Feb. 26, 2011
PROVO, Utah – After a back and forth battle, the No. 25 Arizona Women’s Gymnastics team settled the score against BYU, defeating the Cougars 195.350 to 195.150 thanks to a stellar beam total in the fourth rotation.
“We competed hard: we had three good events and one event we wish we could do over, but despite the floor score the girls went out and had the best beam rotation of the season. As far as the heart of the team goes, there is no question,” head coach Bill Ryden said. “We proved tonight that we can go 49 on any event at any time, the problem is that we can’t go 49 on all four events at the same time which is now our goal.”
“Molly has really just developed into a really great bar worker. Both of the 9.850 routines were great, Miranda and Molly had a great night and I was really proud of them,” Ryden said.
“We expect to do pretty solid bars now. The first two sets had some dismount issues, but it is nice when you can have those issues and still put up a pretty decent score. We didn’t have our greatest night on bars – I really think that now anytime we don’t get a 49 we have things that we can do better.”
Despite a strong start, the Wildcats trailed the Cougars by 0.25 after the first event.
Arizona turned up the heat in its second event, totaling a 49.025 to pull the Cats ahead by 0.35 after the second rotation. Arizona held two places on the podium again on vault: Cristello tied for first place with a 9.875, and junior Deanna Graham took second with a solid 9.850.
“Aubree can perform the true technique for her vault, and she just boomed the thing. She drilled it, and it was gorgeous. She does a very technically correct vault, and when you add the right height and distance you get a big score, which was what happened tonight,” Ryden said.
“We had some issues; some of our vaults have some landing deductions that we know we need to fix. In all though, the fact that we can still have a few lower vaults than what we wanted and still go 49 – that’s a great thing,” Ryden said.
The third event was led by Matusik with a score of 9.725 (to tie for third place) and contributing to a floor total of 48.200. Directly behind her were Quirk and Graham with twin scores of 9.700, and Cristello with a score of 9.600. Junior Rebecca Cardenas also contributed to the total with a score of 9.475.
“Floor was rough. We had problems landing our tumbling. We kept taking steps and making landing errors. It wasn’t just one girl; it seemed to be the entire team. For some reason we needed to be able to adjust to the floor and we couldn’t quite do it,” Ryden said. “The dance was fine, our performance was fine, but if you are stumbling around on your tumbling it is going to come off of the score.”
After floor, Arizona had fallen behind the Cougars 146.45 to 146.15.
The Cats appeared to use the deficit to their advantage, however, buckling down and making the strongest showing on beam yet, scoring a season high score of 49.200.
“The beam team has taken it so personally about some of our recent issues on beam. The girls were really fired up after the third rotation. To see that beam team go out, especially thinking that after floor there was no chance of us winning the meet, to see them do so well was a great thing. I’m very proud of them,” Ryden said.
After a strong start from Cristello with a 9.725, the Wildcats had two routines that scored a 9.90 or better. Matusik earned the first place spot with a career high score of 9.925 – her second score of 9.90 or better this season.
“Katie’s routine was just gorgeous. I was talking to myself during the routine saying, ‘make this be that set, make this be that set where everything just falls into place,’ and that’s what she did. It was just so fun and I am so proud of her. She earned it; that was a deserved score and its fun when that happens,” Ryden said.
Graham was the second of these scores, posting a new career high of 9.90. This score not only secured her the second place finish, but also expanded her 9.90 circle to a third event. Graham has posted scores of 9.90 on both vault and floor to date.
“This score just shows what a great athlete Deanna is. Deanna is capable of posting 9.90’s on every event, and now this is her third event. It shows she is a complete gymnast, and even though she had problems on other events in the meet she kept fighting and ended on a strong note,” Ryden said.
Freshman Shana Sangston earned a new career high on the event as well, posting a 9.825 to tie Quirk for third place on the event.
“Shana had a very nice set too. The whole beam team just stepped up. They weren’t up there wobbling, they weren’t up there doing balance checks, and Shana has really developed into an outstanding beam worker, and a good competitor. I’m very impressed,” Ryden said.
Arizona had three all-around competitors this meet: Quirk, Cristello, and Graham. All three competitors went 1,2,3 in the standings; Quirk with a season high score of 39.075, Cristello with a 39.000 and Graham with a 38.875.
“Of the three, Molly did what we expected of her. She had the best performance of the meet, and she deserved to have the highest score. These scores also just go to show you what Aubree and Deanna are capable of, even when they have some issues,” Ryden said.
“This score helps us out a lot from an RQS standpoint, but it also shows that we still have a lot of learning to do. Once again we showed that we have the potential to be really, really good, but we just aren’t quite there yet,” Ryden said.