March 13, 2012
No. 18 Arizona comes to McKale for the final home meet of the season. Three teams will be coming to Tucson: Air Force, Bridgeport, and Utah State. The meet is set to begin at 7:00 p.m. this Friday, March 16 (doors open at 6:00 p.m.). In addition to the gymnastics action, the meet will also feature a special ceremony honoring the senior gymnasts.
Arizona spent a weekend in New Hampshire, taking on the fellow Wildcat gymnastics team. The Cats scored the season’s second highest score, earning a team total 196.150. The team earned scores of 49 or above on three of the four events (49.075 on vault, 49.075 on bars, and 49.125 on floor) and a 48.875 on beam.
First First Place:
It is obvious when watching freshman Kristin Klarenbech on floor that she has had some serious competition experience. With a nearly expressionless face, she has the talent and ability to stick tumbling passes and dance with zero foot faults, and textbook precision.
These skills were noted and favored by the judges this past weekend, as the Canada native danced her way to tie her career high 9.875, winning her first event title of her collegiate career.
“Kristin’s routine was absolutely pristine. She had so much control on her first double pike that it looked like she was floating in the air – and she landed perfectly. Aside from maybe one small leg separation deduction in her second pass her routine was perfect,” head coach Bill Ryden commented after the meet.
Klarenbech has proven to be a clutch athlete for the Cats in her first season averaging a 9.821 on floor, filling the large gap left by the absence of senior Deanna Graham.
“Kristin has so much experience, and is so talented – it shows in everything she does. She is so soft spoken and so hard working you would never imagine her to be such a competitor, but week in and week out she consistently performs well for the team,” Ryden said.
It was only a matter of time for Klarenbech to earn her first first place (in college) and despite her quiet, calm demeanor she should be expected to make a lot of noise for the Cats throughout her career.
“Crossing the Line” with 9.9’s:
For the 2012 season, the gymnastics team has officially adopted the motto of working towards “crossing the line.” In fact, every day the GymCats pass under those exact words upon their entrance into Mary Roby.
According to coach Ryden, to “cross the line” is “making the commitment to crossing over from how good you are, and taking a chance on how good you could be.”
This idea seems to be boding well for the Wildcats, as the team has posted at least one score of 9.90 or better for the past 10 consecutive meets (all meets competed so far). These near perfect scores are clearly indicative of how hard the Cats are working to better themselves in their sports.
For this season alone, Cristello currently holds seven scores of 9.90 or better: two 9.90’s on vault, three scores of 9.90 on floor, one score of 9.925 on floor, and one score of 9.950 on floor. Matusik is the current beam queen for the Cats, with three scores of 9.90 on the event. Cardenas has posted one score of 9.90 this season on floor, and Graham earned a 9.925 on vault and a 9.925 on floor.
It’s hard to make a claim that this team is not doing its very best to “cross the line” this season, especially with thirteen near perfect scores posted in ten meets. Knock on wood the strong performances will continue, and the Cats can keep this amazing streak going.
With the gymnastics competition season past the half way point, the team and individual rankings have switched from being based on overall score average to a team’s total RQS. But what exactly is an RQS score, and how does it work?
Given that gymnastics is a sport based on judgment, it needs to have a ranking system that can mostly eliminate scoring and performance inconsistencies. Obviously, in a perfect world, all judges would take the same deductions for the same degree of mistakes, etc. – but every judge can’t be at every competition, so deductions aren’t necessarily 100% foolproof. With that same token, in a perfect world a team would never have a bad meet – though everyone has an off day.
Because of this, RQS was born. An RQS score is made up of a team’s top three away scores plus the team’s top three other scores minus the overall top score, and average the remaining five. This average is supposed to be an overall better indicator of a team’s performance, taking out overly bad performances (in addition to overly good performances) as well as potential judging differentials.
So what is the reason the rankings start out as an average? In the beginning of the season there are not enough scores to factor into the RQS formula. Each team needs to have at least three away meets and a total of six meets under their belt before this type of score can be calculated.
Cats in the Rankings:
Now that the rankings are based on RQS, Arizona as a team currently holds steady at No. 18 overall (only .005 below No. 17 Denver) and bolsters a No. 19 rank on vault (up one spot from last week), No. 17 on bars, No. 18 on beam, and No. 16 on floor.
For yet another week, Cristello and Matusik are making a splash in the individual top 20 rankings, and six gymnasts total currently hold 12 top 100 individual positions.
Cristello currently ranks No. 14 in the nation for the all-around (up four spots from last week), with a RQS score of 39.310 (season high score of 39.475). She also currently ranks No. 6 nationally for her floor performances this season, boasting a RQS score of 9.90 (season high score of 9.950).
Matusik is currently ranked No. 15 in the nation on beam with a RQS of 9.870 (season high 9.90).
All top-100 Rankings:
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.
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.
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.
After the win over the UNH Wildcats, head coach Bill Ryden bolsters a career record of 186-179-3.
What’s Coming Up:
The Wildcats prepare for the Pac-12 Championships, set to be held at the University of Utah on Saturday, March 24.