Brigham Young University's gymnasts will have to make the long trip to Penn State University to compete with No. 1-ranked Georgia in the NCAA Northeast Regional April 12, but second-ranked University of Utah and No. 27 Southern Utah University and much of Utah State's team will compete in Minneapolis in the University of Minnesota-hosted NCAA North Central Regional.
The fields for the six six-team NCAA women's gymnastics regionals were released Monday afternoon.
The top two teams and some qualifying individuals in each regional advance to the 2008 NCAA Championships at Georgia April 24-26.
"That's kind of where we wanted to go," said Utah coach Greg Marsden. The North Central is the home region for all four teams in this state. Associate head coach Megan Marsden and assistant coach Jeff Graba both have family in the area, and Utah often competes at Minnesota due to the Marsdens' friendship with Minnesota coaches Jim and Meg Stephenson, who were former Ute assistants before taking over the Gophers.
The North Central Regional field will include the Utes, No. 11 Arkansas, No. 14 Arizona, No. 23 Iowa, Southern Utah and No. 28 Minnesota.
Utah State, which finished ranked 38th (the top 36 qualify as teams) qualified Nicki Felley and Heather Heinrich as all-around at-large competitors plus four event specialists (vault, Jasmine Minion; bars, Nicole Simoneau; beam, Lyndsie Boone; floor, Megan Tschida). Also, Aggies qualified as alternates in three events Jackie Dillon on vault, Chelsea Marquardt on bars and Minion on floor.
Utah will open with the bye before bars and compete on bars and beam, have the bye before floor and finish up on floor and then vault.
Marsden likes that rotation because all visiting teams in regular-season dual meets start on bars, so it's familiar, and it means Utah ends up on what has been its two best events this season, floor and vault. "I don't think that's a bad draw at all," he said.
Southern Utah will open with the bye before floor, meaning it finishes the meet on beam.
At Penn State, the Cougars will get the same rotation Southern Utah has, opening with bye before floor and finishing on beam.
Other teams in the Northeast Regional with Georgia and No. 29 BYU are No. 12 Auburn, No. 13 Denver, No. 22 Penn State and No. 30 Iowa State.The other regionals and their teams seeded in the top 18 are at LSU (No. 6 Stanford, 7 LSU, 18 Missouri), Oklahoma (No. 4 Alabama, 10 Oklahoma, 16 Boise State), Florida (No. 3 Florida, 9 UCLA, 15 Nebraska) and Oregon State (No. 5 Michigan, 8 Oregon State, 17 Michigan State).
North Central Region
Teams (by seed)
5. Southern Utah
Individual event specialists
Uneven bars Nicole Simoneau, Utah State; Alt. Chelsea Marquardt, Utah State
Floor exercise Megan Tschida, Utah State, Alt. Jasmine Minion, Utah State
University Park, Penn.
Teams (by seed)
4. Penn State
5. Brigham Young