TUCSON, Ariz. ?- University of Arizona women’s gymnastics coaches John Court and Colleen Johnson were named South Central Region Co-Assistant Coaches of the Year on Saturday night at the South Central Regional Championships held in McKale Center.
Court and Johnson helped lead a young Wildcat squad to a highly successful season that culminated on Saturday night with a third-place finish at the South Central Regional Championships, as Arizona narrowly missed advancing to the NCAA Championships by 0.050 points. Even so, the duo has been instrumental throughout the season working with Karin Wurm, Brittney Morgan and Jamie Holton, who each qualified individually to compete at the NCAA Championships.
Court is in his ninth season at Arizona, having served as head coach Bill Ryden’s top assistant in each of nine season of his seasons at the helm of the Arizona gymnastics program. His duties in the gym include vault and floor coaching, where Court is responsible for developing each gymnast tumbling and vaulting. Earlier this season, the Wildcats’ vault team scored a 49.450 in the final regular season home meet, the fifth-highest mark in program history on the event. A week earlier at North Carolina State, Arizona’s floor team tallied a 49.425, a mark that is seventh all-time at Arizona.
In all, Court coached five UA vaulters who scored a 9.900 or better on the season, including Morgan, who notched a 9.975 at N.C. State, the fifth-best individual score in the event at UA. On floor, three Wildcats earned a 9.900 or better, lead by Holton’s 9.950 on March 16, which ties for fifth-best at Arizona.
Johnson is in her third season at Arizona, having joined the Wildcat program after spending five years as assistant coach at North Carolina State University where she was named Southeast Region Assistant Coach of the Year in 2003. At Arizona, Johnson is responsible for choreographing the floor exercise routines, assisting with music selection and editing, coaching primarily the balance beam, while assisting with all practice activities.
Johnson’s impact on the UA beam team was on full display at the South Central Regional Championships, as the Wildcats scored a 49.425 in the final rotation to nearly rally back and upset second-seed Oregon State for second place in the meet. The event score was the second-highest all-time at Arizona, while four Wildcats scored a 9.900 or better on the night. Leading the way was Holton, who scored a 9.925 to win the individual title and qualify individually for the NCAA Championships. In addition, Wurm set a new career high with a 9.900, while Briana Begeson and Brittney Morgan also received 9.900s.
As a team, Arizona scored a 49.0 or higher on beam in four of the final six meets of the season. Under the tutelage of Johnson, six Wildcats set career highs on beam during the 2007 season, led by Bergeson’s 9.950 at California, which ranks tied for third-best at Arizona. Johnson also helped coach Holton to her selection on the All-Pac-10 team on beam, the first such honor of her career.
Johnson and Court will accompany Arizona’s three individual qualifiers to the NCAA Championships in Salt Lake City on April 26-28.