Road test: Red Rocks travel to Nebraska for showdown with Cornhuskers

The members of the U gymnastics team seem to be completely healthy and they had a nice long week of practice, as they head into Lincoln to take on the No. 6 Nebraska Cornhuskers on Sunday.

The meet will be very difficult, as this will be the first tough road meet the Utes have competed in.

“We have done a decent job on the road but we haven’t been challenged,” U coach Greg Marsden said. It’s important for us to grow as a team. We need to win those types of meets on the road both this week and next. Both teams are very good and neither team often loses at home.”

The Huskers are very talented and this could be a very tough meet for the Red Rocks to keep the undefeated streak alive.

Next week the Utes will head to face Georgia in Athens and will only have three days to prepare for the meet before flying to the South.

“It will hurt us more next week than this week, since we don’t have any time between the two [meets],” Marsden said.

Luckily for the Utes, they may have the vast majority of their gymnasts available for the meet, even Kristen Riffanacht, who hurt her ankle last week on the beam.

“She trained well today and trained on all four events,” Marsden said. “Natalie did beam routines for us. Right now we’re pretty healthy, knock on wood. Rachel’s back seems to be holding up pretty healthy. We have another pretty heavy training tomorrow.”

The two things the Utes have mainly worked on are sticking their landings and being more aggressive on beam routines after one gymnast falls.

“We worked a lot of course on landings,” Marsden said. “Whether that translates to the meet, we will have to see.”

Fixing the beam issue is a tougher task than fixing landings.

Marsden has observed that after one gymnast falls on the beam, the following gymnasts tend to be less aggressive, since they are trying not to fall themselves.

“We are trying to do some things and put them in that type of situation and help them not pay as much attention to [falling],” Marsden said. “They are trying to do the right thing. They know that once you have the first fall, you can’t have a second one or it will count. The approach [to the beam] right now is something different than we would like to have.”

The Huskers have lost four meets to very good teams and has only had one home meet this year.

Their overall score, however, is good enough to place them in the top 10, so they are obviously viable contenders to beat the Utes.

Meet time is 2 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.

[email protected]

Utah at NebraskaSunday, Feb. 202 p.m. at Lincoln, Neb.

Live Internet commentary: www.utahutes.com