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No. 5 Utah Hosts No. 4 UCLA Tonight

Alex Stark

It will be a top 5 showdown when the two best gymnastics programs in the West square off tonight when the No. 5 Utah Red Rocks (7-1, 2-1 Pac-12) hosts No. 4 UCLA (4-1, 3-0 Pac-12). The meet starts at 8:00 p.m. MDT. For the first time ever, an ESPN family network will televise a Utah home meet, with this meet airing on ESPNU.

For the meet, ESPN is sending two United States Olympic medalists: two-time gold medalist Bart Conner (play-by-play) and silver and bronze medalist Kathy Johnson Clarke (color analyst). University of Utah alumnus Holly Rowe and Laura Rutledge will also cover the meet as reporters.

These two teams have won four out of the five Pac-12 gymnastics championships (Utah in 2014 and 2015 and UCLA in 2012 and 2016). They have 16 national titles between the two programs. These two premier programs have squared off 80 times. Utah holds a 52-28-1 lead in the all-time series and is 26-2 in Salt Lake City against UCLA (only falling in 2003 and 2012). The Bruins went 3-1 against the Red Rocks last season, winning in Los Angeles, the Pac-12 Championship, and finishing higher at the NCAA Championships. Utah defeated UCLA in Salt Lake City in NCAA Regionals.

The meet will feature two Team USA Olympians and one alternate. UCLA freshmen Madison Kocian and Kyla Ross were part of the 2016 “Final Five” and 2012 “Fierce Five” gold medal teams respectively. Kocian also took home a silver medal on uneven bars in Rio. Utah freshman MyKayla Skinner was the first alternate for the 2016 U.S. Olympic gymnastics team.

UCLA overtook Utah in the rankings this week after posting the highest score in the nation so far this season with a 198.125 against Stanford last week. Kocian is the team’s top all-around gymnast with a high of 39.625. Kocian, Ross, and Christine Peng-Peng Lee have each scored a 10.0 on bars this season. UCLA’s lone loss on the season came at No. 1 Oklahoma in January.

The meet is a “RedOut” so fans are encouraged to wear red to the meet. The Utah gymnastics team unveiled a new leotard for the meet. The first 2,000 fans to the meet will also get a red Utah Utes’ flag.