One-sided rivalry: Red Rocks look to continue domination of BYU

BYU has never won a meet against the U gymnastics team in Salt Lake City. The last time the Y tasted victory at all against the Red Rocks was 1998 in Provo. The series record is in the U’s favor at 73-2 and the Utes will go for their 74th win against their rivals Friday at the Huntsman Center.

Although the No. 1 Utes have the clear edge heading into Friday’s matchup, they will have to deal with the same injuries as they did last week.

Natalie Nicoloff will not compete at all, while Gabriella Onodi is listed as doubtful because of her swollen ankle.

The biggest injuries are to Nicolle Ford and Rachel Tidd, two of the star gymnasts on the Red Rocks.

Ford bruised her heel last week and was only able to compete on the bars. She will not compete on the all-around for a second straight week, but may compete in more events than she did last week.

Tidd, who has been plagued with a back injury all season, has had a sore back for the past week and hasn’t practiced as hard as she usually does.

She competed in the all-around last week but is day-to-day heading into the meet.

The injuries have left spots open for freshmen Katie Kivisto and Jessica Duke, along with junior Kristen Riffanacht, who came off a hamstring injury to compete in three events last week against Minnesota.

While injuries mount, it will be Ashley Postell and Annabeth Eberle, the two star gymnasts who have remained healthy all year, carrying the load.

Postell is ranked No. 2 in the nation in the all-around, as she is averaging 39.425 per meet. She is also ranked No. 6 on the beam and No. 7 on the floor. Eberle is No. 9 in the nation on the vault with an average score of 9.865.

BYU is coming into the big meet on a seven-meet winning streak. The Cougars’ lone loss came in the season opener against No. 9 Oklahoma.

Although the Cougars have been on fire, they haven’t beaten high-quality opponents.

With wins over George Washington, Gustavus Adolphus, New Hampshire, Utah State, Texas Women’s and Southeast Missouri State, the Cougars will be taking a big step up in competition as they face the No. 1 team in the country.

Jaime Mabray leads the Cougars in the all-around with a 39.12. Marie-Helene Claveau started off slow, but has come on strong. Last week she scored a 9.900 on the vault, a 9.925 on the beam and a 9.9 on the floor. Her all-around score was a career high 39.375, but it could have been fantastic with a better bar set.

Claveau only scored a 9.65 on the bars.

If the Cougars have a career night they could give the Utes trouble. Their best score this season was last week’s 196.125.

The Red Rocks’ high score this year was a 197.675 against UCLA, but the scores after that have dipped somewhat.

The Utes scored a season-low 195.275 at Minnesota, but that may have been a function of the tight judging, as U coach Greg Marsden was pleased with his teams performance even with the low score.

Last week the Utes had to face a test of motivating themselves, but on Friday night the Utes will have an expected crowd of 13,000 behind them, as they face a dangerous BYU team.

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