No. 16 Auburn Gymnastics Gears Up For Salt Lake City Regional
April 10, 2010
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah - The No. 16 Auburn gymnastics team, coming off a fifth-place finish at the recent SEC Championship, will take part in the NCAA Salt Lake City Regional, hosted by the University of Utah on Saturday, April 10. The Tigers were selected as a No. 3 seed in the region, and will take on a loaded region that features No. 4 Florida, No. 10 Utah, No. 19 Boise State, No. 22 Denver and No. 23 Washington.
"The way things are set up, a number system is used that is designed to keep the human element out of this as much as possible," said head coach Jeff Thompson. "This year, three of the hosts lined up naturally with eachother so they had to flip flop things around a little bit. The top-18 have to travel to where they line up, no matter the distance. With that said, we're definitely in the strongest region from top to bottom, but that's exciting for us."
The Tigers will take on the toughest regional field in the country, as all six teams in the region are ranked in the top 25. The afore mentioned Florida is coming off a team championship at the SEC Championship last weekend and will host the NCAA National Championships in Gainesville in late April. The Gators have made NCAA Nationals nine-straight seasons, dating back to 2000, and have finished in the top-four in the nation the past four seasons.
In 34 years of gymnastics, Utah has never failed to advance to the NCAA Championships, and has been a part of the Super Six every season for the last 10 years.Utah set the NCAA attendance record by packing the Huntsman Center this season, averaging 14,213 fans per meet this past season. The Utes are one of three teams in this year's regional that Auburn squared off against last season, as Utah defeated the Tigers 197.675-195.250 en route to a third-place finish at the NCAA Championships.
In total, No. 1 seed Florida and No. 2 seed Utah have made the NCAA Championships in 63-of-64 opportunities (Florida 27-of-28, Utah 36-for-36). Additionally, Utah is tied with Georgia for the most NCAA Championships with 10.
"We've seen Utah several times at regional's, we've seen Florida twice this year, both those teams are better than we are, but aren't that much better than we are," said Thompson of the region's top seeds.
Fourth-seeded Boise State holds a 195.630 RQS this season, and will take on the Tigers in regional action for the second-straight season, having defeated the Tigers last season at the NCAA West Regional by the narrowest of margins, 195.300-195.250. The Tigers will also take on a familiar opponent in Denver, a team that Auburn defeated in regular-season action on March 5, 196.225-194.350 in Auburn.
The No. 6 seed, Washington, is the highest-ranked No. 6 seed in all six regions, as the Huskies are ranked No. 23 in the country with an RQS of 195.380. Auburn also faced the Huskies last season in Seattle, defeating the squad 195.250-194.800. Washington is ranked higher than the No. 4 seed in three other regions (Columbia, State College and Morgantown).
Auburn drew a favorable rotation, starting on vault, followed by a bye. The Tigers will then take to bars, followed by beam. A bye will come before Auburn's final rotation, which will be on floor.
"We really feel that we have an advantage with the rotation that we drew. Being able to start on vault, typically an event where you don't have many big mistakes, having time to regroup before we do bars and beam right together so we can get on a roll, and then we sit on a bye to get ready for floor. If we can keep it close and make it exciting by hitting our routines like we've done the past month, there's no telling what can happen."
Live stats, including live video and ticket information can be found at Utah's regional central at UtahUtes.com.
The top two finishing teams, from each of the six regional sites, plus individuals that place first or second on each event will advance to the NCAA Championships April 22-24 in Gainesville, Fla.
Follow Auburn Gymnastics on Twitter, AU_Gymnastics.
More Auburn Football Headlines
More Auburn Headlines