Feb. 12, 2011
RALEIGH, North Carolina - The Arizona Women's Gymnastics team earned a victory with a new team high of 195.550. North Carolina took second with a score of 194.250, and William and Mary earned third with a 187.575.
"I am incredibly proud of the team on how hard they fought; we were not totally on our game other than bars. We weren't quite nailing, and every routine we were gritting our teeth but they never gave up," head coach Bill Ryden said. "We went 23 for 24, no fall routines. Were they hit? No. But overall I was really proud of the girls."
The team started the meet off with a bang on bars, earning a score of 49.150. This score was the highest team bar score of the night.
"I never really guessed that bars would be so high scoring -- I knew we had great competitors, and they are all veterans but the squad is proving that they aren't afraid to compete against anyone," Ryden said. "To get that kind of a score first event it shows that they are competing very composed and very aggressive. I'm very pleased."
The highlight of the event, however, was senior Miranda Russell, who tied her career high to tie for first in the meet with a score of 9.90. This is Russell's third score of 9.90 or better this season so far.
"Miranda drilled her routine; she dropped that dismount and just stood there. She stuck cold, and it was a great set. She is just in a groove. She is a really great bar worker, and this routine really suits her - she's making the most of it," Ryden said.
The Cats then rotated to beam, posting the highest team score on the event of the night with a 48.625. Arizona dominated the podium, with Cristello tying for first with a 9.750, sophomore Ellen Pitluck, Graham, and junior Katie Matusik tying for second with scores of 9.725, and freshman Shana Sangston placing third with a 9.700.
"Every week the newcomers are becoming more seasoned, and this is the first time I've ever put Ellen in the lineup as a `normal' person. Molly is still ill, and we had some balance checks but overall I was pleased with the fight on the team on beam," Ryden said.
From there, the Wildcats rotated to floor, where they posted a team score of 48.925. Contributors included Russell, who tied for first place with a score of 9.850, Graham who tied for second with a 9.825, and junior Rebecca Cardenas who took third with a score of 9.775. Sophomore Molly Quirk posted a 9.750, and Matusik earned a 9.725.
"My favorite floor routine of the night was Becca. She came out strong after last week, but she got air on all of her passes, and she really started the team out strong," Ryden said. "Despite not feeling well Molly pulled out a pretty solid routine, but our floor wasn't really living up to the setup. Deanna and Miranda nailed nice sets to finish us up, but having to count some rougher floor routines kept us from our potential tonight."
Arizona finished up the meet on vault, earning the night's top team score with a 48.850. Graham took first overall with a 9.850, and Cristello placed second with a 9.825. Other top scores for the Cats included sophomore Mykle Douglas with a 9.750, Quirk with a 9.725, and Russell with a 9.700.
"I called the team over before we began vault because we really needed a complete meet on the road. We didn't do our absolute best vaulting, but It was nice that we had the victory on the event."
The Wildcats had three all-around competitors. Graham earned her first score above a 39.00 for the season, taking first overall with a 39.250. Quirk took third with a 38.900, and Cristello earned a score of 38.650.
"Admittedly Deanna has had a rougher time this season than normal, but she came into this meet completely focused and she came out and really showed she is on her way back to her true form; good for her for finally getting that monkey off of her back," Ryden said.
"This meet wasn't necessarily a showcase of our best gymnastics, but it definitely was an example of how tough we can compete," Ryden said.