Utah gymnastics team looking to qualify for Nationals

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – The Red Rocks are looking to keep an impressive streak alive. They are the only team to qualify for every NCAA National Gymnastics Championship since their debut in 1982.

NCAA Regionals are this week, and it’s always a tough task, but the Red Rocks are up for the challenge.

“We’re all super excited to be here, to go to this awesome meet,” said back-to-back Pac-12 Beam Champion Abby Paulson. “We have great teams and we’re really looking forward to taking advantage of every moment and every opportunity that comes our way.”

“We had a lot of success, I think we showed a lot of courage and who this team is in high pressure situations,” said senior captain Sydney Soloski.

This is definitely one of our scariest weeks,” said junior Maile O’Keefe. “Just because we have this legendary thing of being the only team in the NCAA to go to every national championship, so that kind of stuff is running through our minds, but we’re excited.”

One of the keys to winning a regional or national competition is to be consistent on the balance beam. For Utah, this is not a problem since they are the best team on beam in the whole country.

It’s kind of a watershed event, obviously this season we’ve had some ups and downs in this event,” O’Keefe said. “We’ve been more up recently, so that’s exciting.”

“This beam team is unreal, and as long as they can just get up there and do what they do every day, we won’t have a problem,” Soloski said.

“We have a lot of very strong beam workers,” Paulson said. “I mean we’re really strong in every event this year, but as long as we stay confident in that last beam rotation then we should be good.”

The Red Rocks have their regional premiere on Thursday, March 31 at 8:00 p.m., and if they make it to the finals, it’s at 5:00 p.m. on April 2.

“It’s that time of year when it’s sudden death,” Utah head coach Tom Farden said. “So for all the teams and we’re playing all the other top teams in the country, that’s what you do on that day. You step forward and see what your team does under the bright lights and see if they can pull off 24 routines.

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