Utah Utes gymnastics: U.'s Mackie recovering after hospital stay

Published: Tuesday, March 11 2008 12:31 a.m. MDT

Utah freshman gymnast Gael Mackie got quite the prize for winning a collegiate event for the first time in her career: An overnight stay in the hospital taking what she called "a lovely cocktail of morphine and stuff like that."

Following the career-best 9.875 score on bars that won her that event title Friday night in the Utes' home meet against Oregon State, a 196.3-195.15 Utah victory to run its record to 10-0, Mackie said she was asleep but awoke having to vomit.

"And it didn't stop," she said.

She checked in for her first overnight stay at a hospital in the United States — Mackie is Canadian and was hospitalized there for a broken back in 2004 — and her blood was checked for viruses and appendicitis, among other things.

It was apparently food poisoning from what she said was under-cooked chicken she'd eaten before the meet.

The pain was pretty strong, requiring the morphine cocktail.

"It was nasty and pretty quick because I'm not throwing up any more," she said. "It wasn't that fun, but at least it helped me get better."

She was still a bit dizzy Monday but expected to be better by today.

Sophomore Stephanie Neff, Utah's late substitution on floor (9.8) in Friday's meet after Ashley Postell had her first two falls of the season on bars and beam, was ill Monday, as was sophomore Beth Rizzo.

Freshman Kyndal Robarts, who returned to the lineup on vault (9.875) and beam (9.8) after missing the UCLA meet with a sprained knee medial collateral ligament, said her knee has felt fine since the competition, so she's perhaps ready for more. She has competed in all four event this season, the only one of Utah's three freshmen to do so.

She felt a little rusty during warmups but fine for the competition. "Sometimes you just have to feel it out, and once you compete, you're good."

Friday was the first time Robarts and the other freshmen have experienced the Utes not performing at their best.

"We didn't hit everything to the best that we could, but we still pulled together, and everybody was trying to be positive," Robarts said..

"For a rough night, that wasn't bad," she added.

HALL OF FAME: Former BYU gymnast and coach Wayne Young, the 1976 U.S. Olympic team captain, and current Utah senior Postell will be inducted into the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame during the 2008 Olympic Trials and USA Gymnastics Congress in Philadelphia on June 22.

Postell was a member of the 2003 U.S. Senior National Team from 1998-2004, was 2002 world beam champion and a member of the gold-medal-winning 2003 USA World Championships team. She is the 2007 NCAA beam champion and currently ranks No. 1 in NCAA all-around, beam and vault.

Young participated in the 1974 worlds and was 1975 NCAA all-around champion. He coached the BYU men's team 1979-87 after graduating from the Y. in 1975. He has a master's from Penn State and medical degree from the University of Utah and lives in Pleasant Grove. He's a doctor in obstetrics and gynecology for Intermountain Healthcare. His son Guard was a member of the silver-medal U.S. 2004 Olympic team.

RANKINGS: Postell's 9.95 vault from Friday moved her back into first place in the NCAA poll in that event, and she still is ranked No. 1 in all-around and balance beam this week, despite her falls on bars and beam Friday. That's because the low score of the season is tossed out in the Regional Qualifying Score formula.

The Utes remained No. 2 in team rankings, and Southern Utah dropped from No. 23 to No. 25, though its RQS remained 194.465. BYU fell two places to 34th though its RQS raised to 194.080 from 193.410 of last week, and Utah State had the same fate. It is No. 45, down from 42nd, despite improving its RQS to 192.210 from 192.185.

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