The University of Utah gymnastics team is hosting its final home meet this Friday, March 3 in the Huntsman Center as it competes against the Stanford Cardinal.
With the small number of times the Red Rocks get to compete in their home arena, and this meet being the last one this season, co-head coach Megan Marsden said it’s a special feeling to have a crowd that wraps themselves around the athletes, one that lifts them up to compete harder.
For Baely Rowe though, this will be her last time performing in the Huntsman, ever. Rowe will be honored this Friday as the meet is dubbed Senior Night with the Stars. Rowe acknowledged that it will be emotional for her, but she will approach the competition just like any other meet she has in the past.
“I have to focus on helping the team, going out there and competing like I have the last couple of weeks,” Rowe said. “We still have Georgia, Pac-12’s, regionals, nationals, and things like that so I’m going to be emotional, but I’m excited to compete.”
Marsden agreed that it will be emotional for Rowe and the team, and Rowe will have to work on not getting too carried away in her emotions. At the same time, that emotion will provide some great performances as the girls relish in the moment.
As the girls prepare for their last home meet, junior Maddy Stover is taking this time to reflect on past meets. She has noticed that the girls have started to translate what they do in practice out on the competition floor after struggling in the beginning to put together a solid meet.
“That is how the team thrives the best — looking at competition as practice,” Stover said. “I think we have hit our groove right now, and I’m excited for this weekend. It’s another opportunity for us to put out another big home score.”
With that in mind, Rowe said the one thing the team needs to repeat and capitalize on is the confidence and fire she has been seeing these past few weeks. It’s not only fun to watch, according to Rowe, but it’s also exciting to finally see everything be put together.
Stover would also like to see the girls start off strong in Friday’s meet like they have recently, because in the past the Red Rocks have struggled on their first event, both home and away. For Marsden, she just wants to see the girls excited, fired up and in the moment so they can walk away with another high-scored meet.
“In terms of the nitty-gritty of what we need to get down, [they] know what [the coaches] want in order to keep getting big scores,” Marsden said. “It helps build our regional qualifying score.”
The meet is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.