TUCSON, Ariz.-University of Arizona women's gymnastics head coach Bill Ryden has announced that Sheehan Lemley (DeSoto, Texas), Andi McCabe (Bensenville, Ill.) and Cori Messina (Belmont, Calif.) have signed national letters of intent and will join the Wildcats for the 2000-2001 season.
"All three gymnasts bring amazing talent to the program, and they will definitely add a great deal of depth in all four events," Ryden said. "They each have the ability to increase the overall level of gymnastics at Arizona. They can compete in every event, and they are all extremely exciting to watch."
Lemley is an Elite-level gymnast and currently trains at the Parkettes National Training Center, in Allentown, Pa., with club coaches Bill and Donna Strauss and Jack Carter. Lemley, who began gymnastics in 1987, was a U.S. National Team member in her last two seasons as a sophomore and junior. A product of Saucon Valley High School, in Hellertown, Pa., Lemley competed at the John Hancock U.S. Gymnastics Championships in Indianapolis, Ind., where she tied for seventh on uneven bars and finished in 16th place in the all-around. Lemley trained alongside current Wildcats Maureen Kealey, Kara Fry, Nicci Filchner and Heather Straccia.
"Sheehan is another gymnast in a long line of recruits from the Parkettes Training Center. She is an Elite gymnast and a former national team member who has so much experience competing in some of the bigger national meets. Her high-level gymnastics skills will add to where we are going with the program," Ryden said.
Last season as a junior, McCabe was an alternate for the Level 10 national team. She also finished in second place in the all-around at the 1999 Illinois state meet. McCabe, who has four years of club gymnastics experience, is a Level 10 competitor and attends Fenton High School, in Bensenville, Ill. She is a member of the Aerial Gymnastics Club, in Downers Grove, Ill., and trains with club coach Mike Leahy.
"Andi is a gifted gymnast out of the Chicago area, and she can perform some of the biggest skills in the country. She is the lesser-known recruit out of the three, but she will without a doubt be a big-time performer for Arizona," Ryden said.
Messina is another Level 10 competitor who comes to Arizona from the Airborne Gymnastics Center in Santa Clara, Calif. She has trained with coaches Melanie Weispfenning and Steve Ohel and has participated in club gymnastics for the last 10 years. In 1999, Messina won the regional vaulting title, and she also competed at the Level 10 national competition in both 1995 and 1999. She attends Carlmont High School in Belmont, Calif. "Cori is a complete gymnast and an all-arounder who will be crucial to the team since we will lose two of our top all-arounders after this season," Ryden said. "Her vault is already at a national-caliber level, and she will enhance the talent level in all four events, especially vault and floor."
Arizona opens the 2000 season on Friday, Jan. 14, when the Wildcats match up with UCLA, Central Michigan and Iowa in McKale Center.