Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Wildcats Earn Fifth at Pac-10 Championships
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: March 19, 2011
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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March 19, 2011


LOS ANGELES, Calif. – The Arizona Women’s Gymnastics team made a strong showing at the Pac-10 Championships, posting a 195.475 to take fifth place. Oregon State won the meet with a 197.200, UCLA took second with a 196.750, Washington earned third posting a 196.025, and Stanford placed fourth with a 195.975. Rounding out the meet were California (191.575) and Arizona State (190.450).

“We really looked good. Our bobbles cost us two positions in the team results. We would have finished third, except for the floor routines. It just goes to show you what we’re capable of, even with those mistakes,” head coach Bill Ryden.

After a bye, the Wildcats had a solid start on bars with a 48.850. All of the contributors earned scores of 9.700 or better – much better than Arizona’s last performance in Pauley Pavilion.

“I made some drastic changes to the bar lineup due to some issues within the past few weeks. We even warmed up seven people – I had two girls ready to go by the fourth person in the lineup, and I was so proud of how the girls stayed on their feet,” Ryden said.

Once again, senior Miranda Russell was the top scorer for the Cats, posting a score of 9.850 to tie for third. Junior Deanna Graham was next for Arizona with a 9.775, followed by juniors Rebecca Cardenas and Britnie Jones, both with 9.750’s. Sophomore Aubree Cristello wrapped up the total with a 9.725.

“Miranda did great on bars. She did her job, as well as the rest of the bar team, which was great for all of us,” Ryden said.

The team immediately rotated to beam, and used the momentum to post the second highest beam total of the season. Junior Katie Matusik was a star once again for the Wildcats, posting her third score of 9.90 (or better) of her career, and tying for second on the event.

“Katie’s beam was spectacular. The routine definitely deserved the score it got. I think that Katie is going to go down as one of the best beam workers to wear an Arizona leotard,” Ryden.

Freshman Jordan Williams posted a career high 9.850, and freshman Shana Sangston earned a 9.800. Graham and Cristello both earned a score of 9.750 to wrap up a 49.050 for the Cats.

Jordan looked amazing. Aubree did another great job starting us off, and Shana was fantastic. Both of our freshmen did great under pressure for the first Pac-10 meet. I couldn’t be prouder of our beam team,” Ryden said.

Arizona had a little bit of trouble on the third event, earning a 48.375 on floor. Standouts on the event were Cardenas, with a 9.725, and Graham, with a 9.700.

“Molly got hurt on beam so we had to pull her from the meet. Mykle did a great job stepping into that role last minute. She started us off strong, and then Becca did her job. Katie had a pretty solid routine, and then we had some issues with steps, bobbles, and going out of bounds,” Ryden said.

The Wildcats made up for floor in the final event, totaling a season high vault score of 49.200. Graham was the team’s top scorer of the night, earning a 9.875 to earn third overall. Behind her was sophomore Mykle Douglas, and Russell with twin scores of 9.850. Cristello earned a 9.825, and Williams posted a 9.800.

“Going into vault we were a little ticked off about floor, so we came into the event with a vendetta. Everyone did solid vaults, and it was a fantastic way to finish,” Ryden said.

Arizona had two all-around competitors this weekend: Graham and Cristello. Graham, who was coming off of being named Gymnast of the Week, showed her strength once again with a 39.100. Cristello had a solid score as well, totaling a 38.950.

“It was great to get the score we did, it will help our RQS. It’s a little bittersweet; we had three phenomenal events, and one that wasn’t so great. We’re a good complete team, but we are a great team on three events,” Ryden said. “Now we can just look forward to finding out about the rest of the post season.”

 From here, Arizona will wait until Monday, March 21 for final rankings to determine the location of the NCAA Regional Championships.


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