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Two Wildcat Gymnasts Qualify for the NCAA Championship
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 04/10/2001
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TUCSON, Ariz. - The NCAA gymnastics committee announced Monday that senior Kara Fry and junior Randi Liljenquist have earned individual berths to the NCAA Championship on April 19-21 in Athens, Ga. The University of Georgia is the host institution for the national championship, and the competition will take place in Georgia's Stegeman Coliseum. Both Fry and Liljenquist have qualified for their second trip to the national championship.

Kara Fry enters the national championship as the No. 3 at-large seed in the all-around and will compete in the afternoon session of the all-around finals on Thursday, April 19, at 4 p.m. MST. Fry will rotate with the Denver Pioneers throughout the session.

Randi Liljenquist, who won the floor exercise event at the regional championship, qualified to compete on floor at the national championship. She is scheduled to compete during the morning session, beginning at 10 a.m. MST. She will follow the Oregon State Beavers, who will compete on floor during the third rotation.

Fry was named 2001 South Central Regional Gymnast of the Year following the regional championship on Saturday. She earned her second trip to the national championship as the No. 3 at-large seed after posting a third-place finish in the all-around with a 39.275 at the regional competition. Fry also tied for ninth on vault (9.825), tied for sixth on bars (9.825), tied for ninth on beam (9.775) and tied for 11th on floor (9.850) at the regional championship.

"We are just so happy for Kara (Fry) because she truly has earned this trip to the national championship," said Arizona head coach Bill Ryden. "Kara has had a phenomenal season, and all she has done this year is exactly what you would hope for from any senior. She definitely is doing her best and most difficult gymnastics of her career. Kara has gone above and beyond the call of duty, and she has turned it up so much in the last year."

Fry, a 5-5 senior from Nazareth, Pa., has scored over the 39.000 mark in nine out of 13 meets, and she has won four all-around championships this season. Fry holds Arizona's top individual scores on bars (9.950) and beam (9.900). Fry's career-high marks in all four events and in the all-around have earned her a place in the Arizona record books. Her career-high 39.525 is the third-best all-time individual all-around score, and her career-high 9.950 on bars is No. 3 on the all-time performers' list. Fry's career-high 9.850 on vault is No. 10 on the all-time list, her career-high 9.900 on floor is the No. 7 score, and her career-high 9.900 on beam is the No. 6 all-time mark.

Fry, who earned her first trip to the NCAA Championship as a freshman in 1998, has competed in 50 consecutive meets dating back to the first competition of her freshman season. She also has proven herself as a reliable all-around competitor for Arizona, as she has competed in the all-around for the last 49 consecutive meets. Overall, Fry has competed in a grand total of 197 events over the last four years.

Liljenquist, a 5-2 junior from Tucson, Ariz., earned the second NCAA bid of her career after she tied for first-place honors in the floor exercise event at the regional championship. She scored a 9.925 on floor to win a share of the event title and automatically earned a NCAA berth in the floor exercise event. All individual event winners who scored over a 9.800 at the six regional championship meets automatically qualified to compete at the national championship in that event, provided they were not members of one of the 12 NCAA qualifying teams.

"Randi (Liljenquist) had a very difficult month of March, and she has been fighting a lot of little problems since the week after the Arizona State meet. She has been doing everything in her power to fight through the problems, so it is great that she has a chance to turn the season around at the national championship meet," Ryden said.

She made her first trip to the NCAA Championship as a sophomore last season, and she earned second-team All-America honors in the all-around. Liljenquist holds Arizona's top individual scores on vault (9.900), beam (9.900), floor (9.950) and in the all-around (39.650) this season. Liljenquist's career-high 39.650 in the all-around ranks as the No. 2 all-time score, and her career-high 10.000 on floor remains tied for the top score in school history. Her career-high 9.900 on vault is the No. 6 all-time score, her career-high 9.925 on bars is the No. 7 mark, and Liljenquist's career-high 9.925 on beam is the No. 3 all-time individual score.

Fry and Liljenquist each have won 12 individual event titles this season. Liljenquist holds 35 top-five finishes, and Fry has posted 32 top-five finishes this year.

"Both Kara and Randi are so competition savvy, and they are both talented enough to compete with anyone in the country," Ryden added.

Arizona made its 15th consecutive trip to the postseason and closed out the season with a 9-22 overall record. The Wildcats finished third at the NCAA South Central Regional Championship on Saturday, and the squad just missed qualifying for one of the two regional team berths to the NCAA Championship. UA finished third at the regional championship with a score of 194.825. Nebraska won the regional with a score of 196.200, and Oklahoma was the runner-up with a score of 194.925.

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