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Go Utes!
Ute Gymnasts To Host Georgia In Season Opener

On Jan. 11, the Huntsman Center will host a rematch between the top two teams from the past two NCAA Championships.

On Jan. 11, the Huntsman Center will host a rematch between the top two teams from the past two NCAA Championships.

Jan. 7, 2008


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The top two teams in NCAA gymnastics history will face off in the Huntsman Center on Friday, Jan. 11 when preseason No. 3 ranked Utah (0-0) hosts No. 1 Georgia (0-0). The Comcast Cup begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at UtahUtes.com, the Rice-Eccles Stadium box office and by calling 801-581-UTIX. The meet will be televised tape delayed on KTVX on Jan. 13 at 11:30 a.m. Live scores and video streaming (free with registration) will be available at UtahUtes.com.


Utah and Georgia rank 1-2 in national championships with 10 and eight, respectively. The two teams have combined for 17 of the 26 NCAA Championships to date (Utah's first title in 1981 was under the auspices of the AIAW). Georgia has won the last three NCAA Championships, with Utah placing second the past two years and third in 2005.


Utah head coach Greg Marsden (875-152-5) and Georgia's Suzanne Yoculan (773-114-7) are the two winningest coaches in college women's gymnastics history ... Three NCAA individual champions will compete in Friday's meet: Utah's Ashley Postell (2007 balance beam) and Kristina Baskett (2006 uneven bars), and Georgia's five-time NCAA gold medalist Courtney Kupets ... Kupets and Postell have finished first and second in the all-around at the last two NCAA Championships.


Both Utah and Georgia return a majority of the key players from their 2007 NCAA Championships' squad lists. The Utes have 10 of 12 letter-winners and six of seven All-Americans back this year, while Georgia returns every scorer from its 2007 championship team, including seven All-Americans.


Three freshmen are anticipated to contribute for the Utes this year. Two-year USA National Team member Jacquelyn Johnson, 2004 Canadian Olympian Gael Mackie and U.S. Junior Olympic floor exercise champion Kyndal Robarts debuted at the Red Rocks Preview intra-squad meet last Friday.


Utah was picked third in the preseason coaches' poll behind Georgia and Florida. The Utes received 779 points and three first-place votes in the preseason poll. Georgia led the way with 866 points and 28 first-place votes, and Florida tallied 788 points and one first-place vote. For complete preseason rankings, please see page three.


Ashley Postell and Kristina Baskett are scheduled to go all-around against Georgia, and Daria Bijak and Annie DiLuzio are likely to participate on three events, apiece ... Kyndal Robarts will get the first chance to compete of the freshman class. Robarts is in the vault and floor lineups, and an alternate on beam ... Freshman Gael Mackie originally intended to defer enrollment and train for her second Olympic Games, but instead joined the Utes at the semester break. Mackie is expected to make an impact after she gets more time in the gym and adjusts to college life ... Sophomore Jamie Deetscreek might qualify as Utah's most improved gymnast from a year ago. Deetscreek, who saw limited time - mostly in exhibition - a year ago, has a good shot of making both the bar and beam lineups this week ... Sophomore Beth Rizzo is trying to become a two-event performer. Rizzo, an All-American on the floor as a freshman last year, is currently the alternate on vault ... Competition is especially heated on the balance beam, where Robarts, Jessica Duke and Katie Kivisto are all capable of cracking the top six ... The team elected to go without a designated captain this season.



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