TUCSON, Ariz. – The No. 20 Arizona women’s gymnastics team will host their first quad meet of the season this Saturday, March 14 at 4 p.m. MST. The program will honor its three seniors at the final home meet before post-season competition. The Wildcats will be competing against No. 25 BYU, Bridgeport, and Texas Women’s.
“All three opponents are quality and BYU is having a very good year,” head coach Bill Ryden said. “It’s going to be a high quality competition and will resemble a four ring circus with all the events going on at once. We have to be on our game to be successful, but we also have to not worry about the opponents as much as worrying about ourselves.”
“We are going to come out focused with a lot of energy and intend on going one event at a time for a successful 24 routines in a row,” Ryden added. “We’re going to go one routine at a time, put it in the books and go on to our next one. We need to have an intensity to put together that ever elusive complete meet we’ve been looking for.”
Arizona is coming off of a loss to No. 12 Oregon State, 197.050-197.275. Junior Kristin Klarenbach posted a career high 9.950 on floor. Lexi Mills scored a career high 9.900 during the Cat’s best bars event of the season (49.300). Junior Allie Flores earned her fourth 9.900 on floor, while Shelby Edwards set a career high score of 9.900 on beam and tied her career high on vault.
At the conclusion of the meet, the program will honor its three seniors: Shana Sangston, Ali Stakem and Barbara Donaldson.
“I’m proud of all of them,” Ryden said. “It is going to be an emotional night for them. I know that they are going to be excited, and I’m going to give them opportunities to go out there and do things in front of the fans. They deserve that. It has been an up and down year with injuries and so forth for some of the senior class, but the three of them have done so much for the program. I am very proud of them, and I want to send them off right with their fans cheering for them.”
Live stats and streaming will be available the day of the competition. There will also be updates on Facebook.com/ArizonaGymnastics and Twitter @AZGymnastics.
Scouting the opposition:
BYU- They're is tied for 25th place in the nation and is 2-8 on the year. Their 23 person roster features 3 seniors and 9 freshmen, including senior Raquel Willman Hatch who recently received the Gymnast of the Week award for her March 7th all-around performance (39.350) against the Washington Huskies, a meet that the Cougars won 196.125-194.300. BYU is coached by Brad Cattermole, who has lead the team to eight national championship appearances in his 27 years as head coach. The last time that the Cats and Cougars met was Feb. 17, 2012, when the Wildcats won at home 196.275-194.525.
Bridgeport- The team is 5-5 on the season and is coming off of a first place finish (194.650) against Brown (194.125), West Chester (188.525), and the University of Rhode Island (170.800). The team includes 12 freshmen and 9 seniors. The Purple Knights are coached by 10 year head coach Byron Knox, who led the team to the 2013 NCAA Regionals, making Bridgeport only the second DII program to do so. March 16, 2012 was the last meeting between Arizona and Bridgeport, and the Cats came out on top, 196.525-193.525.
Texas Woman’s- After scoring a season high 194.775 in their loss to Oklahoma (198.150) and Minnesota(196.275), the Pioneers will look to build off of their performance. Texas Woman’s is currently 5-5 on the season. They have an older team with eight seniors and five freshmen, and are coached by Lisa Bowerman, who is in her 2nd year as head coach. Before her tenure at the head of the program started, Bowerman won MIC Assistant Coach of the Year in 2002, 2010, and 2011. The last time Arizona and Texas Women’s met, Arizona took first in a quad meet.
2013 Arizona Review:
The Wildcats completed the 2013 season with a season record of 17-15 and advanced to their 27th consecutive NCAA Regional Championships. Finishing sixth, overall, at the Pac-12 Championships and third in the NCAA Regional Championships, Arizona rounded out the season ranked No. 17 in the nation.
Arizona was led by senior Aubree Cristello, who was the lone qualifier to the NCAA National Championships for all-around. Cristello was one of the team’s top all-around athletes, tying her career-high 39.475 three times as well as finishing her career with 2001.250 points, the second highest in program history.
Numerous freshmen stepped up despite roster injuries including Jessie Sisler and Shelby Edwards. Both freshmen received at least one Pac- 12 Freshman/Newcomer of the Week award during the season. Sisler recorded a career-high 9.925, giving her one of the top program scores on floor. Edwards provided depth on beam recording scores despite an elbow injury that required her to perform an armless routine.
Look Out for New GymCats:
The Wildcats added a number of new faces this season, including two Arizona natives, Krysten Howard out of Phoenix and Selynna Felix-Terrazas from Tucson. Gabby Laub hails from Owasso, Okla., while Mackenzie Valentin comes from Mustang Okla. Also added to the roster is former gymnastics manager and Plano, Texas, native Shay Fox. All of these gymnasts were top J.O. competitors and should make an immediate impact in the lineups this season.
The Arizona gymnastics team heads into the season ranked No. 17 in the 2014 Women’s Pre-Season Coaches poll. The Wildcats are one of eight Pac-12 schools to place within the top 25, including No. 4 UCLA, No. 6 Utah, No. 9 Stanford, No. 12 Oregon State, No. 20 Washington, No. 22 California and No. 25 Arizona State.
Complete pre-season rankings can be found here: http://www.troester.com/gym/Wrankings/2014/WcoachesPoll.htm
Stacked to the Max:
The Arizona gymnastics team is going to compete against one of the toughest schedules in the nation. According to RoadtoNationals.com, Arizona’s strength of schedule is ranked No. 8. Of the 12 regular season meets and 16 regular season opponents, the Cats will face eight ranked teams. Those opponents include No. 3 Oklahoma, No. 4 UCLA, No. 5 LSU, No. 6 Utah, No. 9 Stanford, No. 12 Oregon State, No. 20 Washington, No. 21 Kentucky and No. 25 ASU.
Head coach Bill Ryden finished out the 2013 season with an overall even record of 220-198-3.
What’s Coming Up:
Arizona will head to Air Force Monday, March 17 at 5 p.m. before heading to the Pac-12 Championships on March 22.