March 17, 2003
What's on Tap: The No. 19 University of Arizona women's gymnastics team (4-9, 1-5 Pac-10) will travel to Denver, Colo., for its final regular season meet against No. 18 Denver (13-7) and West Virginia (11-7) on Saturday, March 22 in Denver's Magness Arena. The meet is set to start at 6 p.m. (MST).
The Rankings: Arizona enters its regular season finale as the 19th ranked team in the nation, owning a Regional Qualifying Score (RQS) of 195.965. The Cats are coming off their best performance of the year after setting a school record and season-high 197.375 last Friday against Oklahoma. As a team, Arizona is ranked No. 26 in the nation on vault (48.925), No. 21 on bars (49.010), No. 14 on beam (49.115) and 16th nationally on floor (49.270). Individually for the Wildcats, sophomore Monica Bisordi is ranked No. 8 nationally in the all-around (39.500), No. 19 on beam (9.900) and No. 17 on floor (9.920). Sophomore Katie Johnson owns a No. 25 national ranking on floor (9.905) and freshman Abby Pearson is ranked No. 34 on vault (9.880).
About the Rankings: Unlike other collegiate athletic rankings, collegiate gymnastic rankings are not based on wins and losses or votes. Gymnastic teams are ranked by their meet scores. As of Feb. 24, teams and gymnasts will be ranked by Regional Qualifying Score (RQS). A Regional Qualifying Score is based on a team's top-six regular-season scores, with three scores coming from away meets. To obtain the regional qualifying score, the team's or gymnast's highest score is dropped and the remaining five scores are averaged. Complete rankings can be viewed at www.troester.com.
Arizona Head Coach Bill Ryden... is in his fifth season at the helm of the Arizona gymnastics program and holds a school and career record of 53-73-1. Ryden leads Arizona into 2003 after making his first appearance as a head coach at a NCAA Championship (2002), the program's first appearance since 1996. In 2002, Ryden earned Pac-10 Conference Coach of the Year honors as well as South Central Regional Coach of the Year honors, becoming the first head coach in Arizona history to have earned Regional Coach of the year honors.
Last Time Out: The No. 18 University of Arizona women's gymnastics team dropped its final home meet of the season to No. 14 Oklahoma in a record-setting performance, 197.375-197.725, on Friday, March 14 before a crowd of 1079 in McKale Center. Arizona finished the meet with a team-record score of 197.375.
Arizona was able to set its new team record by posting a season-high mark in each event. The Cats finished with a school record 49.500 on beam and a 49.400 on bars, the third highest score in school history. Arizona also posted a season-best 49.125 on vault and a 49.350 on floor, the 10th highest mark in school history.
Eight Arizona gymnast- Abby Pearson, Erin Muirhead, Andi McCabe, Monica Bisordi, Kristine Harper, Jamie Schell, Jamie Duce and Stevie Fanning- tied or set career-highs in the meet.
Individually for the Wildcats, freshman Abby Pearson hit a career-best 10.000 on vault to win her third vault title of the season. Pearson becomes only the third Wildcat gymnast in school history to post a 10.000 on vault.
Sophomore Monica Bisordi continues to post career-highs left and right, finishing the meet with a career-high 39.750 in the all-around, the second-best score in school history. Bisordi also tied for first-place honors on beam with a career-high 9.975, on floor with a career-high 9.950 and on bars with a career-high 9.950, and finished third on vault (9.875).
Junior Andi McCabe finished fifth on bars with a career-best 9.900 and tied for fourth place on vault (9.850). Sophomore Kristine Harper placed fifth on beam with a career-high 9.925 and sophomore Jamie Duce tied for third-place honors on floor with a career-high tying mark of 9.900.
Arizona began its record-setting meet by posting a 49.125 on vault, but trailed Oklahoma in the first rotation after the Sooners hit a 49.550 on bars. Jamie Duce was called into action for sophomore Katie Johnson on vault, after Johnson injured her left knee in the vault warm-up period.
The Cats then posted a 49.400 on bars in the second rotation, led by Bisordi's 9.950, but trailed Oklahoma, 98.525-98.675, at the halfway mark. Arizona was able to cut into the Sooners' lead after posting a 49.500 on beam in the third rotation and trailed, 148.025-148.050, heading into the final rotation.
Arizona came close to pulling off the comeback in the last rotation by posting a 49.350 on floor, but was unable to overcome Oklahoma's 49.675 on beam.
About the Pioneers: The University of Denver Pioneers (13-7) enter Saturday's meet as the 18th ranked team in the nation, owning a RQS of 196.475. As a team, Denver is ranked No. 18 nationally on vault (49.065), No. 15 on bars (49.100), No. 24 on beam (48.830) and No. 8 on floor (49.380). The Pioneers are led by junior Emily Bankhead, ranked 23rd in the nation in the all-around (39.360) and No. 8 on floor (9.940). Denver returns 11 gymnasts from last year's squad, including All-American Ashley Shible and has one freshman newcomer. Head coach Melissa Kutcher-Rinehart (Florida '93) enters her fifth year at the helm of the Denver program and owns a career record of 91-34.
About the Mountaineers: The West Virginia University Mountaineers (11-7) enter Saturday's match up owning a RQS of 194.480. As a team, the Mountaineers are ranked No. 16 in the nation on vault (49.070). West Virginia returns nine gymnasts from last year's squad and is led by senior TeShawne Jackson, who owns a No. 15 national ranking on vault (9.900). Head coach Linda Burdette (West Virginia '74) enters her 29th season at the helm of the West Virginia program and owns a career record of 483-193-2.
Against Denver and West Virginia: Arizona leads the all-time series versus Denver 12-2. Arizona has not faced Denver since Feb. 2, 2001, when the Wildcats defeated the Pioneers in a tri-meet, 195.175-194.825, in Tucson. The last time Arizona competed in Denver was Jan. 30, 2000, when the Cats fell to the Pioneers in a tri-meet, 194.375-192.900. Under head coach Bill Ryden, the Wildcats are 1-1 against Denver and will face West Virginia for the first time under Ryden.
Light it Up: It was fitting for Arizona's meet against Oklahoma to begin with the ringing of fire alarms, because the Cats ended up burning the team record books. During the pre-meet introductions, the smoke machine used to greet each gymnast accidentally set off every smoke alarm in McKale Center and wasn't enough to prevent Arizona from performing on fire. Arizona finished the meet with a team-record score of 197.375, breaking the old record of 197.050 set last season at the 2002 Pac-10 championships. The Cats also finished with a school record 49.500 on beam and a 49.400 on bars, the third-highest score in school history; while posting a season-best 49.125 on vault and a 49.350 on floor, the 10th highest mark in school history.
Perfection: Freshman Abby Pearson accomplished gymnastic perfection against Oklahoma, hitting a career-best 10.000 on vault. With the perfect-10 vault score, Pearson was able to claim her third vault title of the season and became only the third Wildcat gymnast in school history to post a 10.000 on vault.
Ms. Consistent: Sophomore Monica Bisordi continues to post career-highs left and right. On Friday against Oklahoma, Bisordi finished the meet with a career-high 39.750 in the all-around, the second-best score in school history. Bisordi also tied for first-place honors on beam with a career-high 9.975, on floor with a career-high 9.950 and on bars with a career-high 9.950, and finished third on vault (9.875). So far this season, Bisordi leads Arizona with 44 top-five finishes, including six all-around titles, five beam titles, three floor titles and two bars titles.
Career-Highs: Eight Arizona gymnast- Abby Pearson, Erin Muirhead, Andi McCabe, Monica Bisordi, Kristine Harper, Jamie Schell, Jamie Duce and Stevie Fanning- tied or set career-highs in Friday's meet against Oklahoma. Junior Andi McCabe finished fifth on bars with a career-best 9.900. Sophomore Kristine Harper placed fifth on beam with a career-high 9.925 and sophomore Jamie Duce tied for third-place honors on floor with a career-high tying mark of 9.900.
Last time in McKale: Senior Nikki Beyschau performed for the last time in McKale Center Friday night, capping a four-year career of home meets. Against the Sooners, Beyschau posted a season-high 9.875 on bars. So far this season, Beyschau has five top-five event finishes, including season-highs of 9.650 on vault and 9.875 on bars.
Against Ranked Opponents: With its loss to Oklahoma, Arizona dropped to 3-7 against ranked opponents on the season. The Wildcats are 2-3 versus ranked opponents on the road and 1-4 against ranked Pac-10 opponents.
Cats on the Radio: The Arizona Gymnastics team will make a series of guest appearances to two Tucson radio stations throughout the season. On every Thursday before a home meet, the Wildcats can be heard on KiiM-FM Tucson's Country Leader's early morning show. On each Wednesday, the Cats will join Rich Herrera on Fox Sports Radio 1290 AM.
Up Next: Arizona will head to Los Angeles, Calif. for the 2003 Pac-10 Championships on Saturday, March 29 at 6 p.m. (PST). The meet will be hosted by UCLA and held at Pauley Pavilion.