Familiar foes: Utes no stranger to teams at nationals

With regional competition over, the Ute gymnasts now know whom they will have to beat at nationals.

The NCAA has released the schedule for the opening day of the National Championships April 21 in Auburn, Ala. Two groups of six teams will compete, with the top three teams from each moving on to the “Super Six” on April 22. The winner out of those six will be crowned the 2005 national champion. The Red Rocks have made it to the round of six every year since 1999.

Joining the top-ranked Utes in the 1 p.m. opening day session will be No. 3 LSU, No. 6 Nebraska, No. 8 Michigan, No. 11 Penn State, and No. 10 Oklahoma. The Utes have already met two of the other five this season, knocking off Michigan at the Huntsman Center, and falling at Nebraska. LSU comes into nationals after posting a score of 197.125 at regionals, the best qualifying score in the country.

The other side of the bracket features several teams that the Utes have seen this year. Competing in the evening session will be No. 2 UCLA, No. 4 Alabama, No. 5 Georgia, No. 7 Florida, No. 9 Iowa State and No. 13 Brigham Young. During the regular season, the Utes defeated UCLA, Florida and BYU, while losing in a controversial meet at Georgia.

Decided by a blind draw, the Utes will follow the same rotation they had at regionals, competing in order on bars, beam, bye, floor, vault, bye.

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