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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Journey to the north

The No. 1 ranked U gymnastics team is back atop the polls and headed on the road to the Twin Cities to compete against No. 25 Minnesota Saturday afternoon.

The Utes will be on the road for four of the next five weeks and are at a point in the season where coach Greg Marsden starts to install upgrades.

“We are upgrading the routines, but we aren’t quite there yet,” Marsden said. “We want to work on the end of our floor routines. We are moving a lot faster than we did last year.”

The Utes have faced top-flight competition for three of the first four weeks of the season and now will go up north. Marsden is interested to see how the team responds on the road against a team that is not ranked very high.

“I am just looking for this team to compete as well on the road as it does at home,” Marsden said.

The Utes’ two lowest scores have come on the road, and Marsden wants more consistency out of the team.

“It shouldn’t matter if we are in front of five people or 10,000, we should compete the same way,” Marsden said.

Against Utah State, the Utes scored a season low 195.675 and against Oregon State the Red Rocks scored 195.900.

The team is getting healthier, but will be without two of its gymnasts, Natalie Nicoloff and Gabriel Onodi.

“Gabriella’s ankle swelled up in practice and we really don’t know what happened,” Marsden said, “She will not be competing this week.”

Nicoloff missed her dismount off the bars last week against Michigan and sprained her elbow.

“She will probably be out for two to three weeks,” Marsden said.

As for replacements, Kristen Riffanacht is getting healthier and could help on the vault and Marsden may also use Stephanie Lim or Jessica Duke.

Although the Utes will be without two gymnasts, all the others are healthy- especially the big four, Annabeth Eberle, Ashley Postell, Rachel Tidd and Nicolle Ford.

“We have some sore backs and sore ankles, but nothing out of the ordinary,” Marsden said.

The Gophers are a very young team and have also dealt with injuries.

Just last week Angela Walker hurt her knee on a dismount off the balance beam and will not compete this weekend.

Walker was one of two gymnasts that competed in the all-around. The other is Laura Johnson, who will be ready to go for this meet.

Besides the all-arounders, Carolyn Yernberg is very good on the vault and the entire squad is particularly solid on the floor.

However, none of the Gopher gymnasts have scored a 9.875 or above in any event for the past two weeks.

The Red Rocks are clearly the better team, yet there are a lot of questions yet to be answered heading into Saturday.

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Utah at MinnesotaFriday, Feb. 46 p.m. at Minneapolis, Minn.

Live Commentary:

Gymnastics Top 25

1. Utah 196.544 2. Michigan 196.131 3. UCLA 196.055 4. LSU 195.912 5. Florida 195.875 6. Alabama 195.844 7. Georgia 195.450 8. Brigham Young 195.092 9. Nebraska 195.081 10. Oklahoma 195.050 11. Iowa State 195.025 12. Denver 194.885 13. Arkansas 194.650 14. Penn State 194.495 15. Auburn 194.306 16. Michigan State 194.075 17. Southern Utah 194.050 18. Kentucky 193.937 19. Ohio State 193.925 20. Central Michigan 193.906 21. Washington 193.894 22. Arizona 193.875 23. Arizona State 193.837 24. Oregon State 193.669 25. Minnesota 193.469

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