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Maybe it was the pressure of the upcoming NCAA Championships or maybe it was simply a bad day, or maybe it was a mixture of both. Whatever the exact reason, gymnastics practice came to an abrupt end for Utah sophomore Ashley Postell on Friday as she was kicked out of the gym by coach Greg Marsden.
Marsden said Postell, ranked No. 7 nationally in the all-around, was dismissed after she brought a bad attitude into the gym. Asking gymnasts to leave when they're not being positive is a common ploy by Marsden, but he acknowledged the timing wasn't good.
Utah has only one more practice, on Monday, before the Utes leave for nationals, which start Thursday in Corvallis, Ore.
"We need to come in and be positive and relaxed and she wasn't in a good place and I wasn't in a frame of mind to tolerate it at this
point," he said. "That's why we gave them some days off so they could get their stuff together and refocus on this. When someone isn't helpful to themselves, it also affects everybody else too."
Postell didn't return a call made to her cell phone Friday afternoon.
Marsden said the incident wasn't as big of a deal as it may seem.
"She needs to do what everybody is expected to do," he said. "It happened to be her today and on Monday it could be somebody else. I don't want to make it a bigger deal of it than it is. It's not like it happens all the time, but it happens occasionally. Hopefully, she'll come back Monday ready to go. It was just a bad day, she'll come back and be great at nationals."
Marsden has made others leave practice this year, including freshmen Nina Kim and Kristina Baskett. Few Ute gymnasts go through their careers without being kicked out at least once by Marsden. Postell was dismissed once last year. Another gymnast, Meredith King, managed to get sent home her first day and Greg's wife, Megan, was sent home several times when she was a gymnast.
Marsden was booted from his own gym by gymnast Lisa Mitzel one year.
"It's not fun when it happens, but he's usually right," Baskett said. "This is just a tough time for us right now. We're all trying to get through it because we know the end is close and we're just trying to hold on."