Ashley Postell scored her first 10.0 and the team's first of 2005.
March 11, 2005
SALT LAKE CITY -
The No. 1 ranked Utah gymnastics team put on a top-ranked performance Friday in the Huntsman Center, sprinting past Washington, 197.850-195.175. It was the best score of the year for Utah (10-2) and its eighth-best ever.
The stage was hardly set for such a phenomenal performance. The university started its spring break today, the beautiful weather outdoors made it hard to come inside, the meet was going head-to-head with the televised Utah-UNLV men's Mountain West Conference semi-final basketball game, several Utes were battling illness and the opponent wasn't ranked for the first time in weeks.
But Utah vaulted out to a 49.525-48.675 lead on the first event and never looked back. The late-arriving crowd swelled to 10,505 in plenty of time to see freshman Ashley Postell record the team's first 10.0 of the year. It came, not surprisingly, on the balance beam, where she was the 2002 World Champion.
Postell set or tied three career highs in adding three victories to her team best-total of 18. In a dominating performance, she scored a 9.90 on vault, 9.95 on bars, 10.0 on beam and a 39.775 in the all-around--the fifth best total in school history. Her competition, as has been the case of late, came from within. Sophomore Nicolle Ford scored a career-best 39.650 to place second in the all-around and senior Annabeth Eberle was third (39.575). Ford tied for first on the vault with Rachel Tidd (9.925) and Eberle won floor with a 9.95.
Utah started things off with its best vault score of the season, a 49.525, and held a comfortable lead over Washington (48.675), which had two falls on the bars. Four Utes set or tied career highs: Gabriella Onodi (9.80), Jessica Duke (9.90), Ford (9.925) and Postell (9.925).
Then Utah really went to work. In a beam set reminiscent of the season-best effort at Georgia three weeks ago, all six Utes nailed their beam sets. Onodi pirouetted to a career-best 9.875 to start the event, followed by a 9.825 by Kristen Riffanacht. And, were it not for Postell's perfection, Gritt Hofmann would have provided the storyline on the beam. Hofmann, competing with a recently broken finger and a lingering wrist injury, was a last-minute replacement for the ill Tidd at the third position and gutted out a 9.80 routine. Ford walked through her routine without a doubt on her mind and scored a 9.95 and a step on Eberle's dismount was the only flaw in a 9.875 routine. Taking advantage of the fact that she didn't have to hit for a big team score, a relaxed Postell went out and got the first 10.0 of her young college career. The meet was all but over by then, with Utah holding a whopping 148.375-147.000 lead entering the final rotation.
With Tidd out of the floor lineup, Marsden juggled the order and inserted Riffanacht at the first position. Good move. Riffanacht scored a 9.85 in her first floor routine in over a month. Onodi completed her best meet as a Ute by scoring yet another career best--this time a 9.875--in a performance no doubt inspired by the presence of her boyfriend from Hungary in the stands. Ford scored a 9.85 and Postell and 9.925, setting up Eberle, who hit her upgrades and scored a meet-winning 9.95. Hofmann finished with a 9.625 after a big step out of bounds on her final double back.