Utes patiently awaiting NCAAs

Gymnastics Notes
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While other teams might be making last-minute changes, nursing injuries or still upgrading routines, the University of Utah's gymnastics team is in a holding pattern until the NCAA Championships next week.

There is nothing left for the nation's top-ranked team to do but wait. Overall, that is an ideal situation to be in, but one that can still cause some boredom, especially if you're a gymnast such as Nicolle Ford who has a strong dislike for practice.

"It's a long two weeks between regionals and nationals," she said. "If we could practice in front of 10,000 people in the Huntsman Center, that would be ideal."

To keep things fresh, Utah will have some mock meets and practice in the order in which it will compete for nationals, much like it did in the weeks leading up to the region meet.

Utah once again starts on bars.

"It doesn't matter where we start," Ford said. "You have to be able to make adjustments."

The Utes will pay particular attention to balance beam, the event in which Utah suffered two falls Saturday, although Utah coach Greg Marsden said he wasn't too concerned because Utah has been solid on the beam all year.

Pain in the back

Sophomore Rachel Tidd continues to deal with back problems, and will get an injection today to hopefully help her get through the final competitions.

"I'm really looking forward to that," Tidd said of the shot. "I want to be ready to go for nationals."

Tidd's back will have its biggest test next week, because she could conceivably compete three straight nights.

Utah should make the Super Six, and Tidd will be one of the favorites to make the uneven bars finals.

Down and maybe out

Nebraska senior Richelle Simpson, ranked third in the nation in the all-around, might not be able to compete in the NCAA Championships after hurting her knee on the floor during the South Central regional meet on Saturday.

For her to miss the NCAAs would be a huge blow to the Cornhuskers and for Simpson. Simpson won the 2003 all-around title, then hurt her knee last year in what would have been her senior year. She was granted a hardship scholarship by the NCAA, extending her career to a fifth year.

Simpson's knee was examined Monday afternoon, but results haven't been released.

The one she wanted

Utah senior Gritt Hofmann had hoped to thrill the home crowd with one of her best floor routines on senior night, but she faltered on one of her floor passes and scored a 9.875. It was a good score, but the routine left her wanting a do-over.

She got it on Saturday during the regional competition, and delivered one of her best, scoring a 9.925. She earned a 10.0 from one judge, and a standing ovation from the crowd.