Red Rocks head to NCAA national championship 41st consecutive year

Posted at 10:05 PM, Apr 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-13 00:05:03-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- The University of Utah gymnastics team is headed to the NCAA national championship for the 41st consecutive year.

The Red Rocks will be competing alongside three other Pac-12 teams (Cal, Stanford, UCLA), as well as SEC rivals in Georgia, Alabama, and Florida.

The team travels with three seniors, hoping to win the National Title for the first time since 1995.

Although Co-Head Coach Megan Marsden has seen nine national championships, and 27 Super Six appearances with Utah as an athlete and coach, she takes delight in the fact that with the addition of Co-Head Coach Tom Farden, this season is somewhat of a new beginning.

“I certainly am extremely proud of all this program has done over the years, but I’ve kind of relished in having a slightly different approach this year, to thinking of it as the first for a lot of things. And it really is a new era,” Marsden said.

Seniors Breanna Hughes, Kassandra Lopez and Kaliah Delaney will experience their final National Championship as part of the Red Rocks.

The seniors have also spent this season pouring into the team’s younger athletes.

“We tell them to just have fun, live in the moment. It’s something that only 12 teams get to experience, so the fact that our team gets to, we’re really excited, we're really lucky,” Lopez said.

Freshman gymnast Sabrina Schwab said the seniors are her role models.

“I look up to them every single day – they’re just so nice,” Schwab said. “I always ask them little questions here and there, like what to expect and stuff like that, so they’ve helped us a lot.”

Semifinals begin April 15.

Utah will compete alongside UCLA, a team they lost to twice but finally beat in Regionals.  The winner of that match-up, along with 5 other group champions, will move on to the Super Six.

The Super Six will take place April 16, where a new National Champion will be crowned.

“There's a lot of emotions going on. I mean we’re excited to leave tomorrow to go to Nationals, but knowing it is my last competition, there are some emotions in there,” Delaney said.