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SEATTLE - Ashley Postell, one of Utah's most consistent gymnasts last year, had her troubles continue on the uneven bars Friday when she lost her momentum and had to take an extra fling as she went to the low bar. Postell scored just 9.2. She fell in the season opener at UCLA, scoring a 9.0.
Visibly upset after her mistake Friday, Postell got herself back together on the vault rotation. She threw a Yurchenko half on, front pike, half twist off. If it sounds crazy, it is, with Postell resembling something that got spit out of a blender as she went over the horse. Only a few gymnasts in the country perform the complicated trick. Friday was the first time Postell has competed the vault in college, and she scored a 9.9 for the effort.
On Tidd's retirement
Rachel Tidd's decision to retire from gymnastics didn't come as a surprise to the rest of Utah's team, but it still saddened the Utes.
Tidd announced her decision Wednesday. She wasn't in the gym much during the preseason, and hasn't spoken to her teammates since the announcement.
"It's sad, we know it's hard for her," senior Natalie Nicoloff said. "She hasn't been in the gym much at all, but we still miss her. We knew in the back of our minds she wasn't going to compete again because she was in so much pain."
Tidd worked with specialists in Utah and California who tried to alleviate the lower back pain, but nothing helped. She hadn't trained since the 2005 NCAA Championships.
"It was hard to see her in so much pain," senior Gritt Hofmann said. "Hopefully she can have a normal life without pain."
Luck would have it
Nicoloff is driving around campus in a bright pink 2006 Jeep Liberty. She won a two-year lease on the vehicle through a raffle at a grocery store. The drawing was random, but the Utah athletic department contacted the NCAA to make sure it was legal.
"I didn't think I had any chance to win and just put my name in for the heck of it," Nicoloff said. "Everyone knows where I am. You can't miss me in it."
Dinner with Heat
The Utes ate dinner Thursday at a Benihana restaurant, seated at the table next to them were members of the Miami Heat, who played Seattle on Friday night. Utah coach Greg Marsden went over and introduced himself and asked the players to say hello to former Ute Michael Doleac, who is married to former gymnast Shannon Bowles.
The players did one better and got their teammate on the phone. Doleac was outside of Seattle visiting family, but wished the Utes luck.
Miami plays the Jazz tonight.
No fan of scoring system
Washington coach Bob Levesque isn't among the coaches who favor the stricter scoring system in place this year, believing it went too far.
"The meaning has good intent, to create a gap, but somewhere it got out of whack," he said. "We need to come back to reality a bit. Our scores are really low, especially on the west coast. I hope they come up some."