Utah gymnastics claimed the first Pac-12 conference title for the University of Utah since joining the Pac-12 when they were the 2014 Pac-12 champions. Utah's 197.925 last year is the best score in the three-year history of the Pac-12 Championship. The 2015 No. 4 Red Rocks (11-1, 6-0 Pac-12) look to defend their Pac-12 title on Saturday. The meet was moved from Tempe, Ariz. to Salt Lake City, Utah (to accommodate a potential NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament conflict in Tempe) , so the top seeded Red Rocks will have the hometown advantage.
Teams were seeded into the Pac-12 Championship according to their regional qualifying score (RQS), which also determines the national rankings. Seven of the eight Pac-12 teams enter the conference championship ranked in the nation's top 25. The top four seeds are No. 4 Utah (197.605 RQS), No. 7 UCLA (197.130), No. 12 Oregon State (196.550) and No. 13 Stanford (196.530). Competing in the afternoon session are No. 17 Arizona (196.290), No. 20 California (196.190), No. 22 Washington (195.960) and Arizona State (194.425). Teams and individual finishes at the Pac-12 Championship are determined by score, regardless of session.
Utah finished the season undefeated at home, usually competing in front of a capacity crowd at the Huntsman Center. In the final home meet of the 2015 season (against Michigan), the Red Rocks set a new record for the largest crowd to watch a college gymnastics meet with 16,019 fans in attendance. This broke their previous record of 15,558 vs. Florida in 2011. They also broke their record set in 2014 of highest average attendance with 14,950, essentially the capacity of the Huntsman Center.
Utah is led by co-head coaches Greg and Megan Marsden, who split the 2014 Pac-12 Coach of the Year award. Greg is in his 40th season at Utah and is the NCAA career leader in wins (1,029-206-7). He is the coached Utah gymnastics for the program's entire existence. Megan is in her sixth year as co-head coach (and 31st year on staff) and has a career record of 113-45-1.
It will be the final meet at the Huntsman Center for Utah's excellent senior gymnasts: Georgia Dabritz, Corrie Lothrop, Becky Tutka and Tory Wilson, all of whom are all first-team All-Americans. Dabritz's seven perfect 10.0 scores is tied for third in school history with former U.S. Olympian Missy Marlowe (1989-92). Dabritz's five 10.0 scores on bars ranks second behind Theresa Kulikowski (7). Dabritz also has a 10.0 on vault and floor. Dabritz was named the Pac-12 Gymnastics Scholar-Athlete of the Year after winning Pac-12 Gymnast of the Week four times and Pac-12 Specialist of the Week twice. Dabritz, who carries a cumulative GPA of 3.78, is pursuing dual bachelor degrees in health, society and policy, and health education. Tutka holds the school record for consecutive routines without a fall (77). She is 77-of-77 in her career.
Utah has three returning Pac-12 individual champions: Wilson is the defending all-around champion, while Dabritz was the 2014 champion on vault, bars and floor. Dabritz was also the 2012 Pac-12 uneven bar champion and Lothrop won the 2012 Pac-12 all-around title.
Utah won the Pac-12 regular season title with a 6-0 league record, handing second-place UCLA its only loss of the season. The Utes won both the regular season and tournament titles in 2014. Utah is 320-56-4 (85%) all-time against Pac-12 teams. Utah's series record against each team follows: Arizona (56-0-0), Arizona State (69-16-1), California (13-0-0), Oregon State (63-9-0), Stanford (23-6-0), UCLA (48-25-1), and Washington (48-0-2). Three Pac-12 teams qualified into the NCAA Championships last year, with Utah placing seventh, UCLA eighth and Stanford ninth.
Utah is ranked No. 1 in the nation this week on both vault and bars. Dabritz is ranked No. 1 in the nation on the uneven bars for the fourth-straight week with a near-perfect 9.975 regional qualifying score. The Utes have four vaulters ranked in the top 25, led by No. 3 Dabritz. Wilson is the Pac-12's top-ranked all-arounder and is No. 9 in the nation with a 39.485 RQS. Utah set the Pac-12 Championship attendance record in 2012 with a two-session total of 19,374 (8,495 for the afternoon session and 10,879 at night).
After the Pac-12 Championship meet, the Red Rocks will head off to NCAA Regionals on April 4. The location where Utah will compete has not yet been announced. The NCAA Championships, which follow Regionals, will start on April 17 in Fort Worth, Texas.