Jan. 7, 2009
The No. 18 Arizona gymnastics s squad opens the 2009 season with a trip to Minnesota to take on the No. 22 Golden Gophers at 6:00 p.m. Saturday, January 10th in the Sports Pavilion. It will be both teams first meet of the season.
Catch the Cats:
The meet between the Wildcats and Gophers can be seen on webcast at gogophers.com with audio commentary by former Minnesota gymnasts Carrie Hortsch and Josh Linde.
A Quick Look at Arizona:
Arizona returns eight gymnasts from last season’s squad including four seniors, two junior and two sophomores. The Wildcats lost All-American Karin Wurm to graduation, but have a good mixture of veteran and young talent to compete in the Pac-10 and nationally. Arizona debuts six freshman this season, all of which should add to the team’s success.
On the vault: Expect seniors Bree Workman, Alexis Greens, junior Miranda Russell and freshman Deanna Graham all to make up a solid vault squad.
Bars: Arizona could get contributions from many members with Green, senior Briana Bergeson, junior Sarah Tomczyk, sophomore Kristin Schmieder and freshman Rebecca Cardenas all being likely candidates.
Beam: Expect Bergeson to anchor the team while getting help from Russell, Greene, sophomore Colleen Fisher and freshman Katie Matusik and Britnie Jones.
Floor: Arizona has three solid returners in Workman, Tomczyk and Russell and could get help from any of the new comers depending on the team’s need and the girls development.
All-Around: Greene and Russell are the two top returners in all-around with Tomcyzk and Fisher also expected to contribute.
Scouting the Opposition:
Minnesota- The No. 22 Golden Gophers are one of six Big Ten teams listed in the top-25 preseason rankings. The team tallied a 193.50 in the team’s intrasquad meet last weekend, led by senior Carmelina Carabajal who won three events and the all-around. As a team , Minnesota returns 10 gymnasts from last season squad that finished as No. 16 in last season final rankings.
What’s Coming Up:
The Wildcats spend another week on the road and open the Pac-10 season with a trip to Pasadena, Calif. to take on No.4 UCLA. Arizona lost to UCLA last season, which was the team’s only home loss of the season. The Bruins open the 2009 campaign against No. 2 Utah.
The Wildcats finished the year 14-11 and competed in the postseason for the 22nd consecutive season. One of the season highlights came in Tempe, Ariz., where for the first time since 1987, Arizona beat rival ASU in a dual/away meet. Arizona had beat ASU in unbiases meets in the Pac-10s and Regionals, but in Tempe during the regular season since 1987.
McKale continues to be a difficult place to compete for visiting teams. In 2008, the Wildcats were 6-1 in home meets including wins over Pac-10 foes Washington and Cal. Over the last two season, Arizona is 11-3 in home meets and 26-5 since the start of the 2005 season.
Meet the newcomers:
The Arizona roster features six freshman including Rebecca Cardenas from Honolulu, HI, Talyn Curry from Westborough, Mass., Deanna Graham from Tucson, Ariz., Britnie Jones from Phoenix, Ariz., Katie Matusik from McKinney Tx., and Jillian O’Neal from Fountain Hills, Ariz.
The Wildcats opened the season with a No. 18 national ranking and are one of five Pac-10 teams in the preseason coaches’ poll. UCLA leads the way at No. 4, including gathering four firs t place votes. Stanford ended up right behind the Bruins at No. 5, Oregon State came in at No. 9, Arizona was No. 18 and Arizona State fell in at No. 24. Washington and Cal fell under the Other Teams Recieving Votes category.
Arizona will be faced with the challenge of playing some of the best teams in the country in 2009. The Wildcats compete against six teams in the preseason top-25, including opening the season with four straight weeks against top-25 opponents including No. 22 Minnesota, No. 4 UCLA, No. 9 Oregon State and No. 5 Stanford. The other two ranked opponents Arizona faces are No. 14 Denver and No. 13 Penn State.
Head coach Bill Ryden holds a career and school record of 142-138-3 in his ten years at Arizona. Ryden should get to his 150th career win in 2009.