The cheers started before the meet for Utah's three seniors and exploded for Ashley Postell's perfect beam routine. That was followed by another loud ovation for Katie Kivisto as the Red Rocks began their final rotation on floor comfortably ahead of rival BYU. Before the final two events of the night there was a standing ovation for Jessica Duke when she completed her bars routine for the final time in front of the packed Utah crowd.
Utah coach Greg Marsden was pleased with the results Friday but unsure whether the 197.10 score will help Utah move up in the regional rankings but confident for the next two weeks his team needs only concentrate in practice on refining their routines and sticking landings.
For Postell, Duke and Kivisto, each sees the end of their gymnastics careers, but each expressed satisfaction with their final home performances and each is looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead at regionals and another likely appearance at nationals.
"It was an emotional night," Kivisto said after her 9.725 floor routine. "Emotional but in a good way. I love gymnastics, but it's now time to move on."
Marsden was especially pleased that Kivisto had done an upgraded routine for her final night and recorded a solid score with it.
"It's been a lot of fun," added Duke, who scored a 9.85 on her bars routine after not practicing all week due to a nagging back injury. "It was also good to see many of my friends (on BYU's squad) who are seniors now and to perform for the last time in front of all these people. I was also glad I got to go second so I could savor the moment and relax."
Marsden had excused Duke from practice all week so she could rest up, confident she would be OK for her final meet, and she didn't disappoint.
Marsden was more worried about Postell, who he said arrived at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in not a very good mood.
"I think she was reading your reports," Marsden said to the press corps. "I was afraid she may be putting too much pressure on herself."
He needn't have worried. Postell posted 9.9s on both vault and bars, then did her signature beam routine. She appeared to rush through the middle section but nailed her handstands and flips. When she stuck her double twisting landing, the crowd knew it had seen a great routine. The judges rewarded her with a perfect 10.
"If the judges said it was a 10, who am I to argue?" Postell said. "I'm with the judges."Comment on this story
For her floor routine, Postell returned to her former music but still landed her double Arabian starting pass, a 2 1/2 twist second tumbling pass and ending with her triple twist dismount.
Her 39.725 was the best all-around score of the meet. And her four individual titles ties her with Theresa Kulikowski for most gymnastic titles (112) in school history.
"I didn't know," she said. "I'm not focused on that right now. We have regionals and nationals ahead of us, and that's what I'm focused on."For Marsden, that must be satisfying knowing he's got this team's attention and they all including his three seniors can see the light at the end of the gymnastics tunnel.