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Utah Utes gymnastics: Postell breaks school record, falls short of individual title

Published: Monday, June 29 2015 11:20 p.m. MDT

ATHENS, Ga. — Utah senior Ashley Postell won five more All-American certifications Thursday, finishing in the top four (plus ties) in the all-around and all four events in Thursday's team preliminaries at the 2008 NCAA women's gymnastics championships at the University of Georgia.
That gives her 20 All-American awards — the most anyone can have — and another Utah school record, breaking the mark of 16 by Kristen Kenoyer (1990-93).
But Postell's remarkable career will not include an NCAA all-around championship.
She scored just 9.875 on balance beam — with a routine she thought was well done except for a small hop on the landing — and she had the same score with a small step on vault and finished second in the all-around for the third straight year. She was third as a freshman.
UCLA Olympian Tasha Schwikert, who said she came in with no expectations due to an Achilles injury, scored 39.60 for a somewhat surprising victory that she said she would gladly have traded for her team to have made it to tonight's Super Six team championships, which it didn't.
Postell placed second at 39.55 with 9.90s on bars and floor.
Postell said she was not disappointed at not winning the all-around, even though she was the nation's top-ranked all-arounder much of the season. "No, because we came here for team and not for myself. We're just excited that we qualified for Super Six," she said, though she was clearly unhappy about her beam score.
She was the nation's top-ranked beamer, last year's NCAA beam champ and the 2002 world champion.
She still has the opportunity for the NCAA beam title — and titles in three of the four individual events on Saturday — because she was in the top four (plus ties) in Thursday's evening session.
Utah coach Greg Marsden said he was disappointed for Postell. "You have to allow her time to grieve a little bit," he said.
"There was nothing she could be that disappointed about," said junior teammate Kristina Baskett. "We felt she should win."
Baskett finished tied for third in the all-around with Florida's Melanie Sinclair and Georgia's Katie Heenan and Tiffany Tolnay, all at 39.525, and Baskett qualified for event finals in vault, bars and floor. Her 9.95s on vault and bars tied for the best scores of the day. She scored 9.90 on floor to tie for sixth-highest score of the day.
Also making event finals and first-team All-American was Ute freshman Kyndal Robarts on vault with 9.90.
Ute sophomore Daria Bijak made second-team All-American in floor exercise and all-around but did not qualify for event finals.
Southern Utah at-large all-arounder Elise Wheeler, who finished 13th at 39.05, said she was happy with how she did, scoring 9.85 on bars, 9.80 on vault and floor and 9.7 on beam. She rotated with the home team, which had the best score of the day, and figured scoring well after all their high-powered routines would not be an easy thing.


E-mail: lham@desnews.com

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