Gymnastics: Flawless

Ashley Postell didn’t need to put another mark in the Utah gymnastics record book to establish herself as one of the best gymnasts ever to don a Red Rock leotard, but on Friday night against Minnesota, she did it anyway.

Led by her perfect score on vault, Postell scored a 39.800 in the all-around, which tied Kristen Kenoyer, Theresa Kulikowski and Melissa Vituj for fourth on the list of top all-around scores in team history. Postell’s 10.0 on vault was the first perfect score for Utah since she posted a 10.0 on beam and Annabeth Eberly’s same score on vault on March 18, 2005.

As the anchor in the vault lineup, Postell cruised down the runway before catapulting off the vault with a Yerchenko half-on, front pike with a half twist. The mouthful is considered one of the hardest vaults in college gymnastics. Given the difficulty, Postell said she has never completely stuck the landing in competition — that is until Friday.

“I don’t remember ever sticking the landing completely,” Postell said. “I’ve sort of stuck it, but not completely. Hopefully it’s the first of many.”

Utah head coach Greg Marsden said it was the best vault he’s seen the senior perform at the U. Postell turned her back on the preliminary scores and only realized her accomplishment when the two vault judges’ scores were combined and posted.

Had Postell been watching the preliminary scores, she would have noticed that as judge Cathy Bennion was revealing the 10.0 she gave Postell, judge Mary Ann Mahoney was busy changing the 9.95 she initially scored Postell’s vault into a score that mirrored Bennion’s. A similar incident involving score swapping happened in 2005 during Eberly’s perfect vault.

The judges were not made available to the media after the meet.

Despite how Postell earned the 10.0, it helped fuel her teammates toward the best overall team score since Eberly and Postell’s perfect scores helped the team post a 197.725 nearly three years ago.

“It’s really exciting.” Postell’s teammate Kristina Baskett said. “I’m really glad that in college we still have the opportunity to get a 10.0. The crowd loves it. It’s every gymnast’s dream to get a 10.0. To see someone do it, you know there’s hope for us all. Of course it boosts our team score, and it gets us excited because it’s all of our dreams to do that and accomplish that.”

Postell nearly ended her night with another 10.0 when Mahoney and Bennion teamed up once again to judge the floor competition. After Postell’s nearly flawless routine was over, Bennion awarded Postell another 10.0, but this time Mahoney did not change her 9.950 scoring, giving Postell a career-high 9.975 on the event.

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