March 28, 2010
TUCSON, Ariz. – The No. 23 Arizona Women’s Gymnastics began the post-season with a bang, earning fourth place in the Pac-10 Championships with a score of 195.875. UCLA won the meet with a score of 197.35, Stanford took second posting a 196.55 and Oregon State placed third with a score of 195.950. Fifth, sixth, and seventh went to Washington (193.825) California (191.475) and Arizona State (190.675) respectively.
“I am absolutely ecstatic about the way this meet turned out.” Head Coach Bill Ryden said, “I think this meet really showed our continued growth. It wasn’t a perfect 24 for 24, but to hit all of our routines under this pressure was the next step towards becoming a better team. Once again, how can you not love a team with this much passion?”
The Wildcats fought hard early on in the meet, earning a team total of 49.050 on the vault rotation. Sophomore Deanna Graham, who earned a score of 9.90 in last week’s meet against Denver, led the team once again, posting a score of 9.875 to tie for third place in the meet. Not far behind her was senior Sarah Tomczyk, who scored a 9.850. After the first rotation, the GymCats had earned themselves the second place position, following UCLA with a score of 49.275.
“I was very happy with vault. It was a great start to the meet; to earn a 49 in front of a four judge panel in one of the toughest conferences in the sport is nothing to laugh at. This score is definitely a legitimate score.” Ryden said, “To be able to compete like this with this kind of pressure really showed the growth and maturity of our team.”
Arizona’s next event was bars, where they earned a team total of 48.975. Senior Sarah Tomczyk finished the lineup but led the team with a score of 9.850, earning her fourth place overall. Junior Miranda Russell scored well also, posting a score of 9.825. Overall, the bar team impressed both the gymnasts and the coaches putting out six solid routines. Once again, upon the conclusion of the rotation the Wildcats were in second place behind UCLA.
“We had a few ups and downs with bars over the last few weeks, and we knew that they would be a test for us in the meet. Our entire bar team really rose to the occasion and went six for six . Deanna did a great job starting us off, and Miranda and Sarah did great.” Ryden said. “It was very satisfying to watch Sarah catch that release.”
The Wildcats then traveled to beam, where they competed a new lineup to earn a team total of 48.875.
“As a coaching staff we were rolling all the dice with the lineup, and even though we had a few balance checks here and there overall we had a pretty good beam rotation.” Ryden said.
Led by freshman Molly Quirk with a score of 9.800, none of the GymCats scored less than a 9.750, including Aubree Cristello, Kaite Matusik and Deanna Graham’s scores of 9.775. These strong performances put Arizona in a solid third place position behind UCLA and Stanford going into the last event.
“At that point I told the team to believe in themselves, not to doubt, and not to be afraid to win. Instead of focusing on not falling I told them to focus on staying up, and have a positive mindset. Going into floor we knew we could hit and perform.” Ryden said.
The team did hit and perform, landing all six routines on the event and totaling a score of 48.975. Deanna Graham and Sarah Tomczyk earned twin scores of 9.850, Aubree Cristello earned a score of 9.825, Katie Matusik posted a 9.750, and Molly Quirk and Talyn Curry had matching scores of 9.700. Unfortunately, however, this put the Wildcats 0.075 behind Oregon State who had secured third place.
“Even though we came in fourth place I was still satisfied with the way the meet went. We have gone through so much this year I think we have really earned everything we’ve gotten. I am so proud of everyone on my team.” Ryden said.
The Cats had three all-around competitors this meet. Deanna Graham led the team with an all-around of 39.250 followed by Aubree Cristello who posted a 39.175 and then Molly Quirk with a score of 38.850.
“Molly and Aubree. Molly Quirk has hit 47 out of 48 routines in her yearlong career at Arizona, and Aubree is one of our go-to gymnasts. The team and the results wouldn’t be there without them – they don’t compete like freshmen, they compete like well seasoned college athletes.” Ryden said.
“I think this meet really showed everyone that we are not afraid to compete. We’ve seen the best this season, and we have the heart to compete against anyone no matter what they are ranked. Post season is like having a new life, so bring it on!” Ryden said.
From here, the Wildcats will be traveling out of state to compete in NCAA Regionals on April 10, 2010 (location and time TBA).