The University of Utah has had a storied gymnastics program, one that has been integral to the success and notoriety of the University itself. That notoriety got a big boost yesterday, when the Maverik Center agreed to host the Pac-12 Gymnastics championship for the next three years.
The change in venue was done in an effort to ensure a level playing field. Last year, the UCLA Bruins won the title on the floors of the Mckale Center, located at the University of Arizona. The Wildcats would take dead last at that championship competition, but that neutral-site location was important in making the decision. Utah’s head coach, Tom Farden, commented on this location change from recent years.
“Holding our championships on podium at a neutral site will help keep the Pac-12 schools on a level playing field,” said the fourth-year coach. “We are grateful to the Maverik Center and the West Valley City for investing in our sport to make this a reality.”
Coach Farden, along with Pac-12 Senior Associate Commissioner, Teresa Gould, and Maverik Center CEO, Kevin Bruder, also expressed their jubilation at the new deal. All three stressed the value of having the championship at an institution separate from a university.
The venue change should come as no surprise. The University of Utah has had a powerhouse program since joining the conference, with three titles and three runner-up finishes in seven years. Since the inception of the Pac-12 Gymnastics championship, the Utes have had a significant presence in the winner’s circle.
The Utah Sports Commission, the organization overseeing the event, has been relatively active in bringing in outside venues to occur in the state. Just this past weekend, the Los Angeles Kings and the Vancouver Canucks, of the National Hockey League, played the first of three annually-held preseason games at the Vivint Smart Home Arena. Although the turnout was low, it was a clear sign that the USC’s mission for the next few years is to bring outside venues into the state, especially venues associated with its schools and universities.
The Pac-12 Gymnastics Championship is slated to be held on Mar. 23, 2019, at the Maverik Center in West Valley City.