SALT LAKE CITY — Ute junior gymnast Cortni Beers is from Tulsa, Okla., but she has never competed at the University of Oklahoma and only remembers going to watch one meet there.
"I don't even remember the layout of the arena or anything," she said.
So when she found out Utah will participate in the NCAA Regional on April 2 at Norman, Okla., Beers contacted a former club teammate who's now a Sooner, Madison Mooring, to ask about the equipment and other things to help acclimate herself for next week's event.
"I'm really excited to go home," said Beers, who has scraped together 22 tickets for family and friends.
Her mother, Lora, has seen her compete collegiately a couple of times a year, but, "My dad (Reese) hasn't seen me compete in college at all. He's really excited," said Cortni.
She'll try to block out her own excitement of having her dad watch during the meet, though.
"I'll just try not to think about it. If I think about it, I might get a lot more nervous," she said.
Beers has been steady on bars and beam since the Jan. 22 Stanford meet, scoring in the 9.80-plus range in 14 of her last 16 routines, with the other two a 9.75 and a 9.775.
"I feel really consistent," she said. "All I need to do is go in there and have fun and relax. I know my teammates are going to help me, so it will be just like any other meet — except my family's going to be there."
ON TV: Spring break allowed junior Stephanie McAllister to participate in a healthy-cooking TV segment Thursday morning on Fox 13.
"I'm not the best cook, but I'm getting better, and I like to try new things, so today was a lot of fun because it was a recipe that I hadn't tried. We cooked a chicken piccata," McAllister said.
The TV thing got her flustered enough she almost dropped a pan on the hostess.
"I definitely was nervous because it was live TV," she said. "It was different nerve-wracking" than performing in front of 14,000 fans in the Huntsman Center.
AND ON SNOW: Coaches Greg Marsden and Megan Marsden always try to give the Utes a fun activity during spring break, when practices are usually quite hard in preparation for the postseason. This year's activity was special. Usually it's a team dinner and a movie. a "beauty night" or a sleepover in the gym for the girls.
But Wednesday, the Marsdens took the team snowmobiling in Park City. Most have never snowmobiled before.
"Oh, I loved it," said McAllister. "Cortni and I shared one, and I started off driving, and I actually almost threw her off the back, so we decided to switch.
"It was so cool that we got an opportunity to do that. We've never done anything this cool."
"It was a scary experience," Beers said, laughing about nearly being bucked off, "but it was a fun day."
"It was one of the coolest things I've ever done," said senior Kyndal Robarts, who, like Beers, has been jet skiing but had never been on a snowmobile before.
THROWBACK THURSDAY: The Utes started a new tradition this week, too. Assistant coach Tom Farden didn't like having to listen to Greg Marsden's music one day.
"It was horrible, and so I made a joke. I go, 'From here on out, it's Throwback Thursdays for the rest of the season,' " Farden said.
The gymnasts took it to heart, raiding the team closet for old leotards to wear in practice Thursday — finding them from as far back as when Megan Marsden was a sophomore in 1981. Some also put on heavy 1970s-style eye makeup.
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