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Red Rocks ready for regional competition



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SALT LAKE CITY -- The 10-time national champions are just weeks away from another chance at the title, but first the University of Utah's gymnastics team must pass through the West Regionals Saturday in Seattle.

The Red Rocks say they are ready for Saturday's competition. Then again, the No. 2-ranked team in the nation knows what the postseason is all about.

"It's just exciting to be part of such a cool program with such a cool group of girls, and we're excited to be a part of it, and we're ready to prove ourselves," gymnast Kristina Baskett said.

Her teammate Nina Kim told us, "I think we've been preparing for a week now for Regionals and Nationals, and we'll get better and better, but hopefully these routines will be the best we've done so far."

Utah's trip to the regionals will be the 34th straight time -- the best record in the nation. If they go on to nationals, it will be for the 28th straight time, which is also an NCAA best.

"It's what we've been training for all year, and it's good for the girls to see if they can go into that scenario and stay loose and have fun and let their gymnastics happen," said associate head coach Megan Marsden.

What's happened the last three years is three straight second-place finishes at Nationals, so this Saturday will be the perfect opportunity to sharpen their skills in hopes of getting back to the winners circle.

"At any meet, and even when we get the championship, we gotta ignore the other team. There's no defense in gymnastics. We can't go push the other team off the balance beam. So it's really about, you know, staying focused on you and your performance," said head coach Greg Marsden.

The Utes must finish in the top two Saturday to move on to the championships, which take place April 16 in Lincoln, Neb.

E-mail: kaiken@ksl.com

Kathy Aiken

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