This season, the Pac-12-defending champion University of Utah Utes women’s gymnastics team is welcoming yet another installment of talent. With these four fresh faces, they are hoping to continue their league dominance and hopefully get one step closer to another national title. Amongst the touted incoming freshman class is Tiffany Lewis, a Las Vegas native who is looking to become a contributor for the Utes this year.
Tiffani and the other three freshmen have been on campus since mid-June and so far, Lewis says that she "loves" being a Ute. It’s been a big jump from her years competing in Junior Olympics, where practice on all of the equipment would take up most of the day. These days, Lewis is learning to juggle the demands of college life and the stricter training and conditioning schedule dictated by the NCAA. Most days she takes classes in the morning and then practices with the team for a few hours in the afternoon. Lewis is learning to manage her time and focus her training in the gym.
"It’s scary and exciting all at once," Lewis said. "It’s been a bunch of emotions all at once."
Among one of the scary and exciting things is the thought of competing in front of Utah’s large audience. Lewis has performed in front of crowds before, but never to the magnitude of the Utah fans that crowd into the Jon M. Huntsman Center for each meet.
"I’m used to an audience, but nothing like here at Utah," she said.
But it’s an atmosphere that she has been preparing herself for since her sophomore year, when Utah first began recruiting her. She knew immediately that it was a program that she was interested in, but when she saw what being a Red Rock was all about, she was sold. It was her official college visit and so many aspects of Utah’s gymnastics program drew her in.
"Everyone was so welcoming and made you feel like you like you were special," Lewis said. "It felt like home."
Perhaps the biggest selling point for Lewis, though, was the history of the Utes. The co-head coaches, Greg and Megan Marsden have been at the forefront of furthering women’s college gymnastics for decades, a point that Lewis did not miss in the recruiting process.
"I heard so much about the team and how much they evolved college gymnastics," she said. "It’s exciting to be here."
Now that she is part of the program and has had a few weeks to get settled, the program has been everything for which she hoped, and she has really enjoyed working with the Marsden.
"It’s fun," Lewis said. "They make sure they help you out during practice."
Hopefully that practice will lead to Lewis progressing quickly and being able to contribute on all of the events once the season rolls around. She’s been doing her best so far to try and stay one step ahead of expectations and keep up with the rest of Utes. But for right now, she just can’t wait until she finally gets to walk onto the floor of the Huntsman Center and perform in front of all of the loyal Utah fans.