April 20, 2012
DULUTH, Ga. - Arizona gymnast Katie Matusik will be advancing to the NCAA National Championship Individual Finals after a strong showing in the balance beam in today's meet. Junior Aubree Cristello made her mark at the Championships as well, competing all four events and placing in the all-around competition.
"I'm so proud of both girls. They did incredibly well, and represented our school phenomenally. Both girls have had such amazing seasons, and I can't comment enough on their performance throughout the year as well as how well they did today," head coach Bill Ryden said.
In her first appearance at the NCAA National competition, Matusik tied for second place with her third consecutive score of 9.900 on the balance beam, enabling her to secure her spot in Sunday's individual event finals. This performance marked the senior's sixth score of 9.900 or better for the season and ninth in her career.
"Katie had a great beam set. We upgraded her routine to make it more difficult, and she still beyond nailed it. Even after the team ahead of her hit their sets, she was able to get out there and outscore everyone; she truly is a performer," Ryden said.
Because of her success, Matusik also secured one of the most difficult titles to achieve in collegiate gymnastics: 1st team All-American.
"I've heard someone call Katie the `beam queen', and she certainly has earned that title - today was obviously no exception." Ryden said, "Beam honors are few and far between, and to be 1st team All-American is not only rare, but is an incredibly difficult honor to achieve in the sport of gymnastics because so few of these awards are given out. I'm incredibly happy for Katie."
Cristello, rotating with the University of Utah, posted an all-around score of 39.075 to earn the tenth best score in the session. The junior began the afternoon on floor, earning a score of 9.825 to tie for fourth place. She then rotated to vault, tying for seventh place with a 9.800. With a score of 9.600, Cristello landed in tenth place, and she finished out the meet tying her career high beam score of 9.850 for fourth.
"I can't say enough about Aubree. She had one hard event, but she didn't let it get her down. She approached the last event with a smile on her face and came back - like she always does - with her highest score of the night." Ryden said, "Even with a glitch on bars, she posted the highest all-around score of all of the individual competitors, which really speaks to how strong of a gymnast she is."
The meet will continue throughout the weekend, with one more semi-final session this evening at 6 p.m. ET, team finals tomorrow, April 21 at 4 p.m. ET, and individual event finals on Sunday, April 22 at 1 p.m. ET.