NCAA Gymnastics region field announced, Florida in North Central Region in Denver

The No. 1 University of Florida gymnastics team will travel to Denver, Colo., as the top seed in the NCAA North Central Region, set for Saturday, April 2. Start time is set for 8 p.m. (ET) in the University of Denver’s Magness Arena. The NCAA Gymnastics Committee announced the fields for each of the six 2011 NCAA Region Championships sites Monday.

The top two teams and the top two all-around competitors (who are not on an advancing team) from each region site advances to the NCAA Championships, set for April 15-17 at the Wolstein Center in Cleveland, Ohio. Last year, UF won its sixth consecutive regional title at the NCAA North Central Region held in Salt Lake City, Utah, and finished fifth at the NCAA Championships in Gainesville. The Gators advanced to nationals 28 times in the 29-year history of the NCAA Gymnastics Championships. Utah is the nation’s only team to qualify for each of the 29 previous NCAA Championships.

No.12 Arkansas and No. 13 Boise State are the other seeded teams at the NCAA North Central Regional. Florida split in its two meetings with Arkansas this season. The Razorbacks handed UF its first defeat of the season, 196.70-196.10, in Fayetteville, Ark., on Feb. 25. In last Saturday’s Southeastern Conference Championships in Birmingham, Ala., Florida was second (196.975) and Arkansas finished fourth (195.80). Florida last faced Boise State in 2010 NCAA Regional competition. Florida won the 2010 North Central Regional at 197.675 and Boise State was fourth (195.95).

No. 19 Denver, No. 20 Arizona and No. 27 BYU round out the field for the North Central Regional site. Denver head coach Melissa Kutcher-Rinehart is a Florida graduate and was a freshman on the Gators’ 1989 SEC championship team. Florida will open competition on the floor exercise.

The top 18 teams, nationally, based on regional qualifying score (RQS) were paired into the six regions (three per region). Each region site contains one team each from the nation’s No. 1-6, No. 7-12, and No. 13-18 ranking positions. The final three spots in each regional were filled from teams ranked 19-36 by RQS. The committee tried to keep those teams within their own region as much as possible.

In addition five all-around competitors (who are not on a qualifying team) and one individual specialist per event advance to each of the six regions. The all-around competitors and event specialists came from within the region.

The National Qualifying Score (NQS) determines the pairings for day one of the team competition at the NCAA Championships. The NQS is calculated by adding a team’s RQS and score from the regional meet. Teams will be ranked 1 to 12 based on the NQS. Teams 1, 4, 5, 8, 9 and 12 will be placed in Group A; and teams 2, 3, 6, 7, 10 and 11 placed in Group B. The NCAA Championships’ host team and its corresponding group will compete in the second session on April 15. A random draw will be used to determine competition session if the host team does not qualify.