Jan. 3, 2011
SALT LAKE CITY
Complete Release in PDF Format
THIS WEEK IN UTAH GYMNASTICS
The No. 5 ranked Utah gymnastics team opens its 2011 season against defending national champion and preseason No. 1 ranked UCLA on Friday, Jan. 7 in Salt Lake City. The meet starts at 7 p.m. MT in the Huntsman Center and tickets are available at UtahUtes.com, 801-581-UTIX and at the Huntsman Center box office. The Utah-UCLA meet will be televised tape-delayed on Sunday, Jan. 9 at 11 a.m. MT on ABC-4. Free live scores and video streaming can be found on UtahUtes.com.
Friday's meet is the 2011 opener for both teams and marks the ninth time Utah has opened the season against the Bruins and the eighth time in the last nine years (the exception was in 2008, when Utah opened against Georgia). Utah is 6-2 in season openers against the Bruins, winning in 1985, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2009. UCLA won the kickoff meet in 2003 and 2010.
CLASH OF THE TITANS
Utah is the only program in the nation to qualify for the last 35 national championships, while UCLA's 28 national championship appearances is tied for third overall. Since the NCAA began sponsoring women's athletics, Utah (9) and UCLA (6) have combined to win 15 of the 29 NCAA Championships. Utah also has an AIAW national championship (1981).
Since 2000, Utah has accumulated four second-place national finishes (2000, 2006, 2007 and 2008). Utah finished third in 2005 and 2009 and has qualified for the Super Six every year of the millennium. The Utes finished sixth at the 2010 NCAA Championships.
Even with half the roster made up of freshmen, Utah was picked fifth in the preseason coaches' poll. Pegged to defend its 2010 NCAA title was UCLA, which received 38 of a possible 42 first-place votes. The Utes will face seven teams in the preseason top 10 in 2011, starting with the top-ranked Bruins on Jan. 7 in the Huntsman Center. The preseason top 10 follows: 1. UCLA, 2. Alabama, 3. Florida, 4. Oklahoma, 5. Utah, 6. Stanford, 7. Georgia, 8. Oregon State, 9. Michigan, 10. Nebraska.
Utah has two All-Americans on its 2011 roster: Senior Kyndal Robarts
is a two-time first-team All-American, winning honors on vault in 2008 and beam in 2010, while junior Stephanie McAllister
was a second-team All-American on bars last year ... Projected all-arounders for this Friday's meet are McAllister (39.375 career best) and freshman Corrie Lothrop
. Lothrop, an alternate on the 2008 U.S. Olympic team and a member of the U.S. National Team from 2006-2008, is considered one of the nation's top recruits ... Utah has one of the younger teams in the country with six freshmen on its 12-member squad. A seventh freshman, Alyssa Gale
of Simi, Calif., has retired from the sport due to lingering problems after three knee surgeries. Out for this Friday's meet is freshman Victoria Shanley
of Colorado Springs, Colo., who has been sidelined since Dec. 16 when she was diagnosed with mononucleosis ... As many as 10 of Utah's 24 routines against UCLA are expected to be performed by freshmen ... Also making his first appearance in the Huntsman Center is new Ute assistant coach Tom Farden
. Farden, a former head coach at Southeast Missouri State, spent last year as an assistant at Arkansas. He was 70-46 in six years as SEMO's head coach and was named the 2008 NCAA South Central Regional Coach of the Year. Farden is coaching the uneven bars and assisting with the floor exercise for the Utes.
Utah leads the series with UCLA 42-16-1 though UCLA holds a 15-14-1 advantage since 1995. Utah had won nine straight (10, including a tie-breaker at the 2009 NCAA Championships) before losing all three matchups with the Bruins last year. Utah is 21-1 against UCLA in Salt Lake City with the sole loss coming in the 2003 season opener.
Coach: Valorie Kondos Field
Coach's Record/Year: 389-86-1 (20 years)
2010 NCAA Finish: 1st
2010 Record: 17-3
Preseason National Rank: 1
Team Notes: The Bruins graduated just one gymnast from their 2010 NCAA Championship team ... However, NCAA vault champion and 2010 U.S. National Team member Vanessa Zamarripa is lost for the season after tearing her Achilles tendon in December ... Five returning All-Americans include Zamarripa (8), Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs (6), Brittani McCullough (2), Aisha Gerber (1) and Niki Tom (1) ... McCullough is the defending NCAA floor exercise champion ... UCLA added four freshmen, including 2008 Olympic silver medalist Samantha Peszek, 2009 Canadian all-around champion Sydney Sawa and 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials participant Olivia Courtney.
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