Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Gymnastics Places Third at North Central Regional; Wurm, Taylor Qualify for National Championships
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: April 09, 2006
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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AMES, Iowa, - The No. 15 Arizona women’s gymnastics team placed third at the NCAA North Central Regional Championship on Saturday night before 3,214 fans in Hilton Coliseum. While the finish brings the team’s season to a close, Aubrey Taylor and Karin Wurm each qualified individually to advance to the NCAA Championships.


No. 11 Arizona State (196.675) captured the regional title, while No. 4 Iowa State (195.725) edged out the Wildcats (195.400) for the second NCAA Championship berth. Arizona, which last advanced to the NCAA Championships in 2002, finished ahead of No. 19 Denver (195.250), No. 21 Minnesota (194.675) and No. 24 Brigham Young (192.125).


“This stings,” head coach Bill Ryden said following the meet referring to the team missing out on the NCAA Championships by 0.325 points. “I think we showed our youth and lack of depth. I’m proud of our team, though, that is for sure. They never gave up.”


The host Cyclones started off the meet on floor and looked like the team to beat, scoring a 49.350. The Sun Devils also looked sharp, recording a 49.125 on vault. The Wildcats, meanwhile, sat and watched while having a bye before starting the competition on floor.


Arizona answered with a strong performance of its own, scoring a 49.000. The score kept the team within striking distance of the top two seeds, but Arizona State slowly pulled away from the pack. Paced by four team scores of 49.125 or better, Arizona State left the Wildcats and Cyclones to battle for the final spot.


Despite the early lead, Iowa State struggled to hold off the Wildcats, but two misses on vault and two sub-par bar performances seemed to leave the Wildcats out of the hunt.


“We know what the difference was,” Ryden said of the scores on vault and bars. “Let’s face it, we know the implications when you miss twice on vault and bars and have to count low scores.”


However, the Cyclones left the door open for the Wildcats as they faltered on beam to finish their meet in the fifth rotation. With Iowa State sitting out the final rotation, the Wildcats moved to beam to close the meet, trailing the Cyclones by 49.250 for second place overall in the competition. Arizona scored a 48.925 to lock up third place.


Despite finishing third at regionals for the third time in six years, Ryden was pleased with the team’s gritty effort.


“It definitely wiped away the feeling coming from Pac-10s,” Ryden commented. “We came out and competed like ?'Arizona’ is supposed to compete. I was proud we kept on fighting.”


Arizona opened the meet in the second rotation on floor as it posted a 49.000 team score. Jamie Holton got the Wildcats off to a solid start, tallying a 9.800. Erin Muirhead then received a 9.750, before Briana Bergeson notched a 9.775 in the first official floor routine of her career. Danielle Hicks then scored a 9.800, before Wurm received the top score for the Wildcats with a 9.850, good enough for sixth place in the event. Taylor closed out the rotation, scoring a 9.775.


The Wildcats scored a 48.700 as they continued on to vault for the third rotation. Rachelle Silberg and Hicks each posted 9.750s to start the rotation. Wurm recorded a 9.800, before Holton tallied a 9.850 to lead the club and tie for fourth overall. Bree Workman then scored a 9.550 to finish out the rotation.


After a bye, Arizona continued on bars for the fifth rotation as it scored a 48.775. Bergeson received a 9.675, while Hicks added a 9.550. Wurm scored a 9.850 to earn a sixth-place finish, while Greene chipped in a 9.800. Taylor then closed the rotation out, tallying a 9.900, earning her a share of first place in the event. The finish qualifies Taylor for a berth at the NCAA Championships.


Muirhead started off the final beam rotation, scoring a 9.725. After a fall by Holton, Wurm got the club back on track with a 9.800. Taylor then added a 9.825 to tie for sixth overall, and Bergeson chipped in a 9.725. Hicks wrapped up the rotation and the competition, posting a 9.850.


Wurm finished tied for third in the all-around with a total of 39.300, the second-highest score of her career. The 5-5 sophomore advances to the NCAA Championships as an all-around qualifier, since she was one of the top two finishers who was not a member of a qualifying team.


Hicks and Taylor also competed in the all-around, scoring totals of 38.950 and 38.925, respectively.


“I am so proud of Aubrey and Karin” Ryden said of the program’s first national qualifiers since Monica Bisordi and Andi McCabe advanced in 2004. “That was obviously Aubrey’s best bar set this season by far. Karin just had a fabulous meet. I know they will represent the program well at the National Championships.”


Wurm and Taylor will compete in the National Championships in Corvallis, Ore., on April 20-22. Wurm will compete as an all-arounder, while Taylor will compete only in the bars competition.

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