Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Cat Scratches Gymnastics Newsletter - Fall/Winter 2005
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: December 01, 2005
Related Links

Bill Ryden
Dear Friends, Alumni & Boosters,

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.


Erin Muirhead

This year we have one lone senior, our Team Captain, Erin Muirhead.  As most of you know, Erin was having her best year of her collegiate career last season when it was cut short by injury.  Erin has been training well and is determined to leave her best on the competitive floor this season.  She trains Vault, Beam, and Floor and I am certain that she can make an impact on the team success on all three apparatus.  Erin hails from New Jersey and is on track to graduate this May.


Jamie Holton

Aubrey Taylor

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 Tucson looking better than last year.


Danielle Hicks

Rachelle Silberg
Danielle Hicks came to the sunshine and palm trees from Oshawa, Ontario and made a big impact on the line-up and the team score.  She was able to break into the All-Around and was our most consistent beam worker (she was in the line-up in every meet and never fell).  Danielle worked hard all summer to improve her skills and is looking great in the gym.  She will definitely be a major player again and I believe she will improve her career scores on all four events.  Danielle was named an Academic All-American last year as well as a Mary Roby Award Recipient.


Rachelle Silberg ventured south from the other side of Canada: Calgary, Alberta to be exact.  Rachelle works incredibly hard and that hard work paid off as she earned a spot in the vault line-up last season.  Rachelle has improved her vault from last season as well as all three of her other events.  I predict that she will have another excellent year on the vault team and there is a good chance that she will break into one of the other events before the season is over.  Rachelle was named Academic All-American last year and was a Mary Roby Recipient also.


Melanie Weiser

Karin Wurm
Melanie Weiser came west from Manhattan, Kansas to flip around in the desert air.  Melanie struggled with some injuries last year that kept her being able to train at the level she would like.  After an off-season surgery, Melanie is working hard to improve her skills and take a shot at breaking in the line-up.


Karin Wurm comes to U of A from Landenberg, PA.  Karin had a great first year, becoming a mainstay and a top performer on Vault, Bars, and Floor.  Karin did occasionally perform on Beam and showed definite signs of success but was kept from the line-up by the depth of last year’s Beam team.  Karin returned from the summer break in great shape and incredibly motivated to make her sophomore year her breakout year on the national scene.  After watching the first month of practice, I am totally convinced it will happen.  She looks great and has upped her difficulty (which was already quite large) on every event.  The fans are in for a treat this year from her.  Karin was named Academic All-American last year as well as a Mary Roby Recipient.


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.


Suzanne Alvey

Erica Anderson
We found Suzanne Alvey in Gwinnett County, north of Atlanta, GA.  She calls Marietta home and has an infectious personality when she is outside of the gym.  Inside the gym, she is incredibly focused on working hard and achieving her goals and tends to be a little more silent.  I think that Suzanne will make an immediate impact on the team line-up on Bars and Vault with Beam and Floor not too far behind.


Erica Anderson comes to the warm weather from the chilly Midwest and Columbus, OH.  Another Region V product, Erica works incredibly hard in the gym and in the classroom.  She trains all-around and currently is taking more credit hours than any other member of the team.


Briana Bergeson

Alexis Greene
Briana “Beamer” Bergeson was convinced to travel down I-10 from Gilbert, AZ for her collegiate career rather than leave her home state.  Beamer’s best events are Bars, Beam, and Floor and she is working hard to be in the line-up on each of them on January 4th in Cancun. She is also working hard to improver her vaulting and I feel confident that she will be saluting the judges on at least one event in Mexico.


Alexis Greene came all the way across the country from Severn, MD, just outside of Baltimore for her collegiate gymnastics career.  The fans will pick up on Alexis right away as she is very powerful and dynamic and definitely exciting to watch.  Alexis’ best events are Vault, Bars and Floor and I am sure she will make an impact on each of these events sometime during the season.  She is also working hard to bring her beam work up to the level of her other events and therefore a spot in the line-up.


Sarah Parsons

Sarah Specht

Bree Workman

Sarah Parsons hails from Louisville, KY and will be instantly identifiable to the fans by her southern accent.  Beyond that, the fans will quickly get to know her dynamic brand of gymnastics which will be very evident on the competition floor.  Sarah is currently recovering from an ankle surgery but I am hopeful that she will be able to make an impact on the line-up on Vault, Bars and Beam.  As she returns to full strength, she will add valuable routines on all four events that will definitely make the team stronger.


Sarah Specht comes to the team from Naperville, IL and has the ability to add to the team strength on all four events.  An accomplished all-around gymnast, Sarah is recovering from an elbow injury from last season and every day, I notice that she is getting stronger and the skills are returning.  As this happens our team gets stronger because Sarah has the ability another excellent all-arounder in the Arizona tradition.  As fast as she is coming back, I am very hopeful that she will out there on at least one event as we start the season.


Bree Workman joins the team from Lansing, MI, the same club program as former GymCat Jamie Duce.  Bree is looking very strong on Vault, Beam and Floor and I believe that she will be competing on several, if not all three when the season begins.  She is also working through a forearm injury as she trains bars but it has not deterred her from being ready to make an impact her first year.


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. 


John Court

Colleen Johnson
John Court starts his eighth year with the program and is certainly known as one of the best collegiate coaches around.  He is quite respected by his colleagues and he has helped me build this program since I was appointed.  He focuses on the tumbling events (Floor & Vault) but is quite capable everywhere.  I continually bounce my ideas off of him as he knows how I think and certainly what I am looking for now, and in the future of the program.


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.


Jessamyn Salter

Jamie Schell

Brina Weissman

We are also joined this year by Undergraduate Assistant Coaches, Jessamyn Salter and Jamie Schell, and Manager Brina Weissman.  Jessamyn starts her second year on the coaching staff after an injury forced her to retire from the sport.  Jamie just finished her competitive career last season and returned to the gym to lend her experience and artistic talent to the program.  Brina is a former gymnast who spent last year learning the ropes and this year will be a big part of our floor management during the meets, as all our managers have been.


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.


Schedule Changes        

In case you haven’t heard, we had two changes to our schedule since the last time I sent it out.  The meet with Penn St. & Alabama will be on Saturday, Jan. 14th @ 7:00 pm instead of Friday, Jan. 13th.  Our meet in Tempe against ASU has been changed to Sunday, Jan. 22nd @ 2:00 pm instead of Friday, Jan. 20th.  There was also a misprint about the dates for NCAA Regionals & Nationals.  The days are correct but the dates should be April 8 for Regionals and April 20-22 for Nationals.  Finally, BYU has been added to our home competition on March 3rd with Florida.  I hope that these changes do not cause anyone any problems.


Alumni Sightings            

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 Tucson.  Mary (Reiss) Pierce said goodbye as she and her husband moved north to Scottsdale.  Beth Hansen tied the knot in June.  Kristin (Powers) Holford had her third child, a girl.  Randi (Liljenquist) Acosta had her first child, a girl.  She brought her down to Tucson for lunch with Monica Bisordi, Katie Johnson, Jamie Duce, Jamie Schell and myself.  Lindsay Compitello has begun her career journey towards becoming a certified Pilates instructor.  She has moved to New York to begin her training.  She sends updates to let us know how it is going.  Amanda Goins called to let me hear the dreaded words “I’m engaged.”  Fourteen months and counting.  She did come down to visit and show off the “new” accessory.  I ran into Rose McLaughlin on the recruiting/NCAA trails.  She is doing well and will start her second year at the University of Arkansas.  Nicci (Filchner) Goodman said a reluctant goodbye as she and her family packed up and moved back east to Erie, PA.  Her husband will be starting medical school back there.  Stacey Walski announced that she is engaged and her wedding will be in July of ’06.  Jenna Karadbil has changed law firms and has moved to Los Angeles.  This will put her closer to her “second” career, acting.  Keep an eye out for her on reruns of CSI, Angel, and Penn & Teller commercials in Las Vegas.  Tenli Poggemeyer called just to check in and see how things were going in Tucson.  She has had a busy summer working with her High School Leadership group.  She is still teaching at Paradise Valley High School.  Cami Banholzer called to check in.  She is very busy traveling to see her family and “significant others”.  Kristin McDermott sends updates on the wedding plans every so often.  Maureen (Kealey) Bleem was in town for a week as a member of a wedding party.  She is now coaching as well as working in the lab.  I was able to catch up with Jessica (Marshall) Hart.  Things are going very well for her in the Bay area.  She just had her second child (a boy) and is looking to start a new business.  Jamie Duce is working in the Athletic Director’s office here in McKale.  Kristen York is working in the Business office.  Katie Johnson is starting a job for Well’s Fargo while she completes her studies.  Stevie Fanning is working for a boutique here in town while she finishes up school.  Monica Bisordi is in the final stages of her certification to be a Pilates instructor.


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 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 “University of Arizona / GymCats” and send it to me here at the office.  I will get it to the proper people.  Your donation is tax deductible and greatly appreciated.



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 (  This year, I still plan to have the newsletter on the website.  The archives of the old newsletters reside at (  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:


Deborah Agard

Shane Allbritton

Stacey Allen

Nancy Altmann

Kiernan Andrews

Denise Austin

Cami Banholzer

Colleen Barfield

Anna Basaldua

Lisa Berglund

Hedy Berman

Nikki Beyschau

Monica Bisordi

Rita Bojorquez

Rebecca Bowers

Mary Kay Brown

Laurie Buckelew

Maureen Burt

Trude Cables

Bernadette Campbell

Beth Carey

Maureen Carroll

Kelly Chaplin

Karen Christensen

Jennifer Clayton

Lynda Coffelt

Cynthia Coleman

Lindsay Compitello

Leslie Crompton

Deborah Dahlquist

Kimberly Danloe

Colleen Daugherty

Renee Demers

Gretchen Diaz

Patricia Digiacomo

Leslie Distefano

Mary Drachman

Jamie Duce

Aimee Estella

Stevie Fanning

Michelle Fernandez

Sarah Fey

Nicci Filchner

Tanis Fink

Stacy Fowlkes

Stephanie Frank

Kara Fry

Sarah Galecki

Nicole Garrett

Shelly Gault

Bernadette Gentry

Kaley Gibson

Amanda Goins

Carol Grantham

Amy Greenberg

Michaela Grigg

Bear Down Challenge Gymnastics