Gymnastics: Seniors Prepping For Last Home Meet In Front Of Record-Breaking Crowd

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University of Utah Red Rocks gymnasts take in a win over Washington, Saturday Feb. 13, 2016. (Mike Sheehan, Daily Utah Chronicle)

With the team’s final road meet out of the way with their win over Michigan, the Utah gymnastics team jumped one more spot in the rankings by earning the Wolverines’ former No. 5 spot.

Now, heading into the last meet of the regular season, the Red Rocks’ seniors are prepping for their final moments performing in the Huntsman Center.

Even though Utah hosts a NCAA regional a couple of weeks later, it will be a bitter-sweet moment for all the gymnasts competing in their last season as a Red Rock before they move on from their college careers. It will also be the last year for a while where the team will have more than one senior competing in the lineup, unless transfers occur. As far as things stand right now, junior Baely Rowe will be the only senior competitor for next season’s roster.

Even though being the oldest in the gym is a lot of pressure, Rowe hasn’t thought about being the only senior yet, waiting while her upper-classmates have their time to shine.

“I’ll still have the upperclassmen to help me out with things [for next year],” Rowe said. “It will just be another year, and it won’t be any different. I’ll still have my other teammates, and we’re like a family, so it won’t be different for me.”

Things will be different next season with such a young team, but the Red Rocks are taking this week to cherish all the wonderful moments the 2016 graduating class has given them.

Delaney raring to go

One of the seniors who will be honored, Kailah Delaney, is hoping to get back in the beam lineup after being left out for two straight weeks due to injury.

Delaney’s return is good news for the Red Rocks, who have been able to cope with her absence with the younger gymnasts stepping up to get the job done. Now, with the senior edging to get back in the gym, co-head coach Megan Marsden is hoping Delaney will be able to experience her final regular season home meet the best way possible.

Marsden is also hoping Samantha Partyka will be ready to go, saying that without the team physician’s advice, both of them will be competing for the team.

“If we’re at the end of the year without the doctor’s advice, [Partyka and Delaney] will be going,” Marsden said.

Utah fans aim for attendance record

Utah fans at the Huntsman Center will have something to cheer about this Saturday besides the Red Rocks’ success over the course of this season. If everything goes to plan in Utah’s meet against Georgia attendance-wise, the Red Rocks will win this season’s national attendance title, the team’s 32nd overall title and 12th straight.

With an average of more than 14,000 fans jamming the Huntsman every meet, the Red Rocks are also in contention for being the most-attended event out of all women’s college sports.

Of course, there’s a catch in order for the fans to claim the victory, and it depends if more than 15,000 fans will be able to attend the regular-season closing meet. If so, Utah will overtake South Carolina women’s basketball and claim the title once again, proving to the NCAA that college gymnastics is a big deal in Salt Lake City.

c.marquez@dailyutahchronicle.com

@chad_marquez

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