State College, Pa. ?- Despite a near perfect final rotation on the bars, the Arizona women’s gymnastics team (194.350) fell to No. 5 Alabama (196.150) and Penn State (194.875) on Saturday night.
“Once again, this was a bittersweet performance,” Head Coach Bill Ryden said. “We dug ourselves such a hole after the first rotation on beam, but, to their credit, the team never gave up.”
The Wildcats best team score (49.300) since 2004 on the uneven parallel bars was not enough to overcome the Nittany Lions, who took second place. Veterans Aubrey Taylor, Danielle Hicks and Karin Wurm each earned second-place scores of 9.875 in the event. Arizona also received some clutch performances by freshmen Alexis Greene (9.850) and Sarah Parsons (9.825). Each individual score was a career-high mark, except for Taylor’s.
“Our bars team was outstanding,” Ryden said. “The freshmen really stepped up. Aubrey, Danielle and Karin did exactly what they needed to.”
The Wildcats got off to an inauspicious start on the balance beam, posting a team score of 47.350. Hicks led the squad with a score of 9.750. Junior Jamie Holton added a personal-best 9.625 in the event.
Arizona rebounded on the floor, with a team score of 48.725. Hicks again led the Wildcats with a mark of 9.775. Holton, Wurm and Taylor each added scores of 9.750, respectively.
The Wildcats continued to chip away at the competition on the vault. Competing in only their second collegiate meet, freshmen Greene and Bree Workman turned impressive marks of 9.875 and 9.850 to capture second and third-place in the event, respectively. Freshman Rachelle Silberg earned a score of 9.825, while Wurm tallied a 9.800.
In only her second all-around competition, Wurm earned a meet-best total of 39.025. Hicks shared second place with a total of 38.975, while Taylor captured sixth place with a 38.550.
"Karin had a tremendous meet," Ryden said. "She was really solid on all four events for us."
Arizona’s individual event scores bested the marks it posted last week in Cancun.
“The thing I am most proud of is that this team didn’t quit,” Ryden said. “After that first rotation, it would have been easy for them to roll over. They didn’t do that. We had three fantastic efforts in the last three events.”
“We’re such a young team that we’ve got a lot of things to learn,” Ryden added. “I’m not going to use that as an excuse. We’ve shown that we can compete with the best teams in the country in three events. We just have to sure up some things on the beam.”
The Wildcats will be in action again next Sunday, Jan. 22, at Arizona State.