Utah gymnastics: Utes not too upset with defeat

Published: Tuesday, March 18 2008 12:00 a.m. MDT

In 1995, Utah's gymnastics team had won its first 15 meets before falling for the first time at Florida in its first-ever regular-season trip to Gainesville.

In 1994, Utah was 13-0 going into the season finale at BYU, where coach Greg Marsden pulled his team off the floor after 2 1/2 events over a dispute with the meet referee, thereby personally ensuring Utah wouldn't have an unbeaten regular season.

In other years, Utah was 22-0 and 18-0 before finally losing a meet.

Only in 1993 have the Utes ever had a perfect season, 17-0, in their 33 years.

But losing for the first time last Friday after being 10-0 wasn't much more than a hiccup.

"We weren't happy about losing," said Marsden Monday, but, "It's just not that big a deal to me because it's not that big a deal in gymnastics."

That's because the only thing that matters in getting to the postseason and getting seeding for the postseason is the Regional Qualifying Score, a scoring average of six meets, with at least three from the road.

"You try to win every meet, but I'd rather schedule tough teams, I'd rather challenge ourselves and put ourselves intentionally in tough situations in the regular season in hopes that it will prepare us to be stronger in postseason," Marsen said.

And so if Utah experiences another loss this Saturday at No. 4-ranked Michigan — another team completing its home season and putting on its senior night festivities, just like Florida did — he won't be terribly concerned, either.

"No, I'd be more concerned if we went and didn't do equally as good a job, or better," said Marsden. "That's what I'm more concerned about, that we don't let down."

His gymnasts "were upset at losing" Friday, "and that's a good thing," he said. But losing the streak wasn't a big downer.

"It's always sad when you don't win a meet," said Ute senior Ashley Postell, "but no one can be perfect all the time, and it's really hard to stay undefeated. We're pretty much over it. We kind of just talked about it a little bit after the meet just to get it all out, but Florida was really good, and they were really on that night, so it was theirs to begin with."

THIRD: Florida's 197.70-196.875 win over Utah moved the Gators ahead of the Utes in the weekly rankings that came out Monday. Utah is now No. 3 behind Georgia and Florida.

Postell, however, held onto her No. 1 all-around ranking after scoring 39.45 at Florida. She is also still No. 1 in vaulting and balance beam and fourth on floor.

Kristina Baskett is seventh all-around, fifth on bars and sixth on vault.

ARABIAN, TRIPLE: Postell seems to have mostly returned to her good outlook now after suffering the first two falls of her season March 7 in the home meet against Oregon State. She was to have debuted her full floor routine in that meet, but after the falls, she was taken out of the floor lineup.

So she did the whole routine starting with the double Arabian and ending with the triple twist with a 2 1/2 punch front in the middle pass. "I warmed up my front rudi just in case," Postell said Monday, "so if I needed to chuck it I could at the end of my floor routine (instead of the triple), but I felt good by the time I got there and felt we had nothing to lose, so I might as well just do it."

"She did a spectacular job. It was very well done," said Marsden.

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