Utah Utes gymnastics: Red Rocks ready for first Pac-12 meet at home
Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Red Rock fans will get their introduction to the Pac-12 this Friday as Utah welcomes No. 12 Stanford to town. Utah co-head coach Greg Marsden said he is excited for the fans to get involved.
"We saw UCLA earlier on the road, and I think Oregon State and Stanford are probably the other two teams in contention of the Pac-12 championship," said Marsden. "I'm glad to see all three teams so we know what to expect, and can be prepared for them. It adds another level of excitement when you know you are competing against an in-conference opponent."
After Stanford, the Red Rocks will bring in another Pac-12 foe in No. 8 Oregon State and then follow with No. 9 Nebraska as part of a three-meet homestand. Utah is fresh off a road victory over No. 21 Michigan, in which it handed the Wolverines their first home loss of the season.
The outing was a good one in Marsden's eyes, but he admitted the scores were equally low for both teams. Those scores dropped Utah from No. 1 in the rankings to No. 5, as the rankings are based on the average team score through the first six meets. Next week, the rankings will switch to the Regional Qualifying Score, in which a minimum of three road meet scores must be counted in the qualifying equation. Utah has scored in the 196.0 range for all three road meets, while its been in the 197.0 range for the three at home.
"I thought we did well on the road at Michigan," said Marsden. "The meet reflected more how tight the scoring was than how good the team did."
Utah hit 24 of 24 routines at Michigan, but had some struggles on floor and beam. Utah held on to its No. 1 ranking on floor this week, but dropped to No. 3 on beam.
"We've talked about it (losing the No. 1 team ranking) and we just want to keep things in perspective," said Marsden. "We didn't do a great job in the first two road meets and while we felt scoring was tight at Michigan, it was fair. The scoring does have an affect on rankings and seeding, but it's nothing we have any control over."
Marsden admits it was good for his team to be tested on the road, but that it will be nice to be back in the Huntsman Center. Along with Utah, Stanford and Oregon State, UCLA and Arizona are ranked in the top 15 at No. 6 and No. 14, respectively. The Pac-12, with five top-15 teams, is second to the SEC, which has six top-15 teams.
"At this point, we do not want to get too caught up in scores or rankings," said Marsden. "We just want to stay focused on the end goal, which is to improve every week, stay healthy and put a great team on the floor during the championships."
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