The Red Rocks come to town today and this will be no easy match up. UCLA has managed to climb from #4 at the beginning of the season to #2 nationally after scoring 197.750 on the road at Cal, and the team has a real shot at a national title. Today’s competition will display some of the best gymnastics you’ll see all season, and just might give us a glimpse at what we’ll see in the NCAA tournament.
Utah ranks #3 in the country and is ranked in the top ten in all events. The Red Rocks are #1 on floor exercise, #2 on vault, #4 on bars and #8 on beam. Utah is led by 2016 Olympic alternate and 2017 NCAA floor champion MyKayla Skinner and three-time All-American MaKenna Merrell-Giles. The Red Rocks have a season average of 197.292 and a season-high of 197.700, which they scored against Washington on February 3. Their only loss of the season was to UCLA at Elevate the Stage in Reno on January 14.
Let’s put things in perspective: Utah has qualified for a record 41-straight National Championships and is the only program in the country to qualify for all 35 NCAA Championships, with 20 Super Six appearances. They hold the most national titles in the country at ten (tied with Georgia), and they have never finished a season lower than #10 in the country. I’d say this meet is just as, if not, more important than UCLA’s match up with #1 Oklahoma.
Megan Marsden, a former Utah gymnast, is in her ninth season as Utah’s co-head coach and her 34th year on the coaching staff. She has helped lead the Red Rocks to six NCAA team championships, 33 NCAA Championship appearances and three Pac-12 team titles. Tom Farden has been Utah’s other co-head coach for two seasons and, for five years before that, he served as an assistant. Farden has played a crucial role in the program’s seven NCAA Championship appearances, four Super Six finishes and three Pac-12 Championships since 2011. He has a 45-15-1 record at Utah.
There is sure to be a packed house at Pauley today as we see the best these teams have to offer.