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Utah gymnastics: Red Rocks' depth gets a real test

A little adversity can be a good thing, Utah's Kim says

Published: Saturday, March 8 2008 1:06 a.m. MST

Though she didn't ask for it, Ute gymnast Nina Kim was more than welcoming of the ugly meet second-ranked Utah experienced Friday night against No. 7 Oregon State. The junior was quick to point out that Utah has enjoyed a great ride this season, reeling off win after win, and that it was good to be reminded bad meets can still happen.

"Today we messed up and we know we have to get it into gear Monday morning," said Kim. "The good thing tonight was we showed we can still be strong when somebody is down."

Kim was referring to two falls by star Ashley Postell. But Postell wasn't the only one struggling on the night. Kristina Baskett had a 9.65 on the bars and 9.775 on beam, unusual scores for her, while Daria Bijak fought all night to muster up energy after battling the flu this week.

"We depend on Ashley all of the time and she's saved us a lot," said Annie DiLuzio. "It says a lot of the depth of the team when others can step up and see things aren't going well."

DiLuzio was another key contributor besides Kim. DiLuzio's 9.9 on the floor was her third event win of the season—all coming on floor. Kim kicked off the meet with a 9.9 on vault and then grabbed her third win of the season with a 9.85 on beam. Gael Mackie's 9.875 on the bars earned her her first win.

"Gael's (Mackie) bars were beautiful. Steph (Neff) coming back and doing a nice floor—back in the lineup that's big for us. Nina back on vault and basically sticking that first vault for us," said Utah coach Greg Marsden of some of the highlights.

Utah's ability to pull the win out at 196.30-195.15, reaffirmed Kim's opinion that obstacles are not always unwelcome and can motivate.

"I kind of had a breakdown the past couple of weeks," said Kim who had struggled with bouts of the flu and a sore foot. "Greg (Marsden) said it will be OK, nobody's perfect. It was nice to be out there and hit my routines."

DiLuzio said it's good for the team to be pushed as well.

"You get the start in the lineup, you have to take advantage of your opportunity," said DeLuzio. "That's what helps make this team strong is everyone stepping up and chipping in."

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