Arizona Gymnastics Meet Notes ?- Florida, BYU (3/3/06)
What’s on Tap: The No. 14 Arizona women’s gymnastics team (4-8) will host No. 2 Florida (11-2) and unranked Brigham Young (3-5) this Friday, March 3. The interconference triangular meet is set to begin at 7:30 p.m. in McKale Center.
Watch it Live: ArizonaAthletics.com will provide live statistics and a live video webcast of the event (video is mostly of Wildcat gymnasts only). As always, the live stats are free, while the live webcast this week will be available to All-Access subscribers only. Links will be provided in this article prior to the meet beginning on Friday. For more information, please log onto ArizonaAthletics.com.
The Rankings: The Wildcats remained at No. 14 in the nation this week as their RQS rose to 195.170. As a team, the Wildcats rank in the Top 20 in all four individual events, including No. 14 in the floor exercise, No. 13 on the beam, No. 7 on the uneven bars and No. 19 on the vault. Individually, Briana Bergeson is ranked No. 24 in the nation on beam, while Aubrey taylor and Karin Wurm are ranked No. 8 and No. 24, respectively, on bars. The Wildcats began the year ranked No. 17 in the preseason coaches’ poll, and were ranked as high as No. 10 for the week of Jan. 30. Arizona has been ranked in 67 of the last 68 polls, including 20 straight.
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 alone. Teams are ranked by their highest score from Jan. 9-15. From Jan. 16-Feb. 16, teams were ranked by their total season average. Starting Feb. 20, teams and gymnasts are ranked by a Regional Qualifying Score (RQS). An RQS is based on a team's top six regular-season scores, with three scores coming from away meets. To obtain the RQS, the team's or gymnast’s highest score is dropped and the remaining five scores are averaged.
Arizona Head Coach: Bill Ryden is in his eighth season at the helm of the Arizona gymnastics program, owning a school and career record of 97-111-3. Ryden made his head coaching debut at Arizona in 1998 and made his first appearance as a head coach at the NCAA Championships in 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. Additionally, Ryden has coached in 15 Pac-10 Championships, 12 NCAA Championships and 15 NCAA Regional meets. Ryden has also trained 12 All-Americans and 18 All-Pac-10 gymnasts in his tenure at Arizona.
Scouting the Gators: Florida comes to Tucson for the first time since 1986 boasting a No. 2 national ranking. Florida is fresh off a week of rest, but will be on the road for the third straight time. Prior to the week off, the Gators were beginning to peak, setting a season-high road score of 196.400 at Kentucky as they posted a season-best 49.325 on vault. On Feb. 10, the squad turned in a season-high 196.950 in a home quadrangular meet. Individually, the Gators are led by freshman Corey Hartung, who is ranked No. 6 in the nation on floor and No. 23 on the balance beam. Hartung was named SEC Gymnast of the Week on Feb. 7 after setting or matching new career-bests in all four events, including a 39.325 in the all-around. She since has bested her all-around totals, earning a 39.450 in her last two all-around appearances. Junior Samantha Lutz is a three-event specialist, and is ranked No. 20 on both the bars and beam. The Gators are coached by Rhonda Faehn, who is in her fourth season at the school.
Scouting the Cougars: BYU enters the week unranked, but is coming off its season-best performance against Utah. In that meet, the Cougars set season-highs on vault (49.000) and beam (49.075) while scoring a team total of 194.250. Individually, Kacie Capra placed fourth in the all-around with a score of 37.950. Capra won the floor title with a mark of 9.825, while teammate Danya Smart placed fifth in the event with a 9.750. Smart also finished fourth on vault with a score of 9.875. The Cougars are coached by Brad Cattermole, who is in his 18th year at the school.
Different School, Different Role: For Arizona assistant coach Colleen Johnson, this week’s meet will be a reunion of sorts as she will be up against her alma mater, Florida. Johnson attended Florida from 1992-1995, where she was a four-year starting competitor earning both athletic and academic All-American honors. In addition to her All-American accolades, Johnson was named All-SEC, while leading the Gators to four consecutive NCAA Championships and one Super Six finish as a team captain. In her fifth year at Florida, Johnson assisted with coaching the team, and earned her bachelor’s degree in public relations in 1996.
Pac-10 Gymnast of the Week X 2: Jamie Holton was named Pac-10 Gymnast of the Week last week for her performances against UCLA. Holton, a 5-5 junior, was instrumental in the Wildcats’ upset over Pac-10 leading and then-No. 6 UCLA, 195.350-194.700, on Feb. 24. Competing in three events for only the second time in her career, she set a new career-high on the balance beam and matched her career-best on floor as Arizona defeated UCLA for only the fourth time in the program’s history. On vault, she earned a 9.750 in what was only her second vault appearance of the season. On beam, she shattered her previous career-high of 9.700 by scoring a 9.825. She capped her career-best meet by tying her career-high of 9.800 on floor.
Earlier this season, Junior Aubrey Taylor was named the Pac-10 Conference Gymnast of the Week for the week of Jan. 24-30. The 5-2 native of Burlington, Ontario, captured the first all-around title of her career against Oregon State while matching or setting a new season-high in every event, and earned her highest all-around score, 39.175, since Feb. 20, 2004. Taylor turned in a near-flawless routine on the uneven parallel bars, again tying her career-best mark of 9.900 to claim her second title in as many weeks. She also placed third on the balance beam, scoring a 9.750, and tallied a 9.800 on the floor to take fourth-place individually behind a trio of Wildcats that shared the individual title. Taylor also added her best score of the season, a 9.725, on vault.
Terrific Trio: Through the first six meets of the year, 95 of Arizona’s 192 (nearly 50 percent) routines have been performed by three gymnasts: Karin Wurm, Aubrey Taylor and Danielle Hicks. Together, the trio has brought consistent scoring and experience to Arizona’s lineup. In fact, nearly 60 percent of the Wildcats’ points earned this season have come from the three all-arounders. As a team, Arizona has scored 1,558.0 points, while Wurm, Taylor and Hicks have combined for 921.5, or 59.1 percent. Additionally, each has captured an all-around title and posted a 39.0 or better at least twice. Last week marked the first time all three did not compete in the all-around as Taylor was held out of the vault lineup.
Home Again: For the second straight week, the Wildcats will compete at home. Arizona started the season off on the road for three consecutive meets, and traveled five of the first seven. The Wildcats are a perfect 3-0 at home this season, having knocked off Pac-10 foes California (Jan. 27), Washington (Feb. 3) and UCLA (Feb. 24). Last week’s upset over the Bruins was the first victory for the Wildcats over a ranked opponent at home.
Fantastic Fans: Arizona always appreciates the great fan support it receives from the community, and this year is no exception. The Wildcats have performed impressively in their threee home meets this season, having scored over a 195 in all three, and setting a season-high 195.875 against California. On the season, Arizona is averaging 1,025 fans per meet. Last year, an average of 966 fans cheered on the Wildcats per meet.
Target 196: In the early part of the season, the 195-mark was a good measuring stick as to how the team was developing. The Wildcats have reached that benchmark five times this season, but they are now looking to break 196. The last time the Wildcats scored a 196 or better was on Senior Night last year when the team earned a total of 196.375, while picking up victories over Cal-State Fullerton, Texas Women’s and Ball State. Additionally, Arizona’s season-high score of 195.875 is the highest the team has scored since the Pac-10 Championships last year, when the club captured second-place with a 195.925.
Steady Improvement: The Wildcats got off to a shaky start on the beam this season, but have since found some consistency in their young lineup. After posting a season-low 47.350 in the second meet of the year at Penn State and falling out of the national Top 25 in the event, Arizona has since climbed all the way up to No. 13 in the event. The Wildcats are now averaging 48.381, but have a team RQS of 48.625. The team has scored a 48.8 or better in four of the last six meets.
She’s Back: Named Pac-10 Gymnast of the Week three weeks ago, Aubrey Taylor has re-emerged as an all-arounder this season, returning to the vault lineup, the one event she didn’t compete in a year ago. The 5-2 junior did, however, miss competing in the vault lineup last week for the first time this season. Even so, Taylor was solid in the other three events, scoring a 9.850 on bars, 9.700 on beam and 9.825 on floor. On Feb. 10, she broke her season-best mark in the Wildcats victory at Oregon State, totaling a 39.250. The score captured her second all-around title of the seeason, the first two of her career. Her score against Oregon State (Feb. 10) was the highest total she has recorded since setting her career-high of 39.350 on Feb. 20, 2004. She has also claimed three bars titles this season, as she posted 9.900 scores against Arizona State, California, Oregon State and Stanford, and is ranked No. 8 nationally in the event.
Star in the Making: Freshman Alexis Greene has wasted no time in making a significant impact in the Wildcat lineup. The 5-5 native of Severn, Md., has competed in three events in all but one meet this season and has won three floor titles. In all, Greene as recorded 10 Top 5 finishes in meets this year (three on vault, five on bars and four on floor). Last week, she matched her career-high on bars with a 9.850 as she tied for second place.
Beamer on Beam: Freshman Briana Bergeson, known better by her teammates as ?'Beamer,’ has quickly become the Wildcats’ top scorer on the balance beam. In five of the last six meets, she has scored a 9.8 or better. In three consecutive meets, she bested her career-high and has placed no lower than second in those meets. At Arizona State, she earned a 9.800 to claim second. Against California, she claimed the individual title with a 9.850. Against Washington, she set a season team-high 9.900 on the beam to claim her second-consecutive beam title. At Oregon State, she earned a third-place finish with a score of 9.825.
Workman-like Vaulter: Freshman Bree Workman has become one of the Wildcats’ top vaulters this season. She ranks first on the team behind classmate Alexis Greene with an average of 9.850. Against California, she earned a 9.825, good enough to claim her first-ever vault title. The 5-5 native of Lansing, Mich., set her career-high (9.850) at Penn State earlier in the year, and she matched that mark last week against UCLA.
Instant Impact: The Wildcats have called upon five freshmen to play integral roles this season. Alexis Greene has been a regular in three events and has won three floor titles. Briana Bergeson holds a team-best 9.900 on beam and has won two titles in the event. On Jan. 27, Bree Workman claimed her first-career vault title. Sarah Parsons, who has a season-high 9.825 on bars, joins Bergeson and Greene as regulars in the bars rotation. Against Washington, filling in for Greene, Suzanne Alvey made her Wildcat debut and scored a 9.675 on vault. In all, seven of the team’s 24 routines have been performed by freshmen in each meet this season.
Fresh Faces: Arizona’s beam lineup is made up of four gymnasts who made their collegiate debuts in the event to begin the year. While the team got off to a slow start on the beam in the first two meets (47.425 and 47.350), the club has responded the last four weeks with scores of 48.675 at Arizona State, 48.725 against California, 48.850 against Washington and 48.825 at both Oregon State and at Stanford.
Facing the Best: Arizona always competes against some of the top programs in the nation year in and year out, and this season is no different. The Wildcats will face 12 of the nation’s Top 25 teams tabbed in the preseason coaches poll throughout the season, 10 of which are currently ranked. Arizona has already faced No. 1 Georgia, No. 4 Alabama, No. 6 Oklahoma, No. 12 Stanford (twice), No. 15 Arizona State, No. 16 Denver and No. 17 Oregon State. The Wildcats upset then-No. 6 UCLA last week and face No. 2 Florida this week. Arizona is 2-8 against ranked teams this season, and 2-0 against unranked opponents.
Stacked Pac: Once again, the Pac-10 will be one of the toughest conferences in the country. Five teams are ranked after the first seven weeks of competition. UCLA leads the way at No. 8, followed by No. 12 Stanford, No. 14 Arizona, No. 15 Arizona State and No. 16 Oregon State. The same five teams plus Washington had been ranked in the first two polls of the season. California is the lone team that has yet to be ranked this season.
The Lone Senior: When a team graduates six seniors in one class, it usually means that the following year they will rely on a number of underclassmen. That certainly is the case this year for the Wildcats, but don’t tell that to senior team captain Erin Muirhead. Coming off of a foot injury that cut short her season last year, Muirhead earned marks of 9.600 on beam and 9.675 on floor in Cancun. Her appearance on beam was the first of her career. The South River, N.J., native claimed a share of her first floor title against California, posting a score of 9.825. She also set a new career-high on beam with a 9.750 against Oregon State.
Junior Duo: The Wildcats have also turned to the leadership of a pair of juniors, Aubrey Taylor and Jamie Holton, both of whom have earned Pac-10 Gymnast of the Week awards. Taylor has emerged as an all-arounder for the first time since 2004, scored a season-best 39.250 against Oregon State and and has captured two all-around titles. Holton has also had some of her best meets the last few weeks, as she has been inserted into the vault lineup in addition to her regular duties on beam and floor. She was named Pac-10 gymnast of the Week last week as she helped Arizona upset No. 6 UCLA. In doing so, she matched her careeer-best mark of 9.800 on floor, and set a new career-high with a 9.825 on beam to lead the club.
Super Soph’s: Danielle Hicks, Karin Wurm and Rachelle Silberg all played vital roles on the Wildcat squad as freshmen. Now as sophomores, each are playing a prominent role in the Arizona lineups. Hicks has made 14-straight all-around appearances dating back to last season, while Wurm made her debut as an all-arounder this year. Silberg again has remained a mainstay in the club’s vault lineup, and won her first vault title against California with a 9.775.
Destination Corvallis: If all goes well, Arizona’s Feb. 10 trip to Corvallis, Ore., could end up being the first of three to the Beaver State this year. At that meet, the Wildcats picked up a regular-season Pac-10 conference victory with their team score of 195.400. The next trip will be on March 25 for the Pac-10 Championships, and Arizona could make a return trip if the team advances to the NCAA Championships April 20-22.
A Look Back: The No. 14 Arizona women’s gymnastics team raced out to an early advantage over the visiting No. 6 UCLA Bruins and held on for the upset, 195.350-194.700, in front of 1,011 fans in McKale Center last Friday night.
The Wildcats got off to a fast start in the first rotation on the vault as the team earned its highest score since Jan. 27 against California. Led by Bree Workman tying her career-best mark of 9.850 with a second place finish, Arizona posted its highest score in the event in three weeks with a 48.800. Karin Wurm tallied a 9.775 to place fifth, while Jamie Holton and Alexis Greene each added 9.750 marks. Rachelle Silberg returned to the vault lineup to add a 9.675.
Leading 48.800-47.900 heading to the second rotation, the Wildcats extended their lead despite the Bruins overcoming a tough first rotation on bars with a 49.025 on vault. For Arizona on the bars, Wurm captured the individual title with a career-high 9.900 to lead the Wildcats to a 49.100 team score. Taylor added a 9.850 to share second place with Greene, who matched her career-high. Hicks tallied a 9.775, while Briana Bergeson and Sarah Parsons each recorded 9.725 marks.
UCLA cut into the Wildcats’ lead in the third rotation as the Bruins posted a 48.825 on floor to Arizona’s 48.375 on beam. Holton started the rotation off with a bang for the Wildcats as she notched a personal-best 9.825 to place fourth in the event. Taylor and Bergeson gave strong performances to boost Arizona’s team score as they earned marks of 9.700 and 9.800, respectively. Wurm (9.475) and Hicks (9.575) also added to Arizona’s score.
Holding onto a 146.265-145.750 lead entering the final rotation, the Wildcats closed the meet out in style on floor. Wurm and Taylor shared second-place honors as each tied their career-high score of 9.875. Holton also tied her career-best score with a score of 9.800 to share fifth place with Greene.
In the all-around, UCLA’s Kate Richardson totaled a 39.500 to lead all gymnasts. Karin Wurm tallied a 39.025 to place third behind UCLA’s Ariana Berlin, while Hicks placed fourth with a total of 38.175. Taylor was held out of the all-around for the first time this season.
With the win, the Wildcats finished Pac-10 competition with a 4-2 record and improved their overall record to 4-8. The win also marked Arizona’s first win over a Top 10 opponent this season.
Future Cats: Last November, Head Coach Bill Ryden announced the signing of three student-athletes who inked their names to National Letters of Intent to come to Arizona for the 2006-07 academic year. The future Wildcats are Brittney Morgan of Charlottesville, Va., Miranda Russell of Oshkosh, Wisc., and Jamie Custer of La Grange Park, Ill.
Looking ahead: The Wildcats will host their final home meet of the season next Friday, March 10. Arizona will play host to Denver, Southeast Missouri and Cal-State Fullerton at 7:30 p.m. in McKale Center.