After Nicoloff's fall, career likely over

Gymnastics Notes
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PROVO - Utah senior Natalie Nicoloff's career is probably over, after results from a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exam showed she tore a muscle tendon and ligament during a fall off the uneven bars Thursday.

Nicoloff learned the results of the MRI on Friday, and watched the meet with her right arm in a sling.

"I'm so bummed, especially because this is my senior year," she said.

Nicoloff was going from the high to low bar when she slipped and fell, with her right arm taking most of the force of the fall. Assistant coach Jeff Graba partially caught her, preventing a worse fall.

"He saved me from landing on my head," she said. "I felt OK at first. It was just a freak thing."

Nicoloff will probably be out for at least six weeks. Even with a speedy recovery, it's doubtful she could get back into the lineup by the NCAA Championships, April 20-22.

Nicoloff has competed twice this year, scoring a 9.675 on the bars at Washington and a 9.55 on the bars against Nebraska.

The Hermitage, Pa., native has competed 36 times for the Utes, hitting 34 of her routines.

Plan B

Utah sophomore Jessica Duke is one of the few gymnasts recruited by both schools, but she admitted she never really considered BYU as anything more than a backup plan.

"It was good because they offered me early, but I wanted to see where else I could go," said Duke, whose parents attended BYU.

Duke competed on vault and bars Friday, scoring 9.375 and 9.2, respectively. She took a big step on the vault landing and fell during her bars dismount.

This was the place

A year ago, Ashley Postell was threatening to break the record of 52 clean routines in a row, set by Suzanne Metz in 1995, by hitting her first 43 routines. The streak ended in Provo when she fell on the floor. Postell finished the year 56 of 58.

Postell hit her routine Friday, but stepped out of bounds on her first pass for a .10 deduction, and scored 9.75. It was still her best score on the floor since scoring a 9.925 against Utah State and Southern Utah on Jan. 27.

Still on, for now

Utah coach Greg Marsden said he likes to have BYU on his schedule because of the natural rivalry and it is an inexpensive road trip, costing a few thousand dollars compared to the $10,000 for some road trips. The Cougars are the only team Utah does a home-and-home with in the same year, but he admits he may give up the easy trip if the Cougars aren't competitive.

"We'll continue to do that at this point, unless they are consistently down," Marsden said.

BYU's best

BYU's two high scores were a 9.9 on the floor and a 9.875 on the vault from Dayna Smart. BYU's Kacie Capra was the only Cougar to go in the all-around and she scored a 37.95.