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Red Rocks ready to rock the NCAA Regionals

Red Rocks ready to rock the NCAA Regionals

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – There have been 47 NCAA National Championships, and the Red Rocks are the only school that has qualifed for them ever single time. It’s a streak they don’t really discuss.

“Yeah, it’s definitely something everybody just knows,” said head coach Carly Dockendorf. “Obviously, nobody wants to be the team where we don’t make it, but at some point that will happen. That’s just part of sports. But we’re definitely using it for some fuel to want to continue on the legacy.”

Going into the NCAA Regionals Friday in Gainesville, Florida, the Utes just need to finish in the top two Friday and the top two Sunday to qualify for Nationals.

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#5 Utah will compete against #12 Michigan State, Maryland, and Towson. The top two of the afternoon session will move on to Sunday to face the top two teams from #4 Florida, #13 Missouri, Georgia and Iowa State.

“You really have to think about it that way, so that you don’t put too much pressure on yourself,” said senior Maile O’Keefe. “You don’t have to necessarily win. You just have to be in the top two to get to Nationals.”

“Just do our normal routines,” said Dockendorf. “You don’t have to have a lights out meet, the best of the year. Just kind of where we’ve been at the last few meets.”

Where they’ve been is at the top. The Utes have won 9 of their last 10 meets including the fourth straight Pac-12 championship. So this team is peaking at the right time.

“I would say so,” said junior Amelie Morgan. “I think we do a really good job of not pushing too early to be perfect, because you can’t be perfect 13 or 14 weeks in a row. I hope that we are peaking at the right time.”

No Utah gymnast has competed at Florida, and the Utes haven’t faced any of the teams this season they’ll see in the regionals, which they think is an advantage.

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“It’s good honestly, because you have no bad preconceptions about where you’re going or what you’re doing, O’Keefe said.

“It feels like a neutral site,” Dockendorf said. “Not having seen any of these teams, and no team is going from the Pac-12. So it’s kind of exciting to get to a big SEC school.”

“None of us have been there, so we can use this experience to kind of just go out and just do what we do,” Morgan said.

Utah will compete on Friday at 11:00 a.m. MST on Friday, and again at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday.

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