Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Arizona Set to Battle Six Ranked Teams in Pac-10 Championship Gymnastics Meet Saturday
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: March 21, 2001
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    What's Coming Up - The No. 24 Arizona women's gymnastics team (5-15, 1-7 Pac-10) travels to Seattle, Wash., for the 2001 Pac-10 Championship meet on Saturday, March 24, at 8 p.m. MST... The championship, hosted by the University of Washington, features all seven Pac-10 teams, and they are set to take the floor in Washington's Bank of America Arena (10,000)... Following the meet, conference awards for Gymnast of the Year, Freshman of the Year and Coach of the Year will be handed out... Arizona is coming off a 195.125-194.350 win over North Carolina State in UA's final meet of the regular season on March 14 in McKale Center... The Wildcats have their sights set on the program's first-ever Pac-10 title... All seven of the Pac-10 Conference's gymnastics teams are ranked in this week's top-25 women's gymnastics poll... UCLA (18-1, 6-1 Pac-10) maintains its top national ranking, Stanford (12-3, 5-1 Pac-10) is No. 6, Arizona State (10-5, 5-2 Pac-10) is No. 8, Oregon State (5-9, 2-5 Pac-10) checks in at No. 13, Washington (12-7-1, 4-5 Pac-10) is No. 16, Arizona is No. 24 and California (15-9, 3-5 Pac-10) rounds out the Pac-10 field at No. 25... Arizona faced each of its six Pac-10 opponents earlier in the season, defeating only Oregon State on Feb. 2 in McKale Center.

    Arizona at the Pac-10 Conference Championship - After record-breaking performances (team total, bars and floor) this season, Arizona is looking for another first - winning the Pac-10 title... The Wildcats also are in search of their first Pac-10 win since defeating Oregon State on Feb. 2... Arizona's highest Pac-10 Championship finishes came in 1987, 1990 and 1992 when the Wildcats finished in second place... Since the formation of Pac-10 gymnastics in 1987, eight Wildcat gymnasts have won a total of 10 individual Pac-10 titles... Arizona's Stacy Fowlkes is the only Wildcat gymnast to have earned Pac-10 Gymnast of the Year honors (1993) in the history of the Wildcat program... UA will face a tough challenge this weekend when the team squares off against six Pac-10 teams that are ranked in the national top-25 gymnastics poll... At the 2000 Pac-10 Championship meet, Arizona finished in seventh place with a score of 192.950... The UCLA Bruins have won the Pac-10 title a record nine times since the conference began the gymnastics championship in 1987, and the Bruins ran away with the title in 2000 with a score of 197.700... Oregon State landed in second place (196.575), Washington finished third (195.900) and Arizona State finished fourth (195.875)... California (194.675), Stanford (193.850) and Arizona rounded out the field last season... All-American Randi Liljenquist was Arizona's top finisher in last year's championship meet, landing in third place in the all-around.

    About the Pac-10 Conference Championship - Since the inception of Pac-10 gymnastics 14 years ago, UCLA clearly has dominated the conference championship... UCLA (nine), Stanford (1998) and Oregon State (four) are the only teams to win the conference title... In addition to its team titles, UCLA also boasts a conference-best 40 individual Pac-10 champions... The Bruins have won seven of the last eight all-around titles, including 10 overall... Oregon State has 23 individual Pac-10 champions, while Stanford is the only conference team that has not had an individual gymnast win a championship... UCLA's Mohini Bhardwaj and Oregon State's Lara Degenhardt are the only returning conference champions in this weekend's meet... Degenhardt won the 1999 floor title, and Bhardwaj will defend her 2000 conference titles in the all-around, vault and floor events.

    Head Coach Bill Ryden's Weekly Analysis - "Our main focus right now heading into Pac-10s is for us to live up to our potential at the conference championship. As a team, we are practicing really well, and we have been working hard to deal with our past problems on beam. This year's team is one of the best we've had in years, and it is the first year since 1996 when I have thought that we are capable of hitting a 197 score. We want to avenge last year's meet, and we just want to go in there and let it all hang out. We are ready as we can be at this point in the season. This is the time when everything counts, and it is going to be tough from here on out."

    Scouting the Pac-10 Championship Field - Top-ranked UCLA has held the top spot in the national rankings for much of the 2001 season... The Bruins also are ranked No. 1 in the West Region, and UCLA boasts a season-high score of 198.250... UCLA's Jamie Dantzscher is No. 1 in the national floor and bar rankings, Kristen Maloney is No. 3 on beam, and Yvonne Tousek is tied for No. 4 on beam... Bruin gymnast Mohini Bhardwaj is No. 2 on bars, and teammate Kristin Parker is tied for No. 6 on vault... Sixth-ranked Stanford is second in the West Region, and the Cardinal hold a season-high mark of 197.425... Lindsay Wing is No. 3 in the national all-around rankings, and Jen Exaltacion is tied for No. 4 on beam... Eighth-ranked Arizona State is second in the South Central Region - three spots ahead of Arizona - and the Sun Devils hold a season-high team score of 197.450... ASU's Maggie Germaine is No. 16 in the national all-around rankings, and Laura Moon is No. 18 in the all-around... Moon also is tied for No. 3 on bars... No. 13 Oregon State ranks third in the West Region, and the Beavers have a season-high score of 197.625... OSU's Katrina Severin is No. 7 nationally on floor and No. 4 on vault... Stephanie Bychowski is tied for No. 6 on beam and is No. 10 nationally on bars... No. 16 Washington holds a season-high team mark of 196.875, and the Huskies are fourth in the West Region... Husky gymnast Stacy Wong checks into the national all-around rankings at No. 25... No. 25 California is fifth in the West Region, and the Golden Bears hold a season-high team score of 196.075... Golden Bear gymnast Pari Olver is the only Cal gymnast ranked in the national rankings, checking in this week at No. 25 on floor.

    Pac-10 Rotation Order - Arizona begins the meet on vault and ends the meet on the bye following floor.

    Arizona's Last Time Out - The No. 22 University of Arizona women's gymnastics team grabbed a victory in its final home meet of the season, defeating the North Carolina State Wolfpack, 195.125-194.350, in front of a crowd of 325, on March 14 in McKale Center. The Wildcats set a new school record on bars with the team's season-high mark of 49.475, which topped the previous all-time team record of 49.425. Arizona improved to 5-15 overall, while North Carolina State dropped to 14-14 on the season.

    Arizona, who won by .775, never trailed during the entire meet. The Wildcats used a 48.875 on vault to take the lead over the Wolfpack by .65 following the first rotation. Arizona's new school-record 49.475 on bars enabled the squad to increase its advantage by 1.600 entering the third rotation. In the third event, the Wildcats encountered some problems on beam, as four of the six competitors fell from the beam. Freshman Andi McCabe and senior Kara Fry were the only two UA gymnasts to score above a 9.800 in the beam event, and Arizona was forced to count three falls in its final team beam total. As a result of Arizona's continuing struggles on beam, North Carolina State narrowed the Wildcat lead to .700 entering the fourth and final rotation. The Wolfpack scored a 49.125 on beam in the final event, but Arizona's 49.200 on floor, which ranks as UA's No. 7 all-time rotation score, was enough to capture the victory.

    Individually for the Wildcats, senior Kara Fry led the Arizona charge in her final home meet, as she captured her fourth all-around title of the season. Fry matched a career-high 39.525 in the overall all-around standings, and her score currently ranks as the third-best all-time individual mark. Fry also won the vault title and tied a career-high 9.850, and she took first-place honors on bars, matching a career-high 9.950 in the event. Fry's career-high mark on bars ranks as the third-best all-time individual mark, and her career high on vault keeps her in a tie for the 10th-best individual score. She tied for third place on beam (9.850) and finished second on floor (9.875).

    Senior Heather Straccia handed in two strong performances on bars and floor, setting new career-high marks in each event. Straccia scored a career-high 9.900 on bars and finished in third place. She posted an impressive 9.925 on floor, and she won the individual floor title for the first time in her career. Fellow senior Mary Reiss tied for third place on floor with a 9.850.

    Sophomore Nikki Beyschau tied for second on vault with a 9.800, and she finished second on bars with a 9.925. Freshman Andi McCabe posted a career-high 39.150 in the all-around, finishing third overall. McCabe tied for fifth on vault (9.750), finished fifth on beam (9.825), and she tied a career-high 9.825 on bars. Senior Nicci Filchner and junior Randi Liljenquist tied for fifth place on bars, with each scoring a 9.850 in the event. Liljenquist also tied for fifth place on floor with a 9.800, and she ended the meet in fifth place in the all-around with a 38.350. Freshman Cori Messina tied for fifth-place honors on vault with a 9.750.

    Wildcats in the Rankings - Arizona dropped two spots to No. 24 in the final regular-season national poll on March 19... The squad began the 2001 season ranked No. 20 in the preseason coaches' poll... This week, 10 of Arizona's 2001 opponents - UCLA, Utah, Stanford, Arizona State, Oregon State, Minnesota, Washington, Oklahoma, Denver and California - are ranked in the national gymnastics poll... UA is ranked nationally in three events - No. 14 on vault, No. 22 on bars and tied for No. 20 on floor... Junior Randi Liljenquist and senior Kara Fry are the only Wildcats ranked in this week's national poll... Fry is No. 12 in the all-around rankings, while Liljenquist is No. 23 in the all-around... Arizona fell another spot in the South Central Regional rankings, checking in this week at No. 5 in the region behind Nebraska, Arizona State, Oklahoma and Illinois State... The Cats previously peaked at No. 3 in the region on March 5... UA is third on vault, fourth on bars, fifth on floor and sixth on beam in the region... In the individual regional rankings, Fry tops the regional all-around rankings for the first time this season... Fry also checks in at ninth on vault, 11th on bars, 12th on beam and is tied for 10th on floor... Liljenquist dropped to No. 6 in the all-around after peaking at No. 1 for the last two weeks... Liljenquist is tied for second on floor, tied for 10th on beam, 14th on vault and 21st on bars... Sophomore Nikki Beyschau is No. 6 on vault and No. 19 on bars... Senior Mary Reiss is tied for 10th on floor, and senior Heather Straccia is 15th on floor and 25th on vault... In terms of schedule strength, 10 of Arizona's 2001 opponents were ranked in the preseason coaches' poll... Six Pac-10 teams - UCLA (1), Stanford (7), Arizona State (11), Oregon State (12), Washington (16) and Arizona (20) - were ranked in the preseason poll... Women's gymnastics rankings are posted every Monday at:

    Pac-10 Rankings - Arizona is sixth in the conference rankings, with UCLA and Stanford leading the field... Arizona State is third, Oregon State fourth, Washington fifth and California seventh... UCLA holds the top spot in all four of the team events, while the Wildcats are fifth on vault, bars and floor, and seventh on beam... Individually, senior Kara Fry is second in the all-around, and Randi Liljenquist is fifth overall... Fry is tied for 16th on vault, 17th on bars, 15th on beam and tied for 17th on floor... Liljenquist is tied for 10th on floor, 14th on beam and 20th on vault... Nikki Beyschau is 11th on vault, Mary Reiss is tied for 17th on floor, and Heather Straccia is 19th on floor.

    Arizona in the Record Books - Against North Carolina on March 14, Arizona set a new school record on bars with the team's season-high mark of 49.475, which topped the previous all-time team record of 49.425... Arizona's floor score of 49.200, scored against the Wolfpack, matched UA's No. 7 all-time floor rotation score... In the meet at Minnesota on March 10, Arizona scored a 49.050 on vault, and the event total matched the No. 7 vault score on the Wildcats' all-time top-10 list... Arizona set a new school record with its season-high team total of 196.900 against Arizona State on March 2... UA's previous team record was a 196.300, which was set on March 26, 1999, against Arizona State, in McKale Center... UA posted a season-high 49.475 on floor to set a school record in the team's last event of the ASU meet... Arizona notched a season-high 49.100 on vault, and the score is the fifth-best mark in UA history... The Wildcats' season-high 49.000 on beam tied the No. 5 all-time beam score, and their 49.325 score on bars tied the No. 6 bars mark on the all-time top-10 list... Against Stanford on Feb. 23, the Wildcats tallied a 49.375 on bars, and the score tied the fourth-best bar rotation in school history... Arizona's 49.025 on vault, in the same meet, tied the No. 10 all-time score... The squad's score of 48.975 on beam ranks as the No. 8 beam rotation score... In the Washington meet on Feb. 18, Arizona's floor score of 49.175 became the ninth-best score in school history... UA's score of 49.300 on floor at the UCLA Invitational on Feb. 11 tied the third-highest all-time mark... Overall, Arizona has seen stark improvements in its team score in all four events and the team total... The Wildcats experienced season lows of 48.000 on vault (Jan. 19), 46.125 on bars (Jan. 19), 47.575 on beam (Jan. 14) and 48.600 on floor (Jan. 19) in addition to their season-low team total of 190.775 (Jan. 19)... UA has improved its team total by 6.125 points, its vault score by 1.100, its bars score by 3.350, its beam score by 1.425 and its floor score by .875.

    UA's Top-10 Performers - In last week's meet against North Carolina State, senior Kara Fry matched a career-high 39.525 in the all-around, and her score currently ranks as the third-best all-time individual mark... Fry originally set the career mark in the Stanford meet on Feb. 23... In winning the vault title, Fry tied a career-high 9.850, which keeps her in a tie for the 10th-best individual score... She took first place honors on bars, matching a career-high 9.950, and the mark ranks as the third-best all-time individual score... Senior Heather Straccia notched a career-high 9.900 on bars, which landed her in a tie for the ninth-best all-time individual mark... Straccia's career-high 9.925 on floor landed her in a tie for the third-highest score, marking her first career appearance in the Arizona record books... Sophomore Nikki Beyschau tied a career-high 9.900 on vault in the Minnesota meet on March 10, and Beyschau's score matched the sixth-best mark on the all-time top-10 list... Junior All-American Randi Liljenquist posted a career-high 39.650 in the all-around on March 2, and the score is the second-best individual mark on the all-time top-10 performers' list... Liljenquist scored a career-high 9.900 on vault, landing her in a tie for sixth place on the all-time top-10 list... She also tied a career-high 9.925 on bars, and she remains tied for seventh on the all-time top-10 list... In the ASU meet on March 2, senior Kara Fry tied a career-high 9.900 on floor, and she remains tied for the sixth-best all-time individual score... Beyschau scored a career-high 9.900 on vault against the Sun Devils and is tied with Liljenquist for No. 6 on the all-time list... Senior Mary Reiss tallied a career-high 9.925 on floor in the ASU meet, and she tied the third-best individual floor mark in school history... Senior Nicci Filchner posted a career-high 9.900 on bars in the ASU meet, and the score tied the ninth-best individual bars score in UA history... Fry and Beyschau each scored career-high marks of 9.950 on bars in the Stanford meet on Feb. 23, and they are tied for the third-best all-time individual bars score... Fry and freshman Andi McCabe each posted career-high marks of 9.850 on vault against Washington on Feb. 18... Both Fry and McCabe vaulted into the Arizona record books by matching UA's No. 10 all-time individual vault score... Fry tied her career-high 9.900 on beam in the UCLA Invitational on Feb. 11, as she defeated three U.S. Olympians en route to the beam event title... Her career-high 9.900 is the sixth-best all-time individual mark... McCabe posted her career-high 9.850 in only her third collegiate vault competition... With her career-high marks on vault and bars, Fry has now broken into all five of the individual event categories thus far in her stellar gymnastics career... Fry and Liljenquist are the only UA gymnasts listed in the five event categories.

    Cat Scratches - Arizona head coach Bill Ryden is in his third year at the helm of the program (11th overall at Arizona) and holds a 26-44-1 career and school record... Arizona notched two victories over North Carolina State and James Madison on the road in the first meet of the 2001 season... UA is 1-7 in neutral contests, 1-5 in away meets and 3-3 at home this season... Six of Arizona's eight freshman have competed this season... So far this year, 13 Wildcat gymnasts have set or tied season-high and career-high marks... Senior Kara Fry and junior Randi Liljenquist share the team lead with 12 individual event titles... Fry also has tallied 32 top-five finishes, while Liljenquist holds 35 top-five performances... Fry holds the team lead with four all-around championships... Freshman Aimee Estella has a vault title and two top-five finishes... Senior Mary Reiss has posted seven top-five finishes... Sophomore Nikki Beyschau has nine top-five performances, including two vault titles and a bars event title... Freshman Andi McCabe has seven top-five performances... Senior Heather Straccia holds six top-five finishes, including the first floor exercise title of her career... Senior Nicci Filchner and freshman Cori Messina each have three top-five finishes... Freshman Sheehan Lemley has one top-five finish entering this week's meet.

    Injury Update - Freshmen Aimee Estella and Meagan Killpack will sit out the remainder of the season after suffering ACL injuries... Estella, who won a vault title in the first meet of the season at North Carolina State, tore her ACL on the landing of her bar dismount during practice on Feb. 8... Killpack, a walk-on, suffered the same injury on the first tumbling pass in a floor exercise exhibition at the UCLA Invitational on Feb. 11... Estella competed in five meets in her first season, and Killpack competed in three meets... Estella posted career-high marks on vault (9.800), bars (9.175) and beam (9.750), and Killpack set career-high marks on bars (9.100), beam (9.325) and floor (9.650).

    A Look Ahead - Arizona prepares to learn its fate, as the Wildcats hope to earn their 15th consecutive postseason berth to the NCAA Regional meet on April 7.

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