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LOS ANGELES - Utah's highly touted freshman, Nina Kim, was in the running for the all-around crown until she fell on her last floor pass.
Kim had two options, and decided too late she wasn't going to be able to make her layout. She could have done a front full tuck.
"By the time I decided, I was already on my butt," Kim said.
In addition to stopping Utah's downslide on the bars with a 9.725, she earned a 9.825 on the vault and a 9.85 on the balance beam.
"It really was just a freshman mistake," Utah coach Greg Marsden said. "She told me what she'd done as soon as the routine was over."
The all-around title was won by UCLA's Kate Richardson, who scored 39.275. Utah's Nicolle Ford was third (39.2) followed by Kim (38.625).
And then there were 12
The gymnastics teams received some disappointing news before the meet when they learned the national coaches' committee voted down the option of giving gymnastics two more scholarships, leaving the sport with 12.
"Everybody knew it was going to be a close vote," Marsden said. "I have mixed feelings, from a selfish standpoint, we'd have more depth, because it would probably create a situation where the better teams could stockpile athletes, but that may not be good for the sport. I see the pros and cons of it."
UCLA coach Val Kondos agreed, saying it was an opportunity for "the rich to get richer," but if there was ever a year when the Bruins needed the help, this might be it.
UCLA is without sisters Tasha and Jordan Schwikert, both of whom have had shoulder surgeries. Tasha is the defending national all-around champion who may not compete this year. Jordan is expected to return to the lineup later in the month.
On a different streak
Ashley Postell, who started her collegiate career by hitting her first 43 routines, started her sophomore season on much shakier ground.
She fell on the uneven bars, scoring a 9.0, then landed her vault a little crooked to score 9.75. Postell sat out floor, then finished on beam, her best event. The 2002 world champion on the beam had a wobble and scored 9.75.
Postell has been limited in practice because of her injured arm, but didn't blame the mistakes on the lack of time.
"I probably could have used a little more, but I don't know what happened on the bars, I've never done that before in my life," Postell said. "I was just really nervous for some reason."
And back to you
UCLA has an infamous group of fans, including several football players, who love to taunt opposing teams. Utah got its ear full, then Ford gave it back to them.
"We were hearing from them all meet," Ford said. "Afterward I just walked over to them and said, 'Sorry boys, better luck next time.' "
This and that
Annabeth Eberle, a senior last year, is still involved in Utah's program. Eberle, who is completing her degree in exercise and sports science, is serving as the student coach. . . . Sophomore Jessica Duke competed on the balance beam for the first time in her career, scoring a 9.2 after falling. . . . North Carolina State's gymnastics team, which has a meet today at Cal State Fullerton, attended the meet. . . . UCLA's crew was rushing to get the floor set up for opening warmups. It couldn't be done a day earlier because UCLA's women's basketball team played Arizona on Friday night, winning 84-77. Kondos even pitched in, helping set up the floor and vault areas.