The Chronicle’s View: Don’t forget about gymnastics

By and

Long before our football and basketball teams were competitive on a national level, one program at this school was already making a name for the U. Long before the Urban Meyer era or the Rick Majerus era, a guy named Greg Marsden was dominating the sport of collegiate gymnastics.

The man’s accomplishments are astounding: 10 national championships (more than double the next closest gymnastics coach), 15 top-three finishes, Coach of the Year seven times. Marsden has coached 22 NCAA individual event champions and 244 All-Americans.

Marsden has set a standard that will likely never be matched, and he deserves the credit. The gymnastics team is one of the most popular sports at the U, but this is a year when the accomplishments of the gymnasts could be overshadowed by the accomplishments of the other big sports on campus.

The Red Rocks have made the Super Six every year of this decade, but it has become a sort of a jinx of late. They haven’t won a national championship since 1995, and while they came close in 2000-finishing second behind UCLA-they can’t seem to get over the hump.

This year the Utes have the best chance they have had since 2000. They have been ranked No. 1 almost all year, and they have already defeated many of the teams in attendance at this year’s NCAA National Championships.

Freshman Ashley Postell has emerged as one of the best gymnasts in the entire country-quite possibly the best. She won the all-around in the first session of the first day of nationals, and from the looks of it, she should be the odds-on favorite to win the all-around title tonight.

Gymnastics has never had much trouble with popularity at this school-the team easily pulls 10,000 people to each home meet at the Huntsman Center-but after becoming accustomed to national championships, interest seems to have waned slightly.

Tonight is a big night in the history of U athletics, especially in this year of all years. It’s been a magical ride so far. After what has already happened this year in Utah sports, the gymnastics team seems destined to win it all.

But no matter what happens, let’s make sure not to take the Red Rocks for granted. Long before Alex Smith and Andrew Bogut were making us famous, athletes like Missy Marlowe were putting us on the map. In many ways, Marsden’s athletes and the success he brought to the U in the early ’90s paved the way for athletes like Smith and Bogut. Let’s keep that in mind.

Go Red Rocks!