Ashley Postell won the all-around and two events.
April 14, 2007
SALT LAKE CITY -
The Utah gymnastics team is headed to a record 32nd-national championships with a head of steam, after posting its highest score of the season to win the NCAA West Regional. Utah's 197.325 tied for the best regional score in the nation with No. 1 Florida, winner of the Northeast Region. Advancing with Utah from the West regional was Nebraska, which scored a 196.675.
Utah will serve as the host school for the NCAA Championships, which will be held in Salt Lake City on April 26-28. Tickets are still available.
Ashley Postell erupted for a season-high 39.675 all-around score to lead a Ute sweep, with Kristina Baskett and Nicolle Ford tying for second at 39.475. Postell won two individual events, as well, tying for first on bars with Ford (9.95) and winning solo on beam (9.95). Baskett tied for first on vault with a 9.925.
From the very start, this was a two-horse race between Utah and Nebraska, neither of which had a fall. Missouri would finish a distant third at 194.30, followed by California (193.90), Washington (193.30) and Sacramento State (191.725).
The Utes chalked up a 148.050-147.375 lead over the Huskers after three events heading into their final event - the floor exercise. Utah had found itself in this position several times this season, only to crumble. Not this time. Postell's 9.90, which earned her a silver to go with her trio of golds, paved Utah's way to a 49.275 and a victory.
Annie DiLuzio and Baskett got the Utes off to a good start on the vault. DiLuzio tied her career high with a 9.90 from the No. 3 position, and after a 9.85 by Ford, Baskett broke out a 9.925 routine. Postell finished the set with an impressive 9.875 performance to bring Utah's score to 49.35 heading into its first bye of the night.
Bars gave the Utes a head of steam going into the balance beam, where all six Utes walked through their routines as though they were strolling down a sidewalk, rather than flipping on a four-inch board. Baskett started off with a 9.80, followed by the fourth-straight season-tying 9.85 score by Kim. Bijak (9.80) and Shire (9.825) solidified the Utes' chance for a good score and closers Ford (9.925) and Baskett (9.95) boosted the Utes to yet another 49.35. Utah and Nebraska had both completed three events, with the Utes holding a 148.050-147.375 edge. Missouri's status remained unchanged with the Tigers on a bye.
Off to floor went the Utes, where they didn't come away entirely unscathed, but avoided their typically misadventures. Even a step out of bounds by Baskett (9.85) and Ford (9.75) couldn't waylay the Utes after a good start by Katie Kivisto (9.825), Beth Rizzo (9.825) and DiLuzio (9.875), and then a big finish by Postell.
The 10 teams joining the Utes and Huskers at the upcoming NCAA Championships (with regional scores) are: The 10 remaining teams that will make up this year's NCAA Championships field include: Florida (197.325), Georgia (197.275), Alabama (196.70), Stanford (196.60), Oregon State (196.075), Michigan (196.05), UCLA (195.975), LSU (195.95), Oklahoma (195.925) and Denver (195.825).