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Arizona gymnastics advances in NCAA regionals after Temple withdraws due to COVID protocols

arizona-wildcats-gymnastics-temple-owls-ncaa-regionals-salt-lake-city-covid19-protocols-2021 Courtesy Arizona Athletics

The Arizona GymCats have advanced out of the first round of the NCAA Championship, but not in the way they expected.

Temple, Arizona’s opponent in the No. 8/No. 9 matchup in Salt Lake City, had to withdraw from the tournament due to COVID-19 protocols within the Owls’ program.

Arizona, which qualified for the NCAA Championships after finishing sixth at the Pac-12 meet, moves on to the regional semifinals at 6 p.m. PT Friday, where it will face off against Kentucky, LSU and Utah State at the Maverik Center. ASU, Boise State, Southern Utah and Utah are also in the Salt Lake Regional.

With the entire squad moving on, Arizona's three individual qualifiers will compete just with the team. sophomore Malia Hargrove had qualified on the vault and floor exercise while both sophomore Sirena Linton and Jessica Castles had qualifiedon the balance beam.

This marks the first time the GymCats have reached the main field of the regionals since 2017, when they took fifth in Lincoln, Neb. Arizona’s last trip to the championship round came in 2002.