Posts Tagged ‘Greg Marsden’

Greg Marsden on the 2009 NCAA season

January 2, 2009

Greg Marsden has been coaching the Utah Utes for 34 years.

Greg Marsden has been coaching the Utah Utes for 34 years.

There’s no need to write much on the upcoming NCAA season. Utah coach Greg Marsden, whose Utes have won the most NCAA gymnastics team titles of any school in the history of the competition (yet surprisingly haven’t won since 1995), sums it up in this interview with Inside Gymnastics Magazine:

INSIDE: Georgia has been so dominant of late, and are on track to do what only you have done before: win five in a row. Can anyone beat them this year?

MARSDEN: I don’t know. They could have been beat any number of years in this streak they have. The fact is, though, that no one has. They have been at their best on that finals night and that’s what they’ve been great at, and until someone beats them on the competition floor, we’re all chasing them. They’re the best until someone beats them fair and square, at the National Championships.

Florida has been right there, right there, for the last two years, [and] I think they’ll be there again. Alabama’s been down—and when I say that I mean not in the top three. I think they were awfully young and they are more mature this year and more experienced. They have great young people coming in. They’re going to be back up there again.

UCLA, the same. There was a period of time none of us thought we’d ever beat them again. They were where Georgia is [now] and they’re poised to make a comeback.

Michigan [had a] young team [last year] but they were very consistent, very consistent. They have almost everyone back and I think they’re gonna be back at the top.

LSU made a really, really big step last season and made Super Six for, I think, the first time in school history, with a relatively young team. They’ll be back, with the potential to be even stronger.

Stanford performed wonderfully at the Championships [last year]. I think the question with them is their big [2008] senior class, kinda like us.

You look on paper and you look at the accolades of [Georgia’s] team and you do wonder how anyone can challenge, [let alone] beat them. But it happens. It will happen; maybe not this year, but this thing is cyclic in nature and we’ve been through the ups and downs.

Utah senior Kristina Baskett.

Utah senior Kristina Baskett.

People wondered if we would ever be beat at one time and now we haven’t won one since ’95. Though we’ve been second and third the last several years, there was a time we were finishing seventh and eighth and struggling. I think the mark of [greatness] is a program that has proven [it] can weather the storm: take advantage of the times they’re up and get through it when they’re down.

Marsden notes later in the interview that Utah standout Ashley Postell, who has used up her NCAA eligibility but still has a couple semesters to go before earning her degree, has been cast as a stunt double on Perfect 10, the new ABC family show about gymnastics.

Perfect 10 has reportedly started production in Los Angeles.

Utah, Arkansas to NCAAs

April 13, 2008

Ashley PostellAs expected, no. 2 Utah won the North Central Regional at Minnesota (196.95). That’s a score that head coach Greg Marsden likely isn’t going to be too pleased with, especially given that Georgia advances with a 197.775.

As Georgia did, Utah swept the Regional. NCAA all-around favorite Ashley Postell won the overall title with a solid 39.6, as well as bars, beam and floor. Teammate Kristina Baskett, who has the best Yurchenko 1.5 in the NCAA, won vault.

Arkansas, a distant second with 196.125, ought to be proud of qualifying a team to the NCAA Championships, given that they’re still a very new program (six years old, I believe.)


Utah’s April Fools article

April 1, 2008

The April Fool’s edition is a tradition at many college newspapers. On April 1, student journalists fill a real version of their newspaper with fake news. It’s a great opportunity to be creative in places where “news” stories are often less than fascinating.

The Daily Utah Chronicle has run an April Fool’s piece today on the Utah women’s gymnastics team, highlighting Sarah Shire’s departure from the team last season.


The next Postell?

March 18, 2008

Utah freshman Kyndal Robarts.The excellent media coverage surrounding the University of Utah’s women’s gymnastics team is focusing on a new darling: after Ashley Postell completes her senior season this year, reporters and Utah coach Greg Marsden are predicting freshman Kyndal Robarts will take over.

Of Robarts, Marsden told the Desert Morning News, “She is our future.”

That’s not to say there aren’t a bevy of other supertalented gymnasts on Utah’s squad, including juniors Kristina Baskett and Nina Kim, and sophomores Annie DiLuzio and German Olympic hopeful Daria Bijak.

But Robarts, a San Marcos, Texas native, seems to fit into college gymnastics in the same way as many who weren’t that successful as elites, like UCLA’s Anna Li, Oklahoma’s Kiara Redmond-Sturms and LSU’s Ashleigh Clare-Kearney.

Robarts, Utah’s only freshman to have competed in the all-around this season, is pretty cool under pressure, too — her day against Minnesota contained a mishap on beam, and she makes a great and highly amusing cover-up.

A real crowd-pleasing moment, that, and perhaps one of the many still to come if she can stay healthy.

Church, Mackie yet to compete for UCLA, Utah

February 6, 2008

UCLA and Utah made a big deal of getting freshmen Shavahn Church and Gael Mackie, respectively, a year earlier than originally planned.

Both arrived at their schools in the winter and began working out with their teams, but neither has had a score count yet.

Shavahn ChurchAfter standout 2003 and 2004 seasons as a U.S. junior Church, who holds dual citizenship with Great Britain, declared that she would compete for England in senior international competition. Which she did at the 2005 World Championships, 2006 European Championships and 2006 Commonwealth Games.

Injuries have slowed her down since then, and some saw her decision to come to UCLA a year earlier than planned as a way of throwing in the towel on her Olympic aspirations.

In her “Between the bars” online diary entry for Jan. 6, UCLA coach Valorie Kondos-Field reported that Church had not been cleared to train following arthroscopic surgery to “clean out her knee” in December.

Gael MackieMackie is uninjured, but the Utes’ lineup is really, really deep. The 2004 Canadian Olympian has competed an exhibition bar routine in two meets but has yet to be placed in the lineup. Utah coach Greg Marsden told The Salt Lake Tribune that Mackie needs to “relax and gain some confidence.”

Mackie herself sounds raring to go.

“I think about it all the time, how much I want to be in the lineup,” she said. “I came here to perform and stuff, so hopefully I’ll get to.”

Georgia opens 2008 campaign with loss to Utah

January 13, 2008

The top-ranked Georgia Gym Dogs lost their season-opener to third-ranked Utah at the University of Utah Friday night.

Georgia's Grace TaylorBut not by much. The final score was 196.3-196.2, Utah was at home, and Georgia was mostly without sophomore Grace Taylor, who competed uneven bars only, and senior Megan Dowlen. It’s likely that those two, particularly Taylor, would have made the difference in the meet.

Utah senior Ashley Postell, who clinched Utah’s win during her floor exercise in the final rotation (9.9), won the all-around, balance beam and floor. Ute standout Kristina Baskett was second and Georgia junior Tiffany Tolnay third, leaving Olympic silver and bronze medalist Courtney Kupets fourth.


No. 1 Georgia vs. No. 3 Utah — tonight!

January 11, 2008

Utah's Ashley Postell

For all the talk in gymnastics about competing against yourself and just doing your best, it’s refreshing to see an article like Lya Wodraska’s in this morning’s Salt Lake Tribune shooting all of that to hell.

College gymnastics is about scores, not settling scores. It’s about getting to nationals, not getting the best of your opponent, about concentrating on the best you can do, not what your opponent is doing.

Then there are meets between the University of Utah and the University of Georgia, where conventional wisdom is ignored, emotions run high and success is judged by showing up one another, great score be damned.

“If you gave me an option of getting a 197 and losing or a 194 and winning, I’d take the win in a heartbeat,” Georgia coach Suzanne Yoculan said. “I’m not about vanilla and fluff, I want the win.”

And so do the Utes, who are willing to agree with their biggest rival in philosophy, if only for a night.

“I get her point and I couldn’t agree more,” said Utah coach Greg Marsden, who sported an “I hate the SEC” T-shirt at practice Thursday.

Despite pre-season rankings, the Gym Dogs and the Utes are more or less 1-2 in the nation in a lot of people’s minds, making both teams’ season-opener one of the more interesting meets of the season.

Advantage on this one probably goes to Utah, who are a) at home and b) not as injury-plauged as Georgia, who will be competing without sophomore Grace Taylor, senior Megan Dowlen and junior Tiffany Tolnay. Taylor and Dowlen have sprained ankles and Tolnay is sick, according to a UGA press release.

The Georgia Gym Dogs are hungrily eyeing the Utah Utes.Never count Georgia out, however. The Gym Dogs certainly have the depth to get it done. Junior Courtney Kupets is training some of the hardest stuff in the NCAA, and she’ll be backed up by a more or less healthy Katie Heenan and sophomore Olympian Courtney McCool.

Utah, meanwhile, will compete big guns Ashley Postell and Kristina Baskett and likely also expects huge performances from Annie DeLuzio and Katie Kivisto.

Postell not focusing on Beijing

January 10, 2008

Ashley Postell is putting her final season at Utah ahead of a possible elite comeback.Utah star Ashley Postell has put her plans to go for Beijing on hold, The Salt Lake Tribune reported this morning.

“It’s my last year, and I’m not really thinking about that right now, so it’s kind of put aside,” she said. “I did a lot of new stuff over the summer, which is good, and even if I don’t do the Olympics, the summer helped me because I came back in better shape and ready to work out.”

Postell has been fairly open about her desire to go to an Olympic Games, noting it as a goal on the Utah gymnastics website. In training videos released by Utah, Postell is performing the most difficult maneuvers of the team, including a Podkopayeva vault, a double Arabian and a triple twist on floor.

Another goal Postell may be chasing is that of NCAA all-around champion, something that’s eluded her for three years as a Ute. Her former U.S. teammate and friend Courtney Kupets has won the past two NCAA titles, and Postell was a close third to Tasha Schwikert and Kristen Maloney in 2005.

She hasn’t been helped by the fact that Utah has often competed in the first of two rounds of team qualification (the same competition that determines the all-around winners) at the NCAA championships. The last NCAA all-around champion from a first session was back in 2001, when Michigan’s Elise Ray tied with UCLA’s Onnie Willis.

While the Olympics are now in the back of Postell’s mind instead of the forefront of her training, Utah coach Greg Marsden feels nothing is impossible.

“She’d have a big uphill battle,” Marsden said. “But she is capable of doing it. She’d have to get through the season and see how her body feels and her head because she’d have to be 100 percent healthy and 100 percent motivated to make a run at it.”

Mackie to join Utes for 2008 season

December 7, 2007

The University of Utah women’s gymnastics team got an early Christmas present yesterday in the form of Canadian star Gael Mackie, who is set to join the team Dec. 26.

Soon-to-be-Ute Gael Mackie.

The Daily Utah Chronicle, the student newspaper at the University of Utah, reported yesterday that Utes coach Greg Marsden is “99.9 percent sure” Mackie will be in the Utah lineup for its home-opener against top rival Georgia Jan. 9.

There is one step yet to complete. Mackie and the Red Rocks are waiting for Mackie’s high school diploma to be awarded by the Ministry of Education and sent to the NCAA for approval.

The Ministry of Education represents an additional step to graduating high school in Canada that is not present in the United States. Canadian graduates must be approved by the government in the form of the Ministry, rather than by high schools, as is the case in America.

“We’re hoping that (her transcripts are approved) at the end of this week, next week at the latest,” Marsden said.

As soon as the NCAA announces Mackie’s eligibility, then “it’s just a matter of her getting a plane flight and being here,” Marsden said.

Mackie in top form might be just the thing Utah needs to give them the edge over Georgia. Then again, nobody expects Suzanne Yoculan’s Gym Dogs to just lie down.

Sarah Shire: High hopes at Mizzou

November 26, 2007

Sarah Shire was considered a vault and balance beam specialist during her freshman year at Utah.

Former U.S. team member Sarah Shire is back at home and happier than ever, if her latest online journal entry for the University of Missouri-Columbia (Mizzou) Tigers is any indication.

I’m so proud of this team and our coaches for their constant persistence and willingness to make our team the best it can be. It’s great to be home and I’m so thankful that everyone has made this transition as easy as it could be for me.

Shire spent her freshman year at the University of Utah, where she was lauded by coach Greg Marsden as “one of the most talented athletes we’ve ever signed.” Unfortuantely, she arrived at Utah out of shape and struggled with homesickness during much of the 2007 season. During the summer, she and Marsden agreed it would be best if she returned to her home state.

Shire, a top recruit coming out of high school, specialized on the beam and vault while at Utah, tallying career highs of 9.95 in both events. She will likely fit into an all around role with the Tigers, as she is also a specialist on the floor, with a career high of 9.8….

The 4-foot 11-inch Shire was a key performer for last years Ute team at the NCAA Championships, and will bring that experience to the Tiger squad. She tallied a 9.85 and 9.875 on the vault and a 9.8 and 9.85 on the beam during the preliminary and super six rounds last season at the championship.

Sarah Shire, 2007 NCAA Prelims, Balance Beam: