Attendance record in sight

By Bryan Chouinard, Staff Writer

All season, Utah has been on pace to surpass its own single-season attendance record that was set back in 1993. That year the Red Rocks averaged 13,164 spectators per meet, which has remained the record for 16 years. But that number will almost certainly fall when Utah concludes its 2009 home schedule Friday, hosting the No. 5 Florida Gators.

The Red Rocks came back off the bye week Friday against Arizona State and did so in front of one of the largest crowds of the year8212;14,453. Friday night’s crowd beat Utah’s season average of 13,616 by an astonishing 837 fans.

In order to break the 16-year-old record, Utah will need at least 10,910 fans to come out to the Huntsman Center on Friday night to watch the Red Rocks take on Florida. Barring any surprises, the record will fall Friday for many reasons.

First, Florida and Utah have developed a cross-country rivalry during the past four years. Florida has gotten the best of the Red Rocks the past three times the two teams have met in the regular season, including two years ago at the Huntsman Center.

But Utah has had the upper hand over the Gators when it counts most8212;in nationals. Although Utah has struggled against Florida in the regular season, the Red Rocks have been 4-0 against the Gators at the National Championships for the past four years.

Senior Night should also bolster Utah’s attendance, as it will be the final home meet for the storied careers of Nina Kim and Kristina Baskett, two fan favorites.

Baskett is a seven-time All-American in her time at Utah and leads the Red Rocks this season with 23 wins. During the course of her career, Baskett has accumulated 76 career wins, 22 scores of 9.90 or higher, has hit 193 of 209 career routines and was the 2006 national champion on the uneven bars as a freshman.

Kim has competed in all but two all-around competitions this season and won the all-around in February when Utah faced Nebraska on the road. Eight of Kim’s 12 career victories have come this season as the senior has set career highs this year in the all-around competition as well as on vault and beam. Kim has hit 33 of 34 routines this year and has hit 157-165 routines during her career at Utah.

Red Rocks stuck at No.2

For the third straight week, Utah came in as the No. 2 team in the country, behind Georgia, in Monday’s rankings. Utah has been ranked as one of the top two teams in the country all but one week this season and spent three straight weeks in the top spot from Feb. 2 to Feb. 22.

The Red Rocks ranked second on vault (49.365) and bars (49.325) this week, third on the floor (49.285) and have managed to climb to fifth in the nation on the beam, averaging 49.175.

[email protected]

Nate Sorenson

Jamie Deetscreek and the Red Rocks had a solid outing last Friday against Arizona State, but the little things are expected to be tuned up for Friday?s meet with Florida.