Utah gymnastics: Utes draw regional in Minnesota

Utah is seeded in North Central, while BYU draws Northeast meet at Penn State
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Utah's second-ranked gymnastics team is headed to familiar territory for its NCAA regional championship competition.

The Utes were seeded into the North Central region Monday, and will compete against No. 11 Arkansas, No. 14 Arizona, No. 23 Iowa, Southern Utah and host Minnesota at the regional championships April 12.

BYU was sent to the Northeast regional at Penn State to compete against top-ranked Georgia, No. 12 Auburn, No. 13 Denver, No. 22 Penn State and Iowa State.

The top two teams from each of the six regions will advance to the NCAA Championships at Georgia, April 24-26.

The Utes won their region last year and have qualified for all 26 NCAA Championships, the only program to do so.

Utah competes every other year at Minnesota, which is coached by former Ute assistants Jim and Meg Stephenson.

"What is nice is we've been there and we know what to expect," Utah coach Greg Marsden said. "It's going to be a relatively easy travel day and we've got a lot of alumni in the area so we're looking forward to it."

The Utes start out on a bye before bars and finish on the vault, one of their best events.

"Starting on bars and ending on vault is what you do every time you are on the road so that is a draw we're comfortable with," Marsden said.

The Utes completed their 2008 regular season Friday with a 197.1-193.85 win over rival BYU to finish the regular season with a 12-1 mark. The only loss was to No. 3 Florida.

Included in their wins were victories over SUU (197.2-193.1) and Minnesota (197.75-194.1).

"We can't go and have three falls on an event, but as long as we go and have a good meet, we should be OK," Marsden said.

The Utes didn't count a fall in the regular season, believed to be the first time in the program's history they've done so.

Going by seedings and rankings, the Southeast regional looks like it could be one of the closest. The third-ranked Gators are hosting, and the regional includes No. 9 UCLA and No. 15 Nebraska. Both UCLA and Nebraska have had several injuries this season while UCLA is in for the longest travel day of the top teams, something that has become a habit for the Bruins. In 2007 they were sent to West Virginia for their qualifier.

The Central region, in Baton Rouge, La., pits the closest ranked top teams with No. 6 Stanford and No. 7 LSU as the highest seeds. The Northeast region, in University Park, Pa., could be the upset special with No. 1 Georgia, No. 12 Auburn, No. 13 Denver and No. 22 Penn State seeded as the top teams.


Regional seedings

The top two teams from each region will advance to the NCAA Championships, April 24-26 at Georgia.

North Central - at Minnesota

No. 2 Utah

No. 11 Arkansas

No. 14 Arizona

No. 23 Iowa

Southern Utah


West - at Oregon State

No. 5 Michigan

No. 8 Oregon State

No. 17 Michigan State


San Jose State

Sacramento State

South Central - at Oklahoma

No. 4 Alabama

No. 10 Oklahoma

No. 16 Boise State

No. 19 Arizona State


Southeast Missouri State

Central - at LSU

No. 6 Stanford

No. 7 LSU

No. 18 Missouri

No. 20 Kentucky

Kent State

Ohio State

Northeast - at Penn State

No. 1 Georgia

No. 12 Auburn

No. 13 Denver

No. 22 Penn State


Iowa State

Southeast - at Florida

No. 3 Florida

No. 9 UCLA

No. 15 Nebraska

No. 21 North Carolina State

No. 25 West Virginia

North Carolina