TUCSON, Ariz. ?- The No. 14 Arizona women’s gymnastics team (195.875) set a new season-high, and Aubrey Taylor won the first all-around title of her career as the Wildcats earned their first victory of the season over California (191.325) Friday night in front of 1,061 fans in McKale Center.
“I feel good about it,” Head Coach Bill Ryden said of the team’s victory. “I feel better about our high-195, though. That is a good score for anyone looking at the scores from around the country this year. The girls understand that we’ve been performing well and improving. They’ve seen the top teams in the nation and they know they can compete with anyone.”
Looking to improve upon their season-best performance a week ago, the Wildcats wasted no time in getting off to a solid start in the first rotation on the vault. Sophomore Karin Wurm matched her career-high with a mark of 9.825 to share the individual title with teammate Bree Workman. Freshman Alexis Greene added a 9.800, and Taylor set a new season-best with a 9.725. Sophomore Rachelle Silberg chipped in a 9.775 to help the Wildcats to a 48.950 in the event.
Arizona took a comfortable advantage to the uneven bars in the second rotation, an event the team was ranked third in nationally entering the competition. The Wildcats did nothing to hurt that ranking as the team posted a 49.150. Taylor claimed the individual title by tying her career-best mark with a 9.900, a score she earned a week ago as well. Wurm took second place individually with a 9.850, and classmate Danielle Hicks placed third with a 9.825. Greene also turned in a solid routine, earning a 9.800. Sarah Parsons added a 9.775.
Coming off a season-high performance a week ago on the balance beam, Arizona again improved their score in the event to take control of the meet. Freshman Briana Bergeson captured the first individual title of her career with a 9.850 to lead the Wildcats to a new season-high 48.725. Taylor again set a season-best with a 9.750, as did Hicks with a 9.800. Junior Jamie Holton and Wurm chipped in scores of 9.675 and 9.650, respectively.
The Wildcats closed the meet in style, earning a season-high team score of 49.050. Arizona was paced by 9.825 marks from a trio of gymnasts. Senior Erin Muirhead and Greene each established career-high scores, while Hicks also shared the title. For the fourth time in the meet, Taylor at least tied her career-best mark, this time with a 9.800. Holton also broke her season-high score, earning a 9.775.
Taylor earned the first all-around title of her career, totaling a 39.175, her highest score since February 20, 2004. Hicks set a season-best all-around score of 39.150 to claim second-place overall, while Wurm took third-place with a 38.650.
“Aubrey is a great competitor,” said Ryden of Taylor’s best performance to date. “She has ice in her veins. She loves to compete and she loves to perform. Nothing rattles her.”
Arizona gymnasts claimed the top three spots in all four individual events, claiming all four individual titles. The Wildcats’ team score of 195.875 was their highest since the Pac-10 Championships last year.
“The girls always stayed positive,” Ryden added. “We knew we were good. It was great to have a meet in front of our fans. We’ve got a great product and we needed to let Tucson know.”
With the win, the Wildcats improve to 1-7 overall and 1-1 in Pac-10 competition. Arizona’s team score was higher than the average of all but one team (Georgia) entering this week’s competitions.
The Wildcats will remain at home next week as the club takes on Washington next Friday at 7:30 p.m. in McKale Center.