Ute Gymnast Edge No. 1 Georgia

Postell wins all-around to lead Utah to 196.300-196.200 win.

Jan. 11, 2008

During the preseason, Utah gymnastics coach Greg Marsden declared that as Ashley Postell went, so went the Utes. His words came true Friday in the Huntsman Center, when Postell won the all-around and Utah beat No. 1 Georgia, 196.300-196.200 before a crowd of 13,339.

Marsden's prophetic statement referred to his All-America senior's showing at the past two NCAA Championships, when she placed second in the all-around to Georgia's Courtney Kupets and Utah placed second to Georgia as a team.

Until the very end of the 2008 season opener for both teams, it appeared as though history would repeat itself, as Georgia led by a relatively comfortable 147.525-147.275 margin. But two falls by the three-time defending NCAA champions on the balance beam cracked the door for Utah. Even so - in a large part due to steps out of bounds on two Ute routines - Georgia held a two-tenths of a point edge going into Postell's routine. The 15-time All-American erased that and more with a 9.90 score that pushed the Utes ahead on the final routine of the night.

In addition to her second straight all-around victory over Kupets (Postell won the all-around during team finals at last April's NCAA Championships), the senior won the balance beam with a 9.90 and tied for first on the floor (9.90).

Several other Utes came up big on opening night. Sophomores Stephanie Neff (9.825) and Annie DiLuzio (9.875) both set career highs on the floor exercise, Daria Bijak averaged a 9.85 on three events (vault, bars and beam), Kristina Baskett scored a 9.90 on the bars, and freshman Kyndal Robarts debuted in fine fashion - competing and "hitting" three events.



Ute coach Greg Marsden was pleased with the victory, which snapped an eight-meet losing streak to the SEC rival that dated back to the first round of the 2003 NCAA Championships. "It wasn't pretty, but it was a win. We did a lot of nice things and I thought it was a good first meet. That's not to say that we don't have a lot to work on, because we do. We had execution errors, most notably steps on dismounts and after difficult elements on the balance beam. I think the win will make the team excited to get back in the gym and work on correcting those problems."

Utah plays host to Nebraska next Friday in the Huntsman Center in the RC Willey "Breast Cancer Awareness Night." Fans who wear pink will be admitted free of charge to the meet and the American Cancer Society will be accepting donations.

Ashley Postell won the all-around, beam and floor.