The Utes' preparedness is a product of their new outlook for the 2014 season. Embarrassed by their ninth-place showing at nationals last year, the Utes went into the offseason determined to make the 2014 season a much better time for them.
"We were all disappointed with last year and I personally don't want that to happen again," senior captain Hailee Hansen said. "We had to get our mindset going that we would be more determined and more confident and just better overall this season."
So far all the work they did on their own has paid off, allowing the Utes to progress faster than normal. Even the Christmas break, which traditionally is at a bad time for a team days away from kicking off a season, didn't knock the Utes off their training.
"It only took two or three workouts and we were back to where we left off," Marsden said. "There have been times in the past when we've had to back off after the Christmas break and water down routines, but this group is ready. They've been doing some of their biggest and best stuff in practice this week."
The Utes held an intra-squad meet on Friday, and Marsden said the gymnasts nailed their routines. They seem determined to do so when it counts on Saturday too.
"We've been ready," Kailah Delaney said. "I don't know if this team has ever been this ready. Everyone is confident right now. We are doing so well in practice; hopefully we can handle it out there too."
The Utes have sold a school-record 6,900 season tickets so far, but season-ticket packages are still available through the school.
The Utes open conference play Jan. 17 at Cal.
Utah gymnastics opener
P BYU, Southern Utah and Boise State at Utah
• Saturday, 7 p.m.