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U. gymnasts move up 1 spot

The Utah gymnastics team improved one place to No. 8 in the final national rankings after its 197.400-196.025 win over Brigham Young last Friday. The Utes, who have qualified for and will host the North Central Region Championship on April 12, will learn their opponents on Monday afternoon.

The final national top 25 is 1. UCLA 197.980, 2. Nebraska 197.585, 3. Arizona State 197.490, 4. Georgia 197.485, 5. Alabama 197.345, 6. Stanford 197.300, 7. Oklahoma 197.250, 8. Utah 197.180, 9. Florida 197.010, 10. Michigan 196.895, 11. Washington 196.715, 12. Oregon State 196.665, 13. Iowa 196.515, 14. Louisiana State 196.485, 15. Iowa State 196.460, 16. Ohio State 196.355, 17. Auburn 196.350, 18. California 196.160, 19. Arizona 196.100, 20. Brigham Young 196.075, 21. (tie) Denver, Kent State 196.035, 23. Minnesota 195.960, 24. North Carolina State 195.930, 25. Central Michigan 195.780.

No. 20 BYU, No. 21 Denver and No. 24 Minnesota will be sent to the North Central regional at Utah.

The top 18 teams in the rankings are seeded by the NCAA into regionals that aren't necessarily in their geographic area in an effort to make all regionals competitive. No. 1 should be grouped with Nos. 12 and 13, No. 2 with Nos. 11 and 14, No. 3 with Nos. 10 and 15, No. 4 with Nos. 9 and 16, etc.

However, the regional host sites complicate things because those teams remain at home. In 2003, host sites include No. 4 Georgia, No. 5 Alabama, No. 8 Utah, No. 10 Michigan and No. 15 Washington. Missouri, ranked 25th, is the other regional site.

Teams seeded into regionals are done so on an "S" curve. The No. 1-ranked team, UCLA, is to travel to a regional with the No. 12 team, Oregon State, and No. 13, Iowa. None of those is a host, so that trio may be sent anywhere the NCAA chooses.

The No. 2 team (Nebraska) is to travel with the Nos. 11 (Washington) and 14 (Louisiana State) teams and the trio should be in Washington.

As the No. 8 team, Utah should be grouped with the Nos. 5 and 17 teams but can't because No. 5 Alabama is a regional host, so entrants for the Alabama and Utah regionals will be adjusted, and the same in some other regions.

Four Utes are ranked nationally, led by Melissa Vituj and Annabeth Eberle in multiple events. Vituj is No. 5 in the all-around with a 39.605 all-around regional qualifying score (RQS), while Eberle checks in at No. 7 this week (39.585). The two are tied for sixth on floor exercise with a 9.955 RQS, Vituj is tied for fifth on beam (9.945) and Eberle is tied for seventh on vault (9.940) and is 11th on beam (9.920).

Representing Utah in the top 10 on bars are Theresa Kulikowski (tied for fourth, 9.935) and Kim Allan (tie-eighth, 9.930).