U. gymnasts edge Arizona State

Published: Saturday, Feb. 4 2006 12:00 a.m. MST

TEMPE, Ariz. — It would be fair to say that the No. 2-ranked Utah gymnasts were floored by their 196.175-196.100 victory over No. 12 Arizona State.

Utah (6-0) sped out to a 98.525-98.275 two-event lead but crashed hard on the floor and appeared headed for its first loss of the year. Fortunately for Utah, the Sun Devils (4-1) returned the favor, falling twice on the floor and allowing Utah to back its way into a victory.

"You can't make mistakes like that on floor," said Utah coach Greg Marsden. "But I did tell the team that I was proud of the way they came back (on the beam) even though it appeared we didn't have a chance to win."

According to Marsden, not a single Ute cleanly hit her floor routine, and Kristina Baskett and Ashley Postell both fell.

"I thought we did a pretty nice job on three events and I don't have an explanation for what happened on floor," said Marsden, before adding, "My impression was that we were trying too hard on floor and rushed into things."

Everyone's impression in Wells Fargo Arena was that ASU had the meet locked up after taking a 147.275-147.025 three-event lead. The Devils had navigated the always-dangerous balance beam, scoring a 49.00, at the same time Utah's wheels were coming off on floor.

Let the flip-flop begin, though. ASU's Tia Orlando and Ashley Kelly fell to crack the door open and the Postell-led Utes jumped through it. "I apologized to my teammates because I told them I couldn't watch their beam routines because I was too nervous and I needed to do some mental routines," said Postell. Her mental state obviously improved because the sophomore nailed a 9.925 beam routine to finish Utah's set and clinch a team victory.

Some of Utah's woes could probably be blamed on illness and Nicolle Ford and Gabriella Onodi both pulled out of events. Ford was planning to sit out vault and floor anyway with an ongoing wrist injury, but was also feeling under the weather. Despite her sickness, Ford came up big on bars (9.90) and beam (9.875). Onodi skipped the beam and illness seemed to affect her on vault (9.70) and floor (9.75). Also ill was Katie Kivisto, who nonetheless did a nice job starting Utah's night with a 9.725 bar routine.

Winners for Utah were Baskett on vault and Postell on beam. Baskett's 9.925 vault was the best of the year by a Ute, and Postell's beam was her season-high. Gritt Hofmann chipped in a career-high 9.90 vault and went 9.85 on the beam. The return of Nina Kim to the lineup from a bout of the flu that kept her out last week was fortuitous. Kim scored a 9.825 on vault, 9.75 on bars and 9.825 on beam.

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