I want to welcome everyone back to a new school year and a new team. There have been quite a few changes since we were at this point last season. There were 9 gymnasts that were on the team a year ago that have since finished their gymnastics careers and there are seven new freshmen joining the GymCat family this season. As good as last year’s team was, let’s focus on the present. This year the team is made up of 14 athletes and although young, there is quite a bit of talent in the gym. The team is very enthusiastic and practices have been good as the entire team (& coaches) gets used to the new look Cats.
This year we have one lone senior, our Team Captain, Erin Muirhead. As most of you know,
Our junior class contains two athletes that both made an impact on the team score last season.
Jamie Holton had her best year last season, breaking into the line-up as a regular on Floor and backing up on Vault as needed. She did that competing with a torn rotator cuff and still did an excellent job for the team. Her shoulder has been fixed and she is looking forward earning her spot in the line-up again and improving on scores from last season. I also feel the Jamie has the potential to make an impact on the Beam line-up this season and not just the Vault and Floor teams.
Aubrey Taylor had a very successful sophomore campaign. She was a top scorer for the team on Bars, Beam, and Floor. Due to a surgery to correct an old injury, Aubrey was not able to compete on Vault and therefore the All-Around, as she did in her freshman year. Returning to the Vault lineup is very high on Aubrey’s list for the upcoming season and I really think she can do it. She is also working hard to improve her routines on the other three apparatus. All of this makes me believe that Aubrey will again have a major impact on the success of the team.
The sophomore class had an outstanding first year and it is safe to say that their impact made the difference. A sophomore jinx is not going to be an issue as they have all returned to
Rachelle Silberg ventured south from the other side of
Karin Wurm comes to U of A from
When I look at our freshmen class this year, I almost get overwhelmed. This year, 50% of our team comes from the rookies and although they have no collegiate experience and have a lot to learn, they do possess a huge amount of talent. They will be the key to our success and I believe they will be up to the challenge. They are very enthusiastic and eager to show their stuff.
Erica Anderson comes to the warm weather from the chilly Midwest and
Alexis Greene came all the way across the country from
Bree Workman joins the team from
Finally, I want to introduce my staff and the people who really help make the program all it can be. First, I really feel that we are fortunate to have one of the best and most knowledgeable staff’s in the nation. This is particularly important for a program like ours that is known for high difficulty and the athletes improving every year through their career.
Colleen Johnson begins her second year here and has been a huge addition to the program. She was a former Canadian National Team member as well as an NCAA All-American. Her technical abilities and choreography have certainly raised our quality on the floor. Colleen concentrates on Beam and the artistic requirements of the routines but I respect her opinion on all the apparatus as her experience is certainly an asset.
Our Trainer is Matt Radelet and he has the tough job of trying to keep the team in one piece as we go through the year. Matt has been with the program in one capacity or another for many years. I have certainly come to depend on his knowledge and our relationship as we deal with the task of getting healthy each and every week.
Our strength coach is Neal Willey and we have worked together for several years to come up with a gymnastics-specific conditioning program that keeps the team in top physical condition. As the sport continues to become more and more difficult, the necessity of having a physical conditioning program to prepare their bodies is increasingly important.
I am very happy to let everyone know that on Friday, November 4th, Heidi Hornbeek became the latest GymCat to be inducted in the University of Arizona Hall-of-Fame. Heidi competed from 1996-2000 and is the one of the most celebrated athletes in our programs history. Some of Heidi’s accomplishments include: 6x All-American, 6x All-Conference, 5x Academic All-American, 3x Academic All-Conference, NCAA Floor Champion, Pac-10 All-Around Champion, Pac-10 Floor Champion, Pac-10 Beam Champion, 4x NCAA Regional Champion, 3x World University Games Medalist, University of Arizona Ruby Award (Top Female Athlete), AAI American Award (Top Senior Gymnast in the nation).
As of right now, the two Intrasquad dates are Friday December 2nd for Vault and Beam and Saturday, December 17th for Bars and Floor. You are welcome if you would like to come and see the young team as they get ready for the season. The Intrasquads are informal and held in the Mary Roby Gymnastics Training Facility. These dates may change so if you are planning on attending, please call the office and double check sometime before.
In case you haven’t heard, we had two changes to our schedule since the last time I sent it out. The meet with
Just a quick recap from the summer: Kara (Fry) Meyer finally left the university as she took a job with a rehabilitation center here in
We are also updating a “Where are they now?” database for our alumni. We use this information on our recruiting webpage but it is also just nice to know. So if you get a chance, just email me with the info at firstname.lastname@example.org or just fill out the online form.
Make sure to check out the schedule at the end of the newsletter. There have been a few minor changes from the one published last spring. I wouldn’t want there to be any reason for anyone to not be at a meet!
As always, we really want to thank all of the Boosters who have helped our program over the years. A program like ours uses donations to directly affect the athletes. I hope that you can find it to continue your support. If you would like to donate, just send a check made out to “
Last season, the live webcast of our meets went over well. The gymnastics multimedia links (meets, videos) were quite popular and a great way to follow the team when you couldn’t be there. This year there should be even more content to peak your interest so make sure you check out AllAccess to keep up with latest. You can find out more information on the Official University of Arizona Athletics Website (www.arizonaathletics.com). This year, I still plan to have the newsletter on the website. The archives of the old newsletters reside at (www.u.arizona.edu/~ryden/gym.html). In fact there is an entire segment of GymCat supporters who receive this newsletter electronically. Please contact me if you would like to be put on that list.
Until next time...
Our Current Alumni List:
Mary Kay Brown