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Gymnastics Ready to Take On No. 7 UCLA
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 01/18/2007
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Arizona Gymnastics Meet Notes (at UCLA 1/17/07)

 

What’s on Tap: The No. 8 Arizona women’s gymnastics team will travel to Los Angeles to compete against the No. 7 UCLA Bruins on Sunday, January 21. The Pac-10 dual-meet is set to begin at 3 p.m. (PST) in Pauley Pavilion.

 

Watch it Live: UCLA will provide live video and live stats of the meet on its athletics website. The video is free, but registration is required. The registration is free. For more information, visit /ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=30700&ATCLID=207914980.

 

The Rankings: Arizona enters competition this week ranked No. 8 in the country, with an average team score of 194.975. In individual events, UA ranks No. 5 on floor (49.075), No. 17 on beam (48.250), No. 15 on bars (48.575) and No. 7 on vault (49.075). The Wildcats were tabbed as the No. 16 team in the nation according to the preseason coaches’ poll. Arizona has been ranked in 74 of the last 75 polls, including 27 straight.

 

About the Rankings: Unlike other collegiate athletic rankings, collegiate gymnastic rankings are not based on wins and losses or votes. Gymnastic teams are ranked by their meet scores alone.  From Jan. 15-Feb. 12, teams will be ranked by their total season average.  Starting Feb. 19, teams and gymnasts will be ranked by a Regional Qualifying Score (RQS).  An RQS is based on a team's top six regular-season scores, with three scores coming from away meets. To obtain the RQS, the team's or gymnast’s highest score is dropped and the remaining five scores are averaged. 

 

A Look at the Bruins: When Arizona faces UCLA on Sunday, the Bruins will be competing for the fifth time this season. UCLA has already defeated Washington and dropped meets at Utah and at home against Stanford. On Friday, the Bruins will travel to Fullerton, Calif., to take on Cal-State Fullerton and San Jose State. This past week, junior Tasha Schwikert was named Pac-10 Gymnast of the Week. She recorded season highs in the all-around and on all four events in the meet against Stanford on Jan. 15. Schwikert won the all-around with a 39.575 and scored victories on the floor exercise (9.925) and vault (9.900). The Bruins are coached by Valorie Kondos Field, who is in her in 17th year with the program.

 

Side-by-Side: Arizona and UCLA event-by-event comparison based on 2007 season averages (Note: UCLA averages calculated from first three meets, while Arizona has only competed in one meet to date):

 

 

Vault

Bars

Beam

Floor

Total

UCLA

49.087

48.900

49.125

48.875

194.987

Arizona

49.075

48.575

48.250

49.075

194.975

 

Arizona and UCLA event-by-event comparison by season high score:

 

 

Vault

Bars

Beam

Floor

Total

UCLA

49.175

49.075

48.725

49.175

195.975

Arizona

49.075

48.575

48.250

49.075

194.975

 

 

Arizona Head Coach: Bill Ryden is in his ninth season at the helm of the Arizona gymnastics program, owning a school and career record of 109-118-3.  Last season, he joined Jim Gault as the second coach to surpass 100 career coaching victories at Arizona. Ryden made his first appearance as a head coach at the NCAA Championships in 2002, the program’s first appearance since 1996.  In 2002, Ryden also earned Pac-10 Conference Coach of the Year honors as well as South Central Regional Coach of the Year honors, becoming the first head coach in Arizona history to have earned Regional Coach of the Year honors. Additionally, Ryden has coached in 16 Pac-10 Championships, 14 NCAA Championships and 16 NCAA Regional meets. Ryden has also trained 12 All-Americans and 18 All-Pac-10 gymnasts in his tenure at Arizona.

 

Moving Up: With its lofty No. 8 national ranking this week, Arizona once again finds itself among the nation’s elite teams. While the Wildcats have consistently been ranked in the Top 25 over the years, Arizona has not been ranked as high as No. 8 since the week of Jan. 28, 2002 when the team was ranked No. 7. In 2002, Arizona spent four consecutive weeks in the Top 10, including as high as No. 6 for a one week period. In case you were wondering, the Wildcats finished No. 11 in the country in 2002, which happens to be the last season the program qualified for the NCAA Championships.

 

Confidence Boost: The Wildcats hope to carry over any momentum that could be gained from winning last year’s regular season dual meet against UCLA. Last season, the No. 14 Arizona women’s gymnastics team raced out to an early advantage over the visiting No. 6 UCLA Bruins and held on for the upset, 195.350-194.700. The victory was only the fourth all-time for the Wildcats against the Bruins.

 

Remember Her? The last name may have changed, but don’t worry, Aubrey is still Aubrey. Senior Aubrey Kelly, previously Aubrey Taylor, married Jesse Kelly this past summer. Last season, Kelly earned a score of 9.900 on the uneven bars at the NCAA North Central Region Championships to qualify individually for the NCAA Championships, where she scored a 9.800 in Session II to place 17th.

 

Road Rules: For the seventh-consecutive season, Arizona began the season on the road last week at Michigan State. For the second-straight year, the Wildcats will remain on the road for its second meet of the season. However, this week’s Pac-10 opener against UCLA will mark only the third time in Ryden’s nine seasons at Arizona that one of his squads will open Pac-10 competition on the road. In the two previous trips, Arizona dropped meets at California (2001) and at Arizona State (2006). In all, Ryden’s teams are 5-3 in Pac-10 openers.

 

Senior Leadership: Now in her final season as a Wildcat, senior Jamie Holton began her senior campaign with arguably the best meet of her career. A former walk-on who does not compete on bars due to a previous shoulder injury, Holton posted 29.55 points for the Wildcats at Michigan State, the highest three-event total of her career. She won a share of the vault (9.900) and floor (9.875) titles, while placing fourth on beam (9.775). The mark on floor was a new career best, while her score on vault was the second highest of her career.

 

Streak Snapped: Karin Wurm, who competed in the all-around in all 13 of the team’s meets last season in addition to an individual appearance at the NCAA Championships, was not in Arizona’s beam or vault lineups last week. The 5-4 junior from Landenberg, Pa., who is continuing to recover from a back injury, posted scores of 9.675 on bars and 9.800 on floor.

 

All or Nothing: After capturing a share of the vault title last week at Michigan State with a 9.900, sophomore Bree Workman continued a trend she started last season. She has now placed in the top five on vault six times in her career, with four of those occasions being the individual event champion.

 

Mark It Down:  Freshman Brittney Morgan made her Arizona debut last week and turned in three solid performances. She posted the team’s second-highest score on bars (9.750), while adding a 9.675 on vault and a 9.750 on beam. It is a start to what the coaching staff believes will be a very successful career for the Charlottesville, Va., native.

 

More Debuts: Redshirt freshman Sarah Specht and true freshman Miranda Russell each made their debuts in Arizona’s season-opener last week. Specht, who missed the 2006 season with an elbow injury, made her official Arizona debut with a 9.800 on vault. Russell competed in three events, earning scores of 9.575 on bars, 9.150 on beam and 9.775 on floor.

 

Finish Strong: Historically, Arizona squads have thrived in the role as the underdog. When tabbed as the No. 16 team in the nation or lower to begin a year, as is the case this season, the Wildcats have finished ranked higher at the end of the year in each of Ryden’s seasons. Last season, the Wildcats finished the season No. 13 after beginning the year at No. 17. Below are Arizona’s preseason and final rankings by year since 1998.

 

Arizona in the Polls Since 1998:

 

Year

Preseason Rank

Final Rank

2007

16th

???

2006

17th

13th

2005

13th

t-18th

2004

17th

14th

2003

10th

19th

2002

17th

11th

2001

20th

18th

2000

16th

20th

1999

16th

20th

1998

12th

14th

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Facing the Best: Arizona always competes against some of the top programs in the nation year in and year out, and this season will be no different. The Wildcats will face eight opponents ranked in the preseason poll, including Pac-10 foes No. 5 UCLA, No. 8 Stanford, No. 11 Arizona State and No. 12 Oregon State. The Wildcats will also compete against No. 14 Penn

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