Gymnastics: Despite wobbles, Utah beat Oregon State

By By Jon Gilbert and By Jon Gilbert

By Jon Gilbert

If the U gymnastics team was in a slumber going into its meet against Oregon State Friday night, its performance served as a blaring alarm.

Second-ranked Utah (10-0) managed to defeat the No. 7 Beavers (9-3) by a score of 196.300 to 195.150 in the Huntsman Center despite two falls by Ashley Postell, the nation’s top all-around performer, and plenty of other miscues.Postell first fell on her bars routine. After completing a maneuver on the lower bar, Postell lost momentum and slipped off the bar right onto her feet.

“I knew something wasn’t really right when I was doing the skill before I fell,” Postell said. She said that she broke in new grips this week and wasn’t comfortable with them during her routine.Postell later got on beam and was flowing through her routine before slipping off after a pass midway through the performance.

“Ashley doesn’t struggle like that typically so if she does you know it’s not her night,” Marsden said.

Postell’s fall on the bars ended a streak of 49 straight routines without a fall. After her vault performance earlier on the night she was just 14 shy of Suzanne Metz’s team record of 63-straight routines without a fall that extended through the 1994 and 1995 seasons.

The rest of the teamed faired better than its leader, but wasn’t spectacular. Wobbles and steps littered routines and dismounts throughout the meet for Utah. Along with Postell’s two falls, Daria Bijak fell during her floor routine, but the Utes have yet to count a fall this season.

Out of 216 routines this season Utah has fallen seven times. Utah started strong by matching its season high of 49.550 on vault. But the shakiness began during bars and persisted through beam and lingered through the floor exercise.

“Tonight it looked like we were fighting through things,” Marsden said.

It didn’t look easy for Utah, but despite posting a season low 48.975 on floor, Marsden was pleased that his gymnasts responded with two strong performances to pull out the win.

Annie DiLuzio won the floor event with a 9.90 and Kristina Baskett anchored Utah with a 9.875.Baskett won her first all-around competition of the year with a 39.250.

Marsden approached Postell after she fell on beam and asked her if she wanted to sit out the floor exercise. She agreed that it was the right thing to do.

Stephanie Neff took Postell’s place in the lineup and performed her way to a 9.80.

“I was a little nervous when (Marsden) told me I was going in,” Neff said.

Neff has been recovering and gaining strength after she hurt her Achilles tendon at the beginning of February. Friday marked her first competition since the injury.

“That’s big for us in terms of our depth there (in floor),” Marsden said.

The Utes also set season lows on the uneven bars (48.900) and balance beam (48.875). Utah’s overall score tied its season low set in the opening meet against Georgia on Jan. 11.

“Hopefully we can use this as a motivator; a reason to go to practice Monday,” Marsden said.

Filling the Utes plate now are away meets at No. 3 Florida and No. 4 Michigan. Both teams are in good form and are likely Super Six competitiors.

Marsden hopes to train well this week and get two solid road meets in the bank.

“Whether we win or lose, I want to go in there and look sharp,” Marsden said.

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Anna Kartashova

Kristina Baskett celebrated her first all-around victory of the season as No. 2 Utah beat No. 7 Oregon State

Tyler Cobb

Associate head coach Megan Marsden consoles Ashley Postell after an uncharacteristic fall on beam.