The No. 4 Utah Red Rocks gymnastics team (0-0, 0-0 Pac-12) opens its 2016 season on Friday, Jan. 8, hosting the Brigham Young Cougars (0-0) in the annual Deseret Duel rivalry meet at 6 p.m. in the Huntsman Center. The meet televised live on the Pac-12 Networks, so fans are encouraged to be in their seats by 5:45 p.m. for team introductions. Utah is the two-time defending Pac-12 Gymnastics Champions. This will be the first meet in school history not featuring Greg Marsden as head coach. Megan Marsden continues as co-head coach, now in her seventh year and 32nd overall on the staff. Tom Farden was promoted to co-head coach after spending five years as an assistant coach. Megan Marsden shared Pac-12 Coach of the Year the past two seasons with her husband and former Utah head coach Greg Marsden. Megan has amassed a 132-47-2 record in her six years as the co-coach. Farden was previously the head coach at Southwest Missouri State from 2004-09. In that role, he had a 70-46 career record. He is currently 0-0 at Utah. He was the 2008 NCAA South Central Region Coach of the Year and a four-time conference coach of the year.
Utah faces a BYU squad that has never defeated them in Salt Lake City (43-0). Utah has dominated the overall series, leading 93-2. Utah has 35 straight wins over BYU, last falling in Provo in 1998.
The Red Rocks have five All-Americans on the current roster: seniors Kailah Delaney, Breanna Hughes and Kassandra Lopez and sophomores Kari Lee and Samantha Partyka. Lee, as a first-team All-American, qualified for NCAA event finals on vault and floor last year as a freshman. Lee is scheduled to make her first all-around, having previously competed in three events last season (having not competed on bars last season). In addition to the five All-Americans, Utah also returns startes junior Baely Rowe and sophomores Tiffani Lewis and Maddy Stover. With exhibition routines included, Utah is expected to have 11 gymnasts participate in tomorrow's meet, including freshmen MaKenna Merrell, Erika Muhaw and Sabrina Schwab. The freshman class is strong on the beam.
Instead of team captains this season, the Red Rocks will have a Leadership Council, including Delaney, Hughes, Lopez and Rowe.
Make sure to be in your seats at the Huntsman Center by 5:45 p.m. to catch introductions and get your first opportunity to see the 2016 Utah Red Rocks Gymnastics team.