Prior to the season, Utah coach Greg Marsden was a bit apprehensive about this gymnastics meet in the Marriott Center tonight at 8 (to accommodate a live KSL-TV broadcast). He looked at BYU's recruiting year and figured the Cougars could have a shot at beating the Utes for the first time in this, the regular-season finale for both clubs. Next up is the WAC championships March 20 in Boise.

Instead, Brad Cattermole's Cougars are still getting over first-of-the-season injuries and the practice-time layoffs they forced, and a 193-194 score for 13th-ranked BYU tonight could be a major accomplishment.The Cougs did precisely that Friday night against Utah State, defeating the Aggies, 193.60 to 189.65.

They're certainly in better shape than the last time they met Utah, Jan. 30, when they had only three healthy gymnasts per event and scored 103.80, but they're not all the way back, either.

BYU's just looking for consistency, having done well in three events per meet but had problems on a fourth to keep them out of high-score range. "We haven't had what I'd call a really good meet all year," said Cattermole, "yet we've beaten UCLA and Oregon State, and we're right up there in scoring with most of the good teams in the country."

But not with the great one: The Utes. They are not only ranked No. 1 with a season average .6 higher than anyone else at 196.50, they are unbeaten at 12-0. Or make that 48-0. They haven't even lost an event this season.

Marsden still has some worries tonight. It's end-of-the-quarter exam week at Utah, so practices have been light to allow late study hours. "They're feeling a lot of pressure and are emotionally fatigued," he says of the Utes. "You have to let it happen and back off (training) a litte," he says.

Utah may still upgrade in a few places. Three Utes added to routines last week in the same situation.

But a meet similar to the 196.65-189.20-186.65 wins over Washington and Boise State last week is likely tonight for the Utes. Some people, like senior Kristen Kenoyer, who tonight makes the last dual-meet appearance of her career, were exceptional. Kenoyer scored 39.90 all-around - .1 from perfection in all four events (two 9.95s, two 10s). Others succumbed to anxiety over school exams.

At this time of the season, says Marsden, hoping it's true again tonight, "Usually we have a strong enough team we can kinda coast."