TEMPE, Ariz. ?- The No. 15 University of Arizona women’s gymnastics team (196.00) finished in fourth place at the 2007 Pac-10 Championships on Saturday evening in Wells Fargo Arena. No. 8 UCLA (197.200) claimed the title, while No. 5 Stanford (196.950) and No. 9 Oregon State (196.300) claimed second and third place, respectively. The Wildcats placed ahead of Washington (194.775), host Arizona State (194.550) and California (193.650), which finished fifth through seventh, respectively.
Arizona’s team score of 196.00 is its highest at the Pac-10 Championships since 2004, when it also finished in fourth place.
The Wildcats began the meet on vault, scoring a 49.150, their second-highest score in the event this season. Rachelle Silberg started the rotation with a solid 9.800 vault, while Miranda Russell followed with a 9.750. Bree Workman then earned a 9.850, as did Brittney Morgan in the fifth spot. Karin Wurm anchored the rotation, tallying a 9.900 to share seventh place.
After a bye during the third rotation, Arizona moved to the uneven parallel bars for the team’s second event in the fourth rotation. Classmates Russell and Morgan turned in matching 9.675s to start the event. After a Briana Bergeson fall off a release, Aubrey Kelly made her first official appearance since February 9, earning a 9.800. In the fifth slot, Wurm notched a 9.925, good enough to earn a share of second place. Sarah Specht wrapped up the rotation with a 9.750, boosting UA’s event score to 48.825.
The Wildcats moved directly to beam for the fifth rotation, totaling a 49.025 team score. Morgan recorded a solid 9.80 to begin the rotation, and was followed by Russell and Wurm who each chipped in 9.775s. Jamie Holton then stepped up and posted a 9.850, before Bergeson received a 9.825. Uncharacteristically, Danielle Hicks fell during her series, but still received a 9.325.
Arizona finished the meet on floor following a bye in the sixth rotation. Morgan started the UA rotation with a 9.700, and was followed by Russell, who struggled to a score of 8.700 after injuring her knee on her first tumbling pass. Specht got the Wildcats back on track with a 9.750, before Wurm turned in a 9.825. Hicks then followed with 9.850, and Holton, a Phoenix native, turned in a fifth-place mark of 9.875, to lead UA to a 49.00 in the event.
Wurm, who matched her career high in the all-around with a total of 39.425, narrowly missed out on a share of third place overall. Her total was 0.025 points behind the scores of UCLA’s Anna Li, ASU’s Nicole Harris and OSU’s Jamie Lanz, who each earned 39.450s. UCLA’s Tasha Schwikert won the all-around with a 39.750, while OSU Tasha Smith scored a 39.475.
The Wildcats will have a week off before hosting the South Central Region Championships on April 14 in McKale Center. Arizona will be joined by five other qualifying teams, which will be announced on Monday, April 2.
Co-Pac-10 Coach of the Year: Kristen Smyth, Stanford; Joanne Bowers, Washington
Pac-10 Freshman of the Year: Carly Janiga, Stanford
Pac-10 Gymnast of the Year: Tasha Schwikert, UCLA