U. gymnasts back up their words

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l Onodi, Riffanacht get Utes off on right foot


Utah 196.4,

Michigan 196.1

IN SHORT - After going 0-4 in previous visits to Ann Arbor, Utah wins for the first time and hands Michigan its first loss of the season.

KEY MOMENT - Nicolle Ford (9.875) and Ashley Postell (9.9) finished the night for Utah on the balance beam to clinch the win.

KEY STAT - Jessica Duke earned a career-high 9.9 on the uneven bars.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Junior Nicolle Ford and sophomore Ashley Postell are the biggest smack talkers on Utah's second-ranked gymnastics team. But you know what? They've backed up every spicy quote with fire.

After talking about going to Michigan and "kicking butt" and ending the 0-4 losing streak here, Postell and Ford had the meet placed on their shoulders. They responded by delivering two of their best performances of the season on the balance beam to lead Utah past No. 4 Michigan 196.4-196.1 Saturday.

The two had to score big after Gritt Hofmann (9.3) and Nina Kim (9.35) fell off the beam - both were their first falls of the year on the event. Another fall would have handed the Wolverines the meet. Instead, Ford scored a 9.875 and Postell had a 9.9, the two highest scores of the meet on the event.

"That was the first time I've ever been nervous; usually, I just put my game face on and do it," Ford said. "I took out a layout. I could tell I was a little crooked and I didn't want to risk any wobbles because I knew we almost had to be perfect."

Postell, as usual, kept herself isolated and didn't know Hofmann fell.

"I knew Nina fell and I just didn't look after that," she said.

The meet marked the second time in a row the Utes have found themselves in a dire situation on the beam. Last week, Utah scored a 49.15 on the apparatus to overtake Arizona State and win 196.175-196.1.

Utah scored a 48.775 on the beam Saturday, holding off the Wolverines,

See UTAH, S11