Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Pac-10 Preview this Weekend
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: January 05, 2011
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Jan. 5, 2011

This Week:

No. 19 Arizona heads to its first of three appearances at Pauley Pavilion for the Pac-10 Preview meet (hosted by UCLA). The meet will take place at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 9.

Live Stats will be available via UCLA’s website, as well as an audio broadcast.

A facebook page has been created for the event as well.

The meet will air on television on January 13 on Prime Ticket at 4 p.m. and Fox Sports West at 6 p.m. Fox Sports Arizona will be airing the meet on January 14 at 6 p.m. as well as January 20 at 12 p.m.

A Quick Look at Arizona:

Arizona heads into the 2010 season with three returning First Team All-Conference all-around athletes, and two former First Team All-Conference athletes. Depth is further added to the team with the addition of five freshmen, with two of them expected to make an appearance within the first few meets.

RS senior Miranda Russell is expected to make a comeback on three out of four events, and keep a lookout for RS sophomore Rebecca Cardenas, who should be entering the line-up within the beginning half of the season.

Other Wildcats to watch include junior Katie Matusik, who is expected to impact the bar lineup, all-arounders Molly Quirk and Aubree Cristello, as well as junior Deanna Graham who proved to be a vaulting power house in 2010.

In general, the team has had strong practices in the last few weeks, preparing them for what Head Coach Bill Ryden calls a “discovery type meet, as well as a learning experience.”

The team has also added a lot of difficulty on several events. Look out for all new bar routines for almost the entire bar squad, as well as brand new floor and beam routines courtesy of former Pac-10 Champion and Assistant Coach Randi Acosta.

“I think that we are in a lot better of a place compared to last season.” Ryden said, “We have a lot better depth coming into the season, and a lot of the gymnasts that were younger last year have some good experience under their belts.”

Scouting the Opposition:

The Pac-10 promises to be a power house in gymnastics yet again this season, with three teams ranked in the top 10. UCLA is coming off a National Championship in 2010, and is currently ranked No. 1 in the pre-season poll. Not far behind is Stanford, ranked No. 6 and Oregon State No. 8, who finished fourth and eighth at the NCAA National Championships respectively. Other Pac-10 programs to be ranked include No. 21 Washington, and No. 25 Arizona State.

The Wildcats certainly aren’t just getting their feet wet in the first meet of the season but are jumping headfirst into some world class competition.

2010 Review:

The Wildcats completed the 2010 season with an overall record of 12-12 and were able to make their 24th consecutive NCAA post-season appearance. Finishing fourth at the Pac-10 Championships, and third at the NCAA Regional Championships, Arizona completed the season ranked No. 20 in the nation. Then sophomore Deanna Graham stepped up throughout the season to be a major contributor to the team, as well as the lone Wildcat to qualify for the NCAA National Championships. Graham also earned 1st team All-Conference Honors in the all-around for her performances.

Other break out performances included then freshmen Aubree Cristello and Molly Quirk.

Cristello earned her place as one of the Wildcats’ most consistent gymnasts; competing 12 out of 13 meets in the all-around, and hitting 49 of 51 total routines. Cristello also earned Pac-10 1st team All-Conference Honors for the all-around, with a career best score of 39.175.

Quirk rose to the challenge of becoming beam star, earning a score of 9.90 against Washington, and posting seven scores of 9.80 or above on the event. Hitting 51 of 52 routines competed as well as a high all-around score of 39.100, Quirk was yet another Wildcat to be honored with a spot on the Pac-10 All-Conference 1st team.

Look Out for New GymCats:

Arizona added a number of new faces this season, including Barbara Donaldson out of Bakersfield, Calif., Chelsea Perna hailing from Middletown, Del., Phoenix native Shana Sangston, Ali Stakem from Gaithersburg, Md., and Jordan Williams from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.

Pre-season Rankings:

The Arizona Gymcats head into the season ranked No. 19 in the 2010 Women’s Pre-Season Coaches poll. They are one of six Pac-10 schools to be rated. The others include No. 1 UCLA, No. 6 Stanford, No. 8 Oregon State, No. 21 Washington, and No. 25 Arizona State.

Stacked Schedule:

Arizona faces a stacked schedule this season, competing against six schools ranked in the pre-season poll. This includes some tough meets early on, including opening the season against a powerfully ranked Pac-10, and meeting up with these teams to conclude the regular season in the Pac-10 Championships. Other ranked meets include facing No. 25 Arizona State early on in the season, and a dual meet against No. 18 Boise State. The Gymcats must also go head to head with No. 1 UCLA, and No. 6 Stanford.

Ryden’s Record:

Head Coach Bill Ryden finished out the 2010 season with an overall even record of 163-163-3.

What’s Coming Up:

The Gymcats stay on the road, and head to Logan, Utah to take on Utah State on January 14.



Bear Down Challenge Gymnastics