Jan. 7, 2013
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SALT LAKE CITY--
THIS WEEK IN UTAH GYMNASTICS
The No. 5-ranked Utah gymnastics team opens its 2013 season on Saturday, Jan. 12 against No. 2 UCLA in Los Angeles. The meet starts at 7:30 PST (8:30 p.m. MST) in Pauley Pavilion and will be televised live nationally on the Pac-12 Networks. Find the Pac-12 Networks in your area on the Pac-12 Networks Channel Finder
. Live commentary and scores will be available on UtahUtes.com.
Saturday's meet marks the 11th time Utah has opened its season against UCLA and the 10th time in the last 11 years (exception was in 2008, when Utah's first opponent was Georgia). Utah is 7-3 in season openers against the Bruins, winning in 1985 (SLC), 2004 (LA), 2005 (SLC), 2006 (LA), 2007 (SLC), 2009 (SLC) and 2011 (SLC). Utah lost its season opener to UCLA in 2003 (SLC), 2010 (LA) and 2012 (LA). Saturday's meet is not the season opener for UCLA, which is 1-0 after beating Southern Utah 196.150-194.875 on Jan 6.
Utah and UCLA are two of the premier gymnastics programs in the nation, combining for 16 national championships (10 by Utah, 6 by UCLA). Utah has qualified for the last 37 national championships and is the only team in the nation to make all 31 NCAA Championships. UCLA has competed at 30 total national championships and 28 NCAA Championships. The Utes have made a record 18 Super Six appearances, while UCLA has qualified into the Super Six 17 times in the 20-year history of team finals.
IN THE RANKINGS
Utah, which has been ranked in the top five in every preseason poll since the rankings began in 1991, is ranked No. 5 to start the 2013 season. See page 3 for the 2013 preseason coaches' poll, as well as Utah's all-time preseason rankings and subsequent NCAA finishes. Five of Utah's 2013 opponents made the preseason top 25: No. 2 UCLA, No. 3 Florida, No. 6 Stanford, No. 9 Oregon State, No. 11 Georgia, No. 17 Washington, No. 19 Arizona and No. 24 West Virginia.
Defending Pac-12 champion UCLA earned a narrow 46-44 advantage over the conference runner-up Utes in the 2013 Pac-12 Preseason Coaches' poll. Both teams received four first-place votes from the league's coaches. The Bruins edged the Utes by five-hundredths of a point, 197.425-197.375, to win the inaugural Pac-12 Championship last year in Salt Lake City.
In the first year of the Pac-12 Networks, five conference gymnastics meets will be nationally televised and Utah will appear in four of them, including this week's season-opener at UCLA. The Utah-UCLA meet will be the Pac-12 Networks' first nationally-televised gymnastics meet. Jim Watson and Amanda Borden will handle the play-by-play and commentary. Utah's meet at Washington on Feb. 15 will be a regional telecast (delayed) on the Pac-12 Networks. The Utah-Florida meet on Mar. 16 is booked for a national telecast on the network, as is the Pac-12 Championships on Mar. 23.
Utah is the only team to qualify for every Super Six since 2000 and has made a record 18 all-time Super Six appearances ... Utah has five All-Americans on its current roster, while UCLA has six. Ute All-Americans are Corrie Lothrop
, Mary Beth Lofgren
, Georgia Dabritz
, Kailah Delaney
and Tory Wilson
... Lothrop is the defending Pac-12 all-around champion and Dabritz was the 2012 Pac-12 Freshman Gymnast of the Year and the Pac-12 uneven bar champ ... Lothrop and Dabritz tied for the team victory lead a year ago with 12 wins apiece ... Utah has no seniors on its 2013 roster.
Juniors Hailee Hansen
and Corrie Lothrop
were elected team co-captains ... Utah returns 10 letterwinners and five All-Americans from last year's fifth-place NCAA team ... The Ute gymnasts recorded the best team GPA of any of the Utah teams in the fall semester, collectively averaging a 3.651. Earning a perfect 4.0 GPA in the fall were juniors Hansen and Mary Beth Lofgren
, and freshman Breanna Hughes
... Former gymnasts serving as student coaches this year are Cortni Beers
, Alyssa Gale
and Victoria Shanley
. Beers is on a fifth-year scholarship after completing her career last April. Gale and Shanley saw their careers end early with injuries and are on medical hardship scholarships ... Sophomore All-American Kailah Delaney
hopes for a mid-to-late season return following preseason knee surgery ... Freshman Taylor Allex
began training after the Christmas break after recovering from a back condition that kept her out of the preseason workouts. She is an outside possibility to compete on vault this week ... Freshman Breanna Hughes
could make the bar and beam lineups vs. UCLA ... Probable all-arounders in the first meet inclue All-Americans Lothrop and Georgia Dabritz
, along with Kassandra Lopez
Two weeks away from its first home meet, Utah has already sold a record 6,630 season tickets. The Utes set an NCAA gymnastics attendance record last year by averaging 14,352 fans a meet ... The Ute gymnasts have received complimentary iPads from the athletics department that are pre-loaded with apps for word processing (Pages), spreadsheets (Numbers), presentations (Keynote), note-taking and recording of lectures (Notability) and electronic textbooks (Kno). The department is providing iPads to all of its scholarship athletes.
Utah leads the series with UCLA 43-21-1, but has lost five straight to the Bruins since beating them in the 2011 season opener. Two of UCLA's wins last year were by five hundredths of a point (196.075-196.025 on Jan. 8 in L.A. and 197.425-197.375 at the Pac-12 Championships in Salt Lake City). The Bruins also beat the Utes twice at the 2012 NCAA Championships. Utah leads the series 11-6 in Los Angeles, where they last won in 2008. See page 2 for complete series scores.
Coach: Valorie Kondos Field (23rd year)
2012 NCAA Finish: 3rd
Preseason Rank: 2
2013 Record: 1-0
Team Notes: Beat Southern Utah 196.150-194.875 in season opener on Jan. 6 ... Return five All-Americans from last year's Pac-12 championship squad and third-place NCAA finisher and also regain the services of All-American Sydney Sawa, who did not compete last year due to a shoulder injury ... Roster includes two NCAA champions: 2010 vault champion Vanessa Zamarripa and 2011 floor exercise champion Sawa ... UCLA has won six NCAA titles, most recently in 2010.
In his 38th season, Greg Marsden
has a 974-190-6 record and 10 national championships. His regular season record is 454-76-2. Megan Marsden
, in her fourth year as the co-head coach (29th year overall), has a 58-29 career record.
"We're ready to get the season underway after a good preseason of training. Opening on the road at UCLA is a real test, not only because there is always a sense of unfamiliarity on the road, but because UCLA is tough to beat anywhere. They already have a meet under their belt and put up some big scores in a win over Southern Utah on Sunday so we have an idea of what we're up against. We have a nice group of returners who are tested under pressure, but we need to replace 10 routines from last year's NCAA team, so we'll have several athletes competing on events for the first time, including a freshman (Breanna Hughes
is slated to perform on bars and beam)."