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U. waiting on clearing house

Published: Friday, Aug. 6 2004 6:08 p.m. MDT

Her name is on the 2004-05 roster, and she and her mother have plane tickets for Utah.
All that's left is the NCAA clearing house's blessings before a world champion Ashley Postell joins the University of Utah's gymnastics team.
In most cases, the clearing house is a mere formality, but it has come up with enough delays and quirks to make all NCAA coaches and potential athletes a little nervous.
That's where Ute coach Greg Marsden finds himself these days.
"It's not a done deal until she is certified" by the clearing house, he said. "Assuming all that goes as planned, and there's no surprises," the 2002 world balance-beam champion should be on campus by Aug. 20.
Postell was home-schooled and had a busy international schedule most of the past few years, it took her until two weeks ago to complete academic requirements. Paperwork is expected to be sent to the clearing house by today.
Marsden said he expects no difficulties as the U. has kept a close watch on Postell's progress.
Until this summer, it was always possible that Postell, of Burke, Va., would not be available for this season as she was expected to be on the U.S. Olympic team competing in Athens, Greece, this month. Olympic gymnasts also participate in a fall/winter sponsor's national tour, which would have made it difficult to join the team until January at best.
However, Postell, a two-time member of the U.S. world championships team, was slowed the past year by shoulder and foot problems and just missed qualifying for the U.S. Olympic trials in June. As the first alternate, she had an opportunity to compete in Anaheim, Calif., anyway because there was an injury among the 12 qualifiers, but she passed on the chance.
That let her concentrate on coming to Utah.
Utah's other three recruits are expected on campus over the next two weeks. They are U.S. national team member Katie Kivisto (Boca Raton, Fla.) and Junior Olympic all-around champs Jessica Duke (Sandy, Utah) and Carissa Tudor (Claremont, Calif.).
The Utes, coming off a second straight disappointing sixth-place finish at the NCAA Championships in April, return nine from last season's team, including Annabeth Eberle, Nicolle Ford and Rachel Tidd. The Utes lose seniors Melissa Vituj and Veronique Leclerc and uncompeted freshman Jacey Draper (Lake Oswego, Ore., formerly of Salt Lake City).
Draper's scholarship was not renewed, and she recently left for Oregon State, where she can get in-state tuition. Utah released her, so she can compete right away. Draper missed all of last season after she had a metal rod inserted in a leg last fall to stabilize stress fractures. She was an international elite for three years prior to attending Utah, but Marsden said she likely would not have made the lineup this season.


E-mail: lham@desnews.com

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