Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
No. 14 Wildcats Score a 195.350, Upset No. 6 UCLA
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: February 25, 2006
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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TUCSON, Ariz. ?- The No. 14 Arizona women’s gymnastics team raced out to an early advantage over the visiting No. 6 UCLA Bruins and held on to upset the Bruins, 195.350-194.700, in front of 1,011 fans in McKale Center on Friday night.


“I’m very proud of the team,” head coach Bill Ryden said following the meet. “The most important thing for us this week was to be able to rebound from last week (at Stanford). We were not sharp last week. This week we were looking for quality.”


The Wildcats got off to a fast start in the first rotation on the vault as the team earned its highest score since Jan. 27 against California. Led by Bree Workman tying her career-best mark of 9.850 with a second place finish, Arizona posted its highest score in the event in three weeks with a 48.800. Karin Wurm tallied a 9.775 to place fifth, while Jamie Holton and Alexis Greene each added 9.750 marks. Rachelle Silberg returned to the vault lineup to add a 9.675. 


“It was very important for us to get things back together on vault,” Ryden said. “We hadn’t been living up to our potential in an event that should be solid for us.”


Leading 48.800-47.900 heading to the second rotation, the Wildcats extended their lead despite the Bruins overcoming a tough first rotation on bars with a 49.025 on vault. For Arizona on the bars, Wurm captured the individual title with a career-high 9.900 to lead the Wildcats to a 49.100 team score. Taylor added a 9.850 to share second-place with Greene, who matched her career-high. Hicks tallied a 9.775, while Briana Bergeson and Sarah Parsons each recorded 9.725 marks.


UCLA cut into the Wildcats’ lead in the third rotation as the Bruins posted a 48.825 on floor to Arizona’s 48.375 on beam. Holton started the rotation off with a bang for the Wildcats as she notched a personal-best 9.825 to place fourth in the event. Taylor and Bergeson gave strong performances to boost Arizona’s team score as they earned marks of 9.700 and 9.800, respectively. Wurm (9.475) and Hicks (9.575) also added to Arizona’s score.


“If someone told me before the meet that we would score a 48.375 on beam and still have a chance to win, I wouldn’t believe it,” Ryden said. “We had been so strong on beam lately that we expected better.”


Holding onto a 146.265-145.750 lead entering the final rotation, the Wildcats closed the meet out in style. Wurm and Taylor shared second-place honors as each tied their career-high score of 9.875. Holton also tied her career-best score with a score of 9.800 to share fifth place with Greene.


“This was an overall team effort,” Ryden said of the team which picked up its first victory over UCLA since 2004. “We’re such a young team, and they stuck with it. They don’t care who they are up against.”


“Jamie Holton was unbelievable tonight,” Ryden said of the Phoenix native. “She has been working on a new vault and a new beam series, and she was fantastic. When that girl gets in the spotlight, she rises to the occasion.”


In the all-around, UCLA’s Kate Richardson totaled a 39.500 to lead all gymnasts. Karin Wurm tallied a 39.025 to place third behind UCLA’s Ariana Berlin, while Hicks placed fourth with a total of 38.175. Taylor was held out of the all-around for the first time this season.


“We held Aubrey out of the all-around because we wanted to experiment with the vault lineup,” Ryden said of the two-time all-around champion. “It had nothing to do with Aubrey, and believe me, she wasn’t happy about it. I expect her to be back in the vault lineup and competing all-around again next week.”


With the win, the Wildcats finish Pac-10 competition with a 4-2 record and improve their overall record to 4-8. The win also marks Arizona’s first win over a Top 10 opponent this season.


“UCLA is a premier program,” said Ryden of the defending Pac-10 champions. “We are always honored to be on the floor and competing with them.”


Arizona will be in action at home again on Friday, March 3 as No. 2 Florida and BYU visit McKale Center.

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