Michael Brandy, Deseret Morning News
Utah's associate head coach Megan Marsden, left, hugs Nicolle Ford after Ford's disappointing beam routine.

CORVALLIS, Ore. — Kicked out of Utah's gym last Friday by coach Greg Marsden because her hard-on-herself attitude was bringing other gymnasts down, Ute sophomore Ashley Postell picked her teammates up on Thursday with a best-in-session all-around score of 39.525 and by qualifying for Saturday's individual-event championships in all four events.

Now, a teammate of Postell's is making some waves.

Tonight, Utah competes for the team title in the 2006 NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championships Super Six finals at Oregon State University at 8 p.m. MDT.

Postell's score held up until Georgia's Courtney Kupets recorded a 39.575 in the evening session.

Postell led the all-around out of the afternoon session last year as well and finished third with 39.575, only to hurt her heel in the warmups for the Super Six team championships and end up withdrawing from beam and vault in the Saturday-night event finals.

She topped a fairly strong contingent of Utes who advanced to Saturday's individual finals, with freshman Kristina Baskett the top qualifier from Thursday's afternoon session for the bars finals with the only 9.90 score of the session.

Baskett, Postell and junior Nicolle Ford advanced to individual finals on bars, Postell qualified on beam (she was the 2002 world beam champion), and Postell, Gritt Hofmann and Ford, who was fifth in the session in all-around (39.275), all qualified for the vault finals.

Ford, however, said she may not compete in vault, the event she "despises. I'd have to think about it. I don't have a second vault (required only in NCAA event finals), and I don't like it," she said.

"I am happy about bars. Maybe I'll be learning a new vault,"she said.

Marsden said they'd talk about it, but he won't force her to compete.

She said he couldn't. "He can't chase me down the runway," she said with a laugh, adding she has another vault she did as a freshman but hasn't trained since. It made her back hurt then.

Baskett, who might be expected to qualify in vault, and Hofmann, whose specialty is usually floor, were glad to advance in other events.

"I am so happy,"said Baskett, who called bars "the hardest event, all my life. I would like to have made vault, but second-team (All-American status for finishing seventh in the session) is OK."

Hofmann, who last summer received an extra year of NCAA eligibility and has made the most of it, does have two vaults that she's used in competition but said vault "is the last event I expected or hoped to be in."

E-mail: lham@desnews.com