Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Arizona Battles North Carolina State Wednesday in Final Meet of Regular Season
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: June 22, 2004
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    What's Coming Up - The No. 22 Arizona women's gymnastics team (4-15, 1-7 Pac-10) closes out the regular season in its final home meet of the year, as the Wildcats prepare to battle the North Carolina State Wolfpack (14-13) on Wednesday, March 14, at 7:30 p.m., in McKale Center... The Wildcats and Wolfpack are set to meet for the second time this season... In the first meet of the season on Jan. 14, the Wildcats traveled to Raleigh, N.C., where Arizona came in second place (193.450), defeating North Carolina State who finished the quad meet in third place (193.375) overall... Wednesday's meet marks the final home appearance for seniors Kara Fry, Mary Reiss and Heather Straccia... Junior All-American Randi Liljenquist is questionable for the meet after sustaining an ankle injury during vault warmups in last weekend's meet at Minnesota... Arizona is still looking for its first win since it defeated both Oregon State and Denver on Feb. 2, in McKale Center... This week's meet marks the last of five dual meets that Arizona will compete in prior to the Pac-10 Championship meet on March 24... The Wildcats end the season with two non-conference dual meets before matching up against the other six Pac-10 teams, who each boast top-25 rankings in this week's poll... On the opponent side, North Carolina State enters this week's meet after falling to gymnastics powerhouse Georgia last weekend, 197.800-194.350, in a meet that saw the Wolfpack score a season-high road mark.


    Head Coach Bill Ryden's Weekly Analysis - "The last home meet is very important because we need to get back on track, especially on beam. Until last week, we looked like we were heading in the right direction in all four events. I hope that we can put up a good score on Wednesday to help boost the team's confidence. We are just trying to get ready because we want to qualify for the postseason. We are a good team, but we are somewhat inconsistent at times. We haven't been hitting our routines for some reason, especially in the Minnesota meet. We need to start competing more consistently like we did against ASU and Stanford."

    Arizona's Last Time Out - The No. 20 University of Arizona women's gymnastics team fell to the No. 15 Minnesota Golden Gophers, 194.675-196.850, in front of a crowd of 1,507, on March 10 in Minnesota's Sports Pavilion. Arizona's team total of 194.675 is the squad's fifth-highest mark of the season, while Minnesota's team total (196.850) is a season-high mark for the Golden Gophers. Arizona dropped to 4-15 overall, while Minnesota improved to 7-7 on the season.

    UA's vault score (49.050) is the team's second-highest mark of the year, and the event total tied the No. 7 vault score on the Wildcats' all-time top-10 list. Three Wildcat gymnasts - Nikki Beyschau, Cori Messina and Heather Straccia - each posted season-high and career-high marks in the meet.

    Arizona, who lost by 2.175 points, trailed Minnesota for the entire meet, and the Golden Gophers swept each of the four team events. UA trailed Minnesota by .175 following the first rotation, but Minnesota's 49.275 on bars in the second rotation gave the Golden Gophers a .400 advantage entering the third event. Arizona encountered some problems on floor, scoring its second-lowest floor rotation score of the season (48.725). Adding to Arizona's difficulties, junior Randi Liljenquist did not compete on floor for the first time this season as a result of an ankle injury that she suffered during vault warmups. Minnesota capitalized on Arizona's mistakes, increasing its lead by .700 entering the fourth and final rotation. Arizona had a chance to close the gap in its last event, but the Wildcats had five out of six gymnasts score lower than a 9.700 on beam. Minnesota's 49.375 on floor in the final event allowed the Golden Gophers to capture the victory.

    Individually for the Wildcats, senior Kara Fry tied for first place on bars with a 9.875 and finished second overall in the all-around with a 39.375. Fry tied for second on beam (9.825), finished third on floor (9.875) and tied for sixth on vault (9.800). Sophomore Nikki Beyschau tied for first-place honors on vault and tied a career-high 9.900 en route to a share of the title. Senior Heather Straccia posted a career-high 9.825 on bars and tied for fifth place in the event. Straccia tied for fourth place on floor with a 9.850 and scored a season-high 9.775 on vault.

    Freshman Cori Messina posted a career-high 9.825 on vault and tied for fourth place. Messina tallied a career-high 9.550 in her first collegiate beam performance and tied a career-high 9.750 on floor. Junior Lindsay Compitello tied for sixth on beam with a 9.675. Senior Mary Reiss tied for eighth place on floor (9.750), and freshman Sheehan Lemley tied for eighth on beam (9.625). Beyschau and freshman Andi McCabe tied for eighth place on bars, each scoring a 9.775 in the event.

    "We started off very well on bars and vault, scoring at least a 49 in both events. It is just so disappointing that we gave up a potentially higher score as a result of our difficulties on beam and floor. Kara (Fry) had a really good meet, and Cori (Messina) is really improving in all of her events. We just seemed to underperform on beam and floor, which have been two of our best events all season. We just have to get Randi (Liljenquist) healthy and have some good practices before Wednesday's meet (against North Carolina State)," said Arizona head coach Bill Ryden.

    Scouting North Carolina State - North Carolina State (14-13) is coming off a 197.800-194.350 loss against No. 5 Georgia on March 10... North Carolina State tallied a season-high road score of 194.350 against the Bulldogs... Although the team is not ranked in the top-25 poll this week, NC State checks into the national rankings at No. 14 on beam... The squad is ranked No. 7 in the Southeast Region, and the Wolfpack's season-high score is a 196.150... NC State is third on beam, fourth on bars, seventh on vault and eighth on floor in the regional rankings... Individually, junior Kelli Brown is the only Wolfpack gymnast listed in the national rankings, checking in at No. 16 on bars... Brown is 10th in the all-around regional rankings, fourth on bars and 12th on floor... North Carolina State entered the 2001 season ranked No. 19 in the preseason coaches' poll... Head coach Mark Stevenson (Iowa, '78) is in his 21st year with the Wolfpack and holds a 273-164 career and school record.

    Wildcats in the Rankings - After reaching the No. 20 position in last week's top-25 poll, Arizona dropped two spots to No. 22 in the national poll on March 12... The squad began the 2001 season ranked No. 20 in the preseason coaches' poll... This week, nine of Arizona's 2001 opponents - UCLA, Utah, Stanford, Arizona State, Minnesota, Oregon State, Oklahoma, Washington and California - are ranked in the March 12 national gymnastics poll... UA is ranked nationally in three events - tied for No. 14 on vault, tied for No. 25 on bars and No. 21 on floor... Junior Randi Liljenquist and senior Kara Fry are the only Wildcats ranked in this week's national poll... Liljenquist is No. 15 in the all-around and tied for No. 22 on floor... Fry is tied for No. 18 in the all-around... Arizona fell one spot in the South Central Regional rankings, checking in this week at No. 4 in the region behind Nebraska, Arizona State and Oklahoma... The Cats are third on vault, fifth on both bars and floor and sixth on beam... In the individual regional rankings, Liljenquist is first on floor, third in the all-around, tied for sixth on beam, 10th on vault and tied for 19th on bars... Fry is fifth in the all-around, ninth on beam, tied for 11th on floor, 13th on bars and 14th on vault... Sophomore Nikki Beyschau is tied for fifth on vault and tied for 19th on bars... Senior Mary Reiss is tied for ninth on floor, and senior Heather Straccia is tied for 15th on floor... In terms of schedule strength, 10 of Arizona's 2001 opponents were ranked in the preseason coaches' poll... Six Pac-10 teams - UCLA (1), Stanford (7), Arizona State (11), Oregon State (12), Washington (16) and Arizona (20) - were ranked in the preseason poll... Women's gymnastics rankings are posted every Monday at:

    Arizona in the Record Books - In last weekend's meet at Minnesota, Arizona scored a 49.050 on vault, which is the team's second-highest mark of the year, and the event total matched the No. 7 vault score on the Wildcats' all-time top-10 list... Arizona set a new school record with its season-high team total of 196.900 against Arizona State on March 2... UA's previous team record was a 196.300, which was set on March 26, 1999, against Arizona State, in McKale Center... UA posted a season-high 49.475 on floor to set a school record in the team's last event of the ASU meet... Arizona notched a season-high 49.100 on vault, and the score is the fifth-best mark in UA history... The Wildcats' season-high 49.000 on beam and its 49.325 score on bars each tied the No. 5 bars and beam scores, respectively, on the all-time top-10 list... Two weeks ago against Stanford, the Wildcats tallied a season-high 49.375 on bars, and the score tied the third-best bar rotation in school history... In comparison to the beginning of the season, Arizona has improved a great deal after nine meets, and the two team records set last weekend are an indication of the team's overall progress... Arizona scored its season-low team total of 190.775 in the second meet of the year against California, Oklahoma and San Jose State on Jan. 19... The Wildcats scored season lows on vault (48.000), bars (46.125) and floor (48.600) in the same meet... UA's season-low 47.575 on beam came in the first meet of the season against North Carolina State, New Hampshire and James Madison on Jan. 14... Overall, Arizona has improved its team total by 6.125 points, its vault score by 1.100, its bars score by 3.250, its beam score by 1.425 and its floor score by .875.

    UA's Top-10 Performers - Sophomore Nikki Beyschau tied a career-high 9.900 on vault in the Minnesota meet on March 10, and Beyschau's score matched the sixth-best mark on the all-time top-10 list... Junior All-American Randi Liljenquist posted a career-high 39.650 in the all-around on March 2, and the score is the second-best individual mark on the all-time top-10 performers' list... Liljenquist scored a career-high 9.900 on vault, landing her in a tie for sixth place on the all-time top-10 list... She also tied a career-high 9.925 on bars, as she remains tied for seventh on the all-time top-10 list... In the ASU meet, senior Kara Fry tied a career-high 9.900 on floor, and she tied the sixth-best all-time individual score... Beyschau scored a career-high 9.900 on vault against the Sun Devils and is tied with Liljenquist for sixth place on the all-time list... Senior Mary Reiss tallied a career-high 9.925 on floor in the ASU meet, and she tied the third-best individual floor mark in school history... Senior Nicci Filchner posted a career-high 9.900 on bars last weekend and the score tied the ninth-best individual bars score in UA history... Fry and Beyschau each scored career-high marks of 9.950 on bars in the Stanford meet on Feb. 23, and they are tied for the third-best individual bars score in school history... In the Stanford meet, Fry also posted a career-high 39.525 in the all-around, which tied the second-highest score on the UA's all-time top-10 performers' list... Fry and freshman Andi McCabe each posted career-high marks of 9.850 on vault against Washington on Feb. 18... Both Fry and McCabe vaulted into the Arizona record books by matching UA's No. 10 all-time individual vault score... Fry has broken into all five of the individual event categories thus far in her stellar gymnastics career... Fry tied her career-high 9.900 on beam in the UCLA Invitational on Feb. 11, as she defeated three U.S. Olympians en route to the beam event title... Her career-high 9.900 is the sixth-best all-time individual mark... McCabe posted her career-high 9.850 in only her third collegiate vault competition.

    Cat Scratches - Arizona head coach Bill Ryden is in his third year at the helm of the program (11th overall at Arizona) and holds a 25-44-1 career and school record... Arizona notched two victories over North Carolina State and James Madison on the road in the first meet of the 2001 season... UA is 1-7 in neutral contests, 1-5 in away meets and 2-3 at home this season... Six of Arizona's eight freshman have competed this season... So far this year, 13 Wildcat gymnasts have set or tied season-high and career-high marks... Junior Randi Liljenquist leads the team with 12 individual event titles, including three all-around titles... Liljenquist also has 32 top-five performances... Senior Kara Fry has nine individual event titles, including three all-around championships, and 27 top-five finishes... Freshman Aimee Estella has a vault title and two top-five finishes... Senior Mary Reiss has posted six top-five finishes... Sophomore Nikki Beyschau has seven top-five performances, including two vault titles and a bars event title... Freshman Andi McCabe has four top-five performances... Senior Heather Straccia holds four top-five finishes, while senior Nicci Filchner has two top-five finishes... Freshmen Cori Messina has two top-five performances, and freshman Sheehan Lemley has one top-five finish entering this week's meet.

    Injury Update - Junior All-American Randi Liljenquist injured her ankle last Saturday in the Minnesota meet... Liljenquist suffered the ankle injury during vault warmups and was unable to compete in the floor routine for the first time in her career... Prior to the Minnesota meet, she had competed in 35 consecutive floor routines dating back to her freshman season in 1999... Head coach Bill Ryden said Monday that "it is going to be a game time decision" as to whether she will compete at all against North Carolina State... Freshmen Aimee Estella and Meagan Killpack will sit out the remainder of the season after suffering ACL injuries... Estella, who won a vault title in the first meet of the season at North Carolina State, tore her ACL on the landing of her bar dismount during practice on Feb. 8... Killpack, a walk-on, suffered the same injury on the first tumbling pass in a floor exercise exhibition at the UCLA Invitational on Feb. 11... Estella competed in five meets in her first season, and Killpack competed in three meets... Estella posted career-high marks on vault (9.800), bars (9.175) and beam (9.750), and Killpack set career-high marks on bars (9.100), beam (9.325) and floor (9.650).

    A Look Ahead - Arizona travels to Seattle, Wash., for the Pac-10 Championship meet on Saturday, March 24, at 8 p.m. MST... The championship meet, hosted by the University of Washington, will feature all seven conference teams.

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