This week in Pac-12 gymnastics
SAN FRANCISCO-- The Pac-12 women’s gymnastics season will get underway this Friday as No. 4 UTAH hosts BYU, No. 18 ARIZONA hosts Michigan State, and ARIZONA STATE takes on No. 11 Nebraska and Bowling Green on the first night of the season. Six Pac-12 teams are ranked in the national preseason coaches’ poll, with the highest being UTAH at No. 4.
The Conference returns ten first or second team All-Americans from 2015. As non-conference meets get underway, the Pac-12 will be taking on the toughest competition in the land. The top three squads in the nation will all go head to head with the Pac-12 in coming weeks: ARIZONA STATE and CALIFORNIA will take on No. 1 Oklahoma, UCLA will travel to No. 2 Florida, and UCLA will host No. 3 Alabama.
Pac-12 Conference action will begin Mon., Jan. 18 with WASHINGTON taking on ARIZONA STATE on Pac-12 Networks.
Returning strength: Several Pac-12 squads return incredible talent from the 2015 season, including 2015 NCAA Vault Champion Elizabeth Price of STANFORD. 2015 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Toni Ann Williams of CALIFORNIA is also set to make a continued impact for the Golden Bears. Returning All-Americans (first and second team) include: Elizabeth Price (STAN), Kari Lee (UTAH), Erika Aufiero (OSU), Madeline Gardiner (OSU), Taylor Rice (STAN), Ivana Hong (STAN), Samantha Partyka (UTAH), Nicolette McNair (STAN), Kassandra Lopez (UTAH), and Christine Peng Peng Lee (UCLA).
Looking to repeat: Coming off back to back Pac-12 Championships in 2014 and 2015, UTAH has been picked by Pac-12 gymnastics coaches to win the conference title yet again this year. The #4 Red Rocks open the season at home against rival BYU this Friday.
Non-Conference slate: In the first few weeks of the season, Pac-12 squads will be tested by high-profile opponents from around the country, including the top three teams in the nation. Some of the Pac-12’s early non-conference opponents include: #1 Oklahoma, #2 Florida, #3 Alabama, #9 Georgia, #10 Auburn, #11 Nebraska, and #22 Ohio State.
Pac-12 in the rankings: The national preseason coaches poll placed six Pac-12 squads in the top 25 and all eight in their top 36 ranked teams. Utah is #4, UCLA is #6, Stanford is #8, Oregon State is #12, California is #14, Arizona is #18, Washington is #30, and Arizona State is #36.
Fri., Jan. 8
BYU at #4 UTAH 6 p.m. MT
Michigan State at #18 ARIZONA 6 p.m. MT
ARIZONA STATE vs. #11 Nebraska, Bowling Green 7 p.m. MT
Sat., Jan 9
#22 Ohio State at WASHINGTON 6 p.m. PT
Sun., Jan. 10
NorCal Classic 2 p.m. PT
#8 STANFORD, #12 CALIFORNIA, San Jose State, UC Davis, Sacramento State
#4 Alabama at #6 UCLA 2 p.m. PT
#10 Auburn at #12 OREGON STATE 2 p.m. PT