A career-high 9.975 by Nicolle Ford helped her to an all-around tie.
Jan. 27, 2006
SALT LAKE CITY -
To no one's surprise, the No. 2-ranked Utah gymnasts overwhelmed unranked Southern Utah and Utah State in a tri-meet in the Huntsman Center Friday. But what heated up the crowd of 12,563 that braved snowy conditions to come was how Utah went about the total dismantling.
New lineups, new upgrades and "old" scores combined to create an earsplitting atmosphere in the Huntsman Center. Utah's season-best 197.20 score easily outdistanced runner-up Southern Utah (193.175) and Utah State (192.675).
Said Nicolle Ford who tied with Ashley Postell for the all-around title, "With the new scoring, I didn't think we'd ever hit a 197 again." Added Postell, "We made a big step up. Everyone was hitting routines and when we saw those high scores, it just put us on more of a roll."
Speaking of a roll, Ford and Postell were nothing less than dazzling while battling for the all-around title. Ford wasn't even supposed to compete in the all-around--much less win it--in order to rest her injured wrist. But when Nina Kim came down with the flu, back into the all-around lineup went Ford. She won the two events she has been able to train in practice--scoring career highs on both. On bars, she flirted with perfection, scoring a 9.975, and she tied for the beam title with Gritt Hofmann--both with a 9.95.
But she couldn't shake Postell, who is coming back strong from an injury of her own that caused her to miss the eight weeks of training leading into the season. Trailing Ford in the all-around standings by a tenth of a point after three rotations, Postell performed an "international" floor routine to win the event (9.925) and move into a tie for the all-around.
For the first time in college, Postell performed a tuck Arabian double front, a move rarely seen in college, in her first pass. Then she took it two steps further, adding a back two-and-a-half, punch front and finishing with a triple twist.
Ironically, it was warming up for a double Arabian in practice that caused Postell to tear a ligament in her elbow. This time, she just tore up the competition. "I feel like things are starting to come easier. The only way for me to get my confidence back was to hit a bar routine (she had falls in the first two meets of the season, before hitting last week's routine and scoring a 9.875 tonight) and upgrade this floor routine successfully."
Freshman Kristina Baskett won the vault, but took herself out of a chance to win her second straight all-around by falling off the beam. Her mishap was quickly forgotten when Hofmann responded with a career-best 9.95, followed by a 9.95 by Ford and a 9.925 by Postell. Utah's 49.45 beam score--easily its best of the year--was also the best event score so far.