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After misstep one night earlier, Postell has near-perfect end

Published April 26, 2008 3:47 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2008, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

ATHENS, Ga. - Ashley Postell's career ends without an all-around trophy, but she proved once again on Friday why she is one of the best gymnasts to compete at the collegiate level.

Postell scored 9.95s on everything except the balance beam, where she earned a 9.9. If the all-around had mattered, she would have won the title with a 39.75.

Postell maintained the same viewpoint she had Thursday when she finished second to UCLA's Tasha Schwikert, saying the team's performance was more important than her own.

"It's just easier to compete when we have a competition like this tonight, because I know it counts more," she said. "I do the best I can to contribute and help the team out."

Postell has a school-record 120 wins for her career. She also finishes tied with Suzanne Metz for most all-around wins in a season (11).

"Ashley is Ashley," Utah coach Greg Marsden said. "I think she was trying a little too hard to be perfect last night. I know she was trying to nail that vault last night. . . . This was a more relaxed performance."

And again

With four national titles in a row, Georgia deserves to be called a dynasty, Marsden said. The Gym Dogs are the first to win four in a row since Utah won five starting in 1982.

"They are just a juggernaut right now, and I can relate; I can remember once when we were and everybody was sick of us winning," he said.

Lineup change

Utah went with a different floor lineup Friday, using Beth Rizzo as the leadoff gymnast. She scored a 9.8 in her only NCAA appearance.

Rizzo was the leadoff gymnast at regionals but Marsden went with senior Katie Kivisto on Thursday. She fell on her last pass and scored a 9.225.

It was the only lineup change Marsden made from Thursday's competition. He didn't tell the gymnasts who was going to compete in that spot until the team arrived, because he didn't want Rizzo to get too excited.

Individually speaking

Postell is looking for a repeat on the balance beam and Alabama's Morgan Dennis could defend her floor title. Georgia's Courtney Kupets, who won the vault last season, isn't competing because she tore her Achilles' tendon earlier in the season. Alabama's Terin Humphrey, who won the uneven bars in 2007, retired earlier in the season because of back problems.

This and that

An estimated 250 Ute fans made the trip to Athens, Ga. . . . The 2009 NCAA Championships will be held in Lincoln, Neb. . . . The SEC had the most teams it has ever had in the Super Six, with four teams competing, but Marsden noted talk of SEC domination was at least tempered by Utah and Stanford. "I'm pretty pleased the second and third teams were from the West," he said.

lwodraska@sltrib.com