earned a reputation for being resilient and unflappable

(Leah Hogsten | Tribune file photo) l-r Utah's Cristal Isa during her 9.950 performance on the beam with teammate Cammy Hall. The University of Utah Red Rocks defeated Oregon State, 197.100 to 196.275, Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020 at the Jon M. Huntsman Center.

Utah’s fourth-ranked gymnastics team has a lot ahead of it, with two home meets to finish the regular season and then a packed postseason that begins with the Pac-12 Championships on March 21.

But before they push ahead, the Utes are taking a little time to enjoy their stellar past month, a run in which four of the five meets were on the road against the league’s top teams.

The Utes (10-0, 6-0) managed to remain undefeated and win the inaugural Pac-12 regular season title.

The title is especially sweet given the Utes’ schedule and young squad, coach Tom Farden admitted.

“It feels like a real championship,” he said. “It is extremely hard to be that consistent on someone else’s floor, when you are getting the team up to compete at different times, staying in a hotel, eating different food, all that matters and you are trying to keep competing at high levels.”

The Utes were sort of an unknown as a team had to replace 14 routines from last season. Meet after meet, the Utes earned an identity as a resilient bunch who excel on the balance beam under pressure.

“I think a lot of people were curious to see how this group was going to come together,” Farden said. “But the buy-in for this group has been unbelievable. For them to have the size of the chip on their shoulder they had and the way the upperclassmen have led has been off the charts.”

After facing the league’s top teams on the road, the Utes face a different challenge this week as they host the Cardinal (3-10, 0-5) on Friday at 7 p.m. in the Huntsman Center.

Since they competed Sunday, the Utes have less rest time than usual. After taking Monday off, Farden plans to give the team a hard workout on Tuesday, then back off some before the Friday meet.

“At this time of year, we have to be careful that we keep them sharp but keep getting them better and eliminate small deductions for the postseason,” Farden said.

The Utes still want more sticks on dismounts. According to Farden, Utah stuck about 56 percent of its dismounts in the win at UCLA, but only 40 percent in Sunday’s 197.675-197.6 win over Washington.

“It ebbs and flows but we want to see a really good sticking percentage this time of year,” he said.

Top 25 Rankings

Ranking Team Average

1. Oklahoma 198.08

2. Florida 197.88

3. UCLA 197.425

4. Utah 197.335

5. Michigan 197.285

6. LSU 197.245

7. Denver 197.135

8. Alabama 197.08

9. California 196.98

10. Georgia 196.9

11. Minnesota 196.885

12. Washington 196.765

13. Kentucky 196.69

14. Oregon St. 196.56

15. Auburn 196.49

16. Missouri 196.465

17. BYU and Arkansas 196.43

19. Nebraska 196.395

20. Iowa St. 196.38

21. SUU 196.035

22. N.C. State 195.96

23. Illinois 195.895

24. Arizona 195.88

25. Penn St. 195.86

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