TUCSON, Ariz. – The No. 20 Arizona women’s gymnastics team will take on the Air Force for a quick turnaround meet on Monday, March 17 at 6 p.m. in Colorado Springs, Colo. (5 p.m. Tucson time) to end their regular season schedule.
"Its our last regular season meet before the conference championships,” head coach Bill Ryden said. “It’s also our last potential away score before the conference meet, so it will be an important meet for us in respect that we want to keep training the way we are in front of the judges.”
This will be the final meet of the regular season before pushing into post-season play.
“In essence it will be our last real practice leading up to the conference meet, so we are going to take it very seriously,” Ryden said. “Hopefully, we can go to Air Force, where I know they put on a good meet, with out any travel drama. We want to go in and hit our routines for a great meet, and then come back and use it as a springboard for the Pac-12 Conference Championships. "
Arizona is coming off a win against BYU, Texas Woman’s and Bridgeport in the annual senior meet. The Wildcats earned a 196.425 for the first place finish. BYU came in closely with Kristin Klarenbach, for the second consecutive week, earned a career high score of 9.950 for first place. Allie Flores was one of four all-around gymnasts and took the first place title.
Scouting the opposition:
Air Force is 2-7 on the year, and they recently set their season high score (193.900) in their loss to Northern Illinois (195.100), Eastern Michigan (194.900) and win over Temple (191.575). The current roster features 22 athletes including six seniors and seven freshmen.
Head coach Doug Day’s eight-year career includes NCAA North Central Region Coach of the Year in 2008 and Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Coach of the Year in 2010 and 2011. The last time Arizona and Air Force met was March 16, 2012 when Arizona came out on top, 196.525-192.175.
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 the Pac-12 Championships on March 22.