Freshman Ashley Postell, national co-leader in the all-around rankings with senior teammate Annabeth Eberle, is expected back in the lineup after missing last week's meet at Utah State with illness.
Sophomore Rachel Tidd made progress with her back spasms in the gym this week, and sophomore Nicolle Ford, who landed on her forehead on the balance beam Monday, is apparently OK as the No. 1-ranked University of Utah gymnastics team seeks win No. 3 tonight at 8 MST at 13th-ranked Oregon State (3-1).
"It's a tough place to compete," said Ute coach Greg Marsden, whose team lost the last time it was in Gill Coliseum in Corvallis, Ore., by .575 in 2003 but beat the Beavers by .225 point in the Huntsman Center last March.
"They're always a competitive team, they have a good following, beat us the last time we were up there," Marsden added. "We've had some success up there, but we've had disappointments up there, too.
"You've got to go in there ready to do the job, and if you don't, you're probably not going to come away with a win."
The Utes are hoping to put forth a stronger meet than they had at Utah State last week in a 195.675-193.85 win.
"I don't know which was more accurate," said Ford about Utah's two meet scores to date, 197.575 in the season opener and two points lower the next week. Utah certainly had more deductions in Logan. "We did the same thing last year after UCLA," she said, explaining the Utes "put all our energy" into meeting the NCAA champs and then were tired the next week.
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But even if they have it, it's possible, with the new stricter scoring rules beginning to be enforced more recently, they could score in the 194-195 range. UCLA, which scored 197.30 in a loss at Utah and 197.05 Monday in beating Nebraska in Los Angeles, scored only 194.50 in winning at OSU (192.875) on Jan. 14.
This is a Ute team with little experience competing at Oregon State, where the 2006 NCAA Championships will be held. Half the team is underclassmen who weren't yet Utes in 2003, and three of those who were either did not do any routines (Gabriella Onodi) or performed only in exhibition (Natalie Nicoloff, Dominique D'Oliveira) in Corvallis.Only Eberle, Kristen Riffanacht and Gritt Hofmann did routines to count there.