Gymnastics: More than pride on the line for Utes, Cougars tonight

Published: Saturday, March 26 2005 12:00 a.m. MST

PROVO — If things go right for both No. 1 Utah and No. 14 BYU tonight in their final regular-season meet — at BYU's Marriott Center at 7, BYU's Senior Night — the two could meet again in two weeks when Utah hosts the NCAA North Central Regional at the Huntsman Center.

If Utah remains No. 1 and BYU scores well enough to move up to 12th or 13th, the Cougars would go to the Salt Lake City regional.

Ute coach Greg Marsden plans to go for the top performance, asking his team again to be immediately aggressive.

"Take over the meet from the very first event, and then slam the door. That's what we need to get accomplished," he said, noting that the regional rotation of events is on the line, "and it's BYU. That's what we want to do."

Ute sophomore Rachel Tidd's inner-ear infection is improving, and there's a chance she could go all-around tonight. The U. illnesses of the past few weeks seem improved, giving Utah a chance to have a good night.

If Utah has an average meet tonight and falls to No. 2 in the final rankings, BYU still could be sent there if it stays 14th, since the Cougars probably can't move as high as 11th, which would be the other seed with that scenario. If Utah fell to No. 3, which seems unlikely, it would host the No. 10 and 15 seeds, and that could also include the Cougars.

If something other than those scenarios occur, tonight is the last night for Y. fans to see one of the school's best graduating classes — Jaime Mabray, Genevieve and Marie-Helene Claveau, and the last of the three Pauga sisters, Kirsten — who will be honored in post-meet ceremonies.

The Cougars will finish among the nation's top 18 teams and thus be sent to a regional based on their final national ranking. The No. 1 team should be grouped with the No. 12 and 13 seeds, No. 2 with Nos. 11-14, No. 3 with 10-15 and so on in an "S" curve. Sometimes that's altered due to where regional-hosting teams are ranked or in the case of travel hardship.

Regional hosts and their current seeds are No. 1 Utah (North Central), No. 4 Nebraska (South Central), No. 5 Alabama (Central), No. 6 Florida (South East), No, 23 Washington (West) and unranked New Hampshire (North East).

"That would be kind of fun. It would be nice to stay in Utah," BYU coach Brad Cattermole said. The Cougars have already competed at New Hampshire this season, and he wouldn't mind that, either, though the travel means less practice time and more hazards.

The top two finishers at each April 9 regional advance to the 2005 NCAA championships at Auburn on April 21-23.

Cattermole expects his up-and-down team to be on tonight, seeing as it's Senior Night, the opponent is Utah and the Cougars have practiced well this week. "Their mind-set is where you would expect it to be," he said as he prepares to say goodbye to all-arounders Mabray (39.475 season high) and Marie-Helene Claveau (39.375) and specialists Genevieve Claveau and Pauga. Mabray's career high of 39.65 is fourth best in BYU history.

All four are strong in the classroom and good leaders. The Claveau twins are in only their second year but must return to Canada to receive free medical school, which Cattermole knew when he recruited them. Kirsten "is the last of the Pauga clan," Cattermole noted, until perhaps Cassie Pauga's 5-year-old daughter reaches college age.

Final national rankings based on Regional Qualifying Scores and regional assignments will be announced Monday by the NCAA.


E-mail: lham@desnews.com

Get The Deseret News Everywhere

Subscribe

Mobile

RSS