A new era begins for Utah gymnastics this Friday. Former head coach Greg Marsden retired in April, after forty years of coaching the Red Rocks. In his place will be his wife, Megan Marsden, and Tom Farden as co-head coaches when the Red Rocks take the floor on Friday night at the Huntsman Center for the annual Red Rocks preview.
The intra-squad meet will divide the Red Rocks into two teams who will compete against each other. The team will be introduced with a fireworks display and will be available to sign posters after the meet. Santa and Mrs. Claus will even be making an appearance in the Kids Zone for those fans with small children.
The event will give Utah fans their first look at a Utah gymnastics program without Greg Marsden and with some fresh faces on the team. Four freshman will be making their debut as Red Rocks. Shannon McNatt, Makenna Merrell, Erika Muhaw and Sabrina Schwab all join the Red Rocks program after experiencing success at the Junior Olympic Championships, with McNatt and Schwab being elite qualifiers.
There will be plenty of familiar faces this season for the Red Rocks as well. All-Americans Kailah Delaney, Breanna Hughes, Kassandra Lopez, Kari Lee, and Samantha Partyka all return this season to the team. Along with them, senior Haley Lange, junior Baley Rowe and sophomores Tiffani Lewis and Maddy Stover return as letter winners.
The Red Rocks open their season on January 8th at the Huntsman Center with a non-conference meet against BYU. The Red Rocks will travel down to Cedar City the following week to take on Southern Utah before beginning Pac-12 competition on January 23rd against Oregon State.
The Utes will have two more important non-conference meets later in the season. The first comes on March 4th when the Utes travel to Ann Arbor to take on the Michigan Wolverines who finished ranked sixth in the country last season. Utah will then host Georgia, who finished last season ranked tenth in the NCAA.
Utah will be trying to three-peat as Pac-12 champions this season, but it won't be easy. The Red Rocks face the fourth hardest schedule in the country as rated by NCAA Gym News. The conference schedule alone will prove tough, as the Red Rocks head out on the road against UCLA, Stanford and California and take on Washington, Arizona and Oregon State at home. The Red Rocks will also need to replace 16 time All-American and NCAA uneven bar champion Georgia Dabritz, who graduated last year.The Pac-12 will televise the BYU and Georgia meets as well as the entire Pac-12 slate.
The Red Rocks Preview opens it's door at 5:30 and the action begins at 7 pm at the Huntsman Center. Admission is free.