April 7, 2012
SEATTLE, Wash. – Despite a valiant effort in the last three events, an unfortunate bar total kept the No. 14 Arizona women’s gymnastics team from advancing to the NCAA National Championships. The team earned a 195.075 for fourth place overall, followed by Iowa with a 194.600, and Central Michigan with a 194.150. By taking first and second place with scores of 197.025 and 196.075 respectively, Alabama and LSU will head to Nationals, and Washington took third with a 195.825.
Bars was a trouble event for the Cats, counting a fall for a 48.100. Senior Britnie Jones contributed a 9.700 to start off the lineup. Other notable scores came from juniors Aubree Cristello and Molly Quirk, who both posted 9.775’s. Senior Katie Matusik rounded out the lineup with a team high score of 9.825 for the event.
“Bars was frustrating. We have a very good bar team, and we’ve shown it all year. It was an inopportune time to have two mistakes.” Ryden said, “We swung well yesterday, we swung well in warm-ups, so no one would’ve guessed that this was coming. This was certainly what sunk our ship today.”
The Cats weren’t ready to give up, however, going six for six for a score of 49.000 on beam. Flores began the lineup, tying her career high 9.700 to give the Cats solid footing in the second event. From there, the scores were on the up and up, as Cristello answered with a 9.775, Jones posted a 9.800, and Quirk earned a 9.825.
“Regardless of the first rotation, I had total faith that the beam team would hit, and they did. I’m proud of them for coming back and doing a great beam rotation after the disappointment of bars,” Ryden commented.
The highlight of the event came from Matusik, who posted her fifth total 9.900 this season, wrapping up the lineup and tying for first place in the meet. By winning the event, Matusik has earned herself a trip to the NCAA National Championships as an individual competitor on the balance beam.
“Katie took second at Regionals last year, so it is wonderful that she could come out and take first tonight. She’s one of the best beam workers in the country, and I am very proud of her and happy for her success,” Ryden said.
After a bye, the Cats posted a team floor score of 48.875. Flores was first off in the lineup once again, giving Arizona solid footing on the event with a 9.700. Just as with beam, the scores continued to escalate, with a 9.725 from Quirk, and 9.750 from Matusik. Cardenas and Cristello also posted twin scores of 9.850 to tie for second place on the event.
“Floor judging was tight for all teams, so going in we knew we had to be good. I think the girls rallied well, we hit well, and they did a great job. The girls never gave up, and I’m proud of what they put out there,” Ryden said.
Probably the overall highlight of the meet was the vault rotation 49.175. After a very difficult practice session and warm-up, the vault team rose to the occasion to wrap the meet up with a 49.175. The team showed fight till the end, with sophomore Shana Sangston posting a 9.700, Quirk earning a 9.725, and freshman Amber Wobma with a 9.775. Junior Mykle Douglas, and Cristello both posting scores of 9.850. Arizona also saw its second score of 9.900 for the evening, from Williams who tied for second on the event.
“I think almost every single girl did their very best vault in the last two days in the actual competition. As a coaching staff we were pleasantly surprised after stressing about who to put in the lineup. I’m glad they were able to have such success, especially in the last rotation,” Ryden said.
For the all-around, both Quirk and Cristello competed for Arizona. Cristello took third place with a 39.250, qualifying as an individual all-around competitor to the NCAA National Championships. Quirk posted a 39.050 to take seventh place overall.
“As I’ve said meet in and meet out, Aubree is one of the best all-around competitors in the country. I was a little bit nervous after the first two events, but she proved she doesn’t have a weakness or a weak event – that is why she is going,” Ryden said.
From here, Cristello and Matusik will head to Duluth, Ga. for the NCAA Gymnastics Championships held April 20-22.