In a sport that requires as much concentration as any out there, that kind of control that Yoculan alluded to is one of the biggest assets, and it's something the Utes think they have, too. Their pressure comes from wanting to break their own silver streak — three straight seconds.
"We kind of deserve the pressure because we worked really hard, and I think we should look at it in a positive way," said Kim, who expects to perform at 100 percent or nearly so after spending nearly two weeks ill with influenza. The rest of the team is relatively healthy, though Marsden said a few seemed to be coming down with colds. That's not as bad as the flu, he said.
"We're ready. We feel good about it," said Baskett, who said, "This is probably the best I've felt in my gymnastics career. My mind is healthy, I'm healthy physically and I'm the strongest I've been in my gymnastics career."
The talk at the press conferences mainly centered on the nation's top two teams, but Yoculan said, "There are four to six other teams that can win this competition. It's not a Georgia-Utah meet at all."
And Marsden agreed that almost any of the 12 coaches who sat at the dais Wednesday have a chance.
Utah, Georgia, Alabama and UCLA are the only teams to have ever won an NCAA women's gymnastics title.
"There's a lot of teams that could definitely challenge for that position," said Stanford coach Kristen Smyth, whose team nearly nosed Utah out of second place last year, finishing third. "And eventually it will happen. Whether it's sooner or later, I do not know. There are a lot of good teams out there."
"There's nothing better than seeing new teams come in," said. She noted that nobody can take team preliminaries for granted any more. It takes maximum effort just to reach the Super Six.
Marsden sees 'Bama, UCLA, LSU and Stanford as among the more dangerous teams and doesn't count out Florida, which is also strengthening after a year of injury.
"Until we actually get it done," Marsden said, "they're (Georgia) the champions, and everybody else is trying to knock them off."
2009 NCAA Women'sGymnastics Championships
Where: Devaney Sports Center, Lincoln, Neb.
Teams competing: Utah, UCLA, Illinois, Oregon State, Arkansas, Alabama, Stanford, Penn State, Oklahoma, LSU, Georgia, Florida
- Brad Rock: This is where conference switch...
- Tyler Haws scores 24 as BYU holds off Stanford
- Big winner: Utes hit jackpot early and often...
- Wyoming transfer Jason Thompson makes Utah...
- Penn State sweeps BYU for a record seventh...
- Dick Harmon: Execution, not words, will crown...
- Dick Harmon: Presence of injured stars looms...
- Utah basketball team makes it a doubly-good...
- BYU football: Cougars in talks with... 62
- BYU defensive back transferring to Utah... 51
- Big winner: Utes hit jackpot early and... 50
- Hamson and Gray step up big to get BYU... 45
- Dick Harmon: How a simple decision in... 34
- Ute football team has boots on the... 33
- Ranking the biggest bowl games in... 28
- Doug Robinson: A victory lap for Hot... 22