Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Cats Head to Cali for Back to Back Competitions
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: February 29, 2012
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Feb. 29, 2012

What’s Up:

No. 17 Arizona heads to Davis, Calif. for the first of two meets on the west coast. This Friday, March 2nd the Cats will be taking on UC Davis, San Jose State, and Alaska. The meet is scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m. at the Pavilion. Live stats will be available the day of the meet.

Scouting the Opposition:

UC Davis: Last week the Aggies earned a conference win over Seattle Pacific, posting a team total score of 192.900. Junior Katie Yamamura took two event totals and placed first in the all-around, also earning conference recognition as Gymnast of the Week. Other notable performances came from junior Leah Housman, who earned her third straight beam title with a 9.800.

Full Release

San Jose State: The San Jose State Spartans swept the podium last week, posting a 194.900 against Maryland (194.250) and California (192.475). Thomasina Wallace was the standout for the Spartans, earning her fifth all-around title posting a 39.350. Katie Valleau also had an outstanding performance, tying her career high 9.90 to win floor.

Full Release

Alaska: Alaska should be well rested up after two weeks of break. In their most recent meet, the Seawolfs fell to Air Force, posting a team total 189.300. Highlights came from a career-high 37.775 all-around from freshman Morgan Cook, and a 37.725 from Melissa Doucette.

Full Release

Last Week:

The Wildcats had three standout events, posting a 49.025 on vault, a 49.075 on beam and a 49.125 under the leadership of the seniors for a come-from-behind conference win against the then No. 25 Washington Huskies.

Full Recap

Cats in the Rankings:

Aubree Cristello is on the up and up, earning a national ranking of No. 7 after her fifth consecutive score of 9.90 (or better) on floor. The junior currently bolsters a RQS of 9.890 on the event in addition to a high score of 9.95 and an average of 9.893. Cristello also can be spotted in the all-around with a ranking of No. 26.

Senior Katie Matusik also made an appearance on the top 25 list for the second consecutive week, coming in at No. 22 for balance beam. Matusik has averaged a 9.832 over the season, with a current RQS of 9.840 and a high score of 9.90.

All Arizona top 100 national rankings:

Vault: Aubree Cristello, No. 44; Jordan Williams No. 63

Bars: Katie Matusik, No. 30

Beam: Katie Matusik, No. 22;

Floor: Aubree Cristello, No. 7; Katie Matusik, No. 83

All-Around: Aubree Cristello, No. 26

2011 Review:

The Wildcats completed the 2011 season with an overall record of 13-12 and were able to make their 25th consecutive NCAA post-season appearance. Finishing fifth at the Pac-10 Championships and the NCAA Regional Championships, Arizona rounded out the season ranked No. 20 in the nation.

Major contributors included then RS senior Miranda Russell, and then-juniors Deanna Graham and Katie Matusik.

Russell, who had spent her RS junior season competing only on bars, returned to vault and floor in 2011, making a huge impact on the team totals with high scores of 9.875 on vault, two scores 9.90 on bars, and a career high 9.925 on floor. Russell also took fifth place on vault at the Pac-10 Championships, and sixth place on both bars and floor at the NCAA Regional Championships.

Graham was one of the team’s top all-around athletes, posting a season high AA score of 39.100 at the Pac-10 Championships. Graham also tallied high scores of 9.925 on vault, 9.850 on bars, 9.90 on beam, and 9.90 on floor. Her performance throughout the season earned conference recognition as she was named to the first-team All-Pac-10 All-Around.

Matusik had a break out junior season as well, taking the title of “beam queen” for the season. Matusik earned three scores of 9.90 or better on the event, with a career high 9.925 at BYU (2/26). She also earned second place on beam at the NCAA Regional Championships with a score of 9.875, and was named to the first-team All-Pac-10 Beam Team. Lastly, Matusik was one of two conference athletes to be honored with the Pac-10 Sportsmanship Award for 2011.

A number of Wildcats were recognized by the conference throughout the season, including Matusik (Special Performance of the Week Feb. 21 - 27), Graham (Gymnast of the Week Feb. 7 – 13, and Mar. 7-13), then junior Aubree Cristello (Gymnast of the Week Jan. 31-Feb.6, and first-team All-Pac-10 All-Around), and Russell (Special Performance of the Week Jan. 24-30).

Look Out for New GymCats:

Arizona added a number of new faces this season, including Danielle Buchanan out of Lancaster, Calif., Allison Flores hailing from Addison, Ill., Edmonton, Alberta native Kristin Klarenbach, and Amber Wobma from Rockford, Mich.

Questions for Coach:

Each week, head gymnastics coach Bill Ryden sits down to talk with us to analyze the previous week's meet. This Coach's Show is available for free via the All-Access tab on the website. 

This season Ryden is entertaining questions from the public. If you have any questions you would like to ask Coach Ryden - from the type of grips the girl's like to use to different coaching decisions - e-mail them to the gymnastics SID Valery Meusburger at Then, watch for your questions in the weekly Coach's Show!

Pre-season Rankings:

The Arizona gymnastics team headed into the season ranked No. 19 in the 2012 Women’s Pre-Season Coaches poll. The Wildcats were one of six Pac-12 schools to place within the top 25 in the prelim poll, with UCLA ranked No. 1, Utah ranked No. 5, Oregon State at No. 7, Stanford at No. 8, and Washington falling in at No. 16.

Ryden’s Record:

After the conference win over the Huskies, head coach Bill Ryden bolsters a career record of 182-177-3.

What’s Coming Up:

The Cats head to Palo Alto California for the second meet of the weekend for a conference meet against Stanford and California. The meet is set to take place at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 4th.

Bear Down Challenge Gymnastics