Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Catching Up With the Gym Cats
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: July 31, 2006
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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In the world of college athletics, summer is a quiet period as far as competitions are concerned. However, for many student-athletes, summer is anything but a period for rest and relaxation. In the life of a college athlete, summers are spent in classrooms, in the weight room, in the training room, or visiting friends and family.


Many of the Wildcats have spent all or part of the summer in Tucson attending summer school classes, either getting ahead or catching up on courses in their areas of study. Following the morning and early afternoon classes, they have spent the rest of their afternoons either in the Mary Roby Gymnastics Training Center or in the Bill Estes Jr. Family Strength & Conditioning Center, partaking in voluntary summer strength and conditioning workouts.


For those Wildcats in town, a typical weekly schedule includes time spent training in the gym on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and time in the weight room on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Others have returned to their hometowns to visit friends and family, taking with them recommended workouts outlined by strength and conditioning coach Neil Willey.


A small handful of Wildcats are spending time rehabilitating injuries, working hard to get themselves ready for the grind that leads up to the winter gymnastics season.


Regardless of how they have spent the summer, each Wildcat is eager for the school year to start and the new gymnastics season to arrive. Below are some brief updates on how the returning upperclassmen have spent their summer months. Next week, check back for updates on the rest of the returning Wildcats.


Aubrey, recently married to her husband Jesse Kelly, has spent the summer interning with Graphic Design.
 Aubrey Kelly
(Formerly Aubrey Taylor)

Aubrey has had a very eventful summer, highlighted by her recent marriage to her husband Jesse Kelly on July 29. She has also been involved in an internship with Graphic Design, the leading supplier of signs, banners, engraved/routed products and short run full color printing in Southern Arizona. With the company, she has been working on an internet marketing plan for the company to start online ordering with their customers. Additionally, she has been gaining some accounting experience by working closely with the company’s accountant. An accounting major, the internship will help Aubrey gain job experience that she needs after graduation and the internet marketing plan will look very good on her resume.


In the gym, Aubrey has spent time recovering from ankle surgery she underwent in May. At this point, she is nearly fully recovered and has constantly been going through treatment to ensure a full recovery. Aubrey is looking forward to the upcoming season and once again being one of the leaders of the squad. Aubrey says, “I think that we are going to have the strongest team since I've been at the U of A and I am so excited for practice and the season to start because we are headed for nationals. I can feel it!”

Jamie has spent the entire summer in Tucson training and studying.


Jamie Holton

While Jamie’s hometown of Phoenix is only about 90 miles away, she has remained in Tucson for the entire summer. However, her family has made plenty of trips down I-10 to visit her. She has kept herself busy by taking summer school classes in all three summer sessions, to go along with her daily commitments in the gym. Like many of the Wildcats who have stayed in Tucson, Jamie has been in the gym training three to four days a week, and in the weight room three days as well. She has been trying to limit her training slightly as she is nursing a lingering shoulder injury. She has opted not to have surgery on the injured shoulder, the first summer she has been surgery free as a Wildcat. As one of two seniors on the squad, Jamie is determined to help lead the Wildcats back to the NCAA national championships for the first time since 2002. “We are going to nationals in Salt lake City,” she says. “Mark my words.”


Rachelle Silberg has spent time in Tucson, Maryland and Canada this summer.

Rachelle Silberg

Rachelle began her summer by traveling to Maryland to visit one of her mom's brothers as well as all of her dad's family. One of the highlights of her trip was getting the opportunity to do trapeze with her cousin at the Baltimore Harbor. She enjoyed her time with family, something she rarely gets to do. Upon her return to Tucson, Rachelle joined several other teammates to help coach the Bill Ryden Sonoran Gymnastics Camp. She even stayed in the dorms with girls after the long days in the gym.


In addition, Rachelle took two courses in the first half of the summer, and she says she did really well. After class, she would spend time working out in the gym and weight room. Once her summer courses were completed, she got to return home to Canada to visit her family there for the first time since Christmas. While spending time with family members, she has found time to go campin g, rafting and go to the Calgary Stampede. She returned to Tucson last week, in time to make Aubrey’s wedding. To make things interesting, she decided to drive her new car all the way back to Tucson.


Danielle Hicks and her new puppy, Maddie.

Danielle Hicks

Danielle has spent the majority of the summer in her hometown of Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. She did escape to Orlando to represent the University of Arizona at the NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership Conference. Danielle was one of 350 student-athletes from all sports across Divisions I, II and III chosen to attend daily classes teaching leadership skills, team ethics and personality traits. She and her peers also got to spend an afternoon at Disney World. From a training standpoint, she has been staying in shape while following the strength and conditioning program that strength coach Neil Willey set up for her prior to leaving Tucson. Additionally, she has been doing some basic gymnastics workouts, but is ready to return to Tucson to return to training on all the equipment. Upon her return to the Old Pueblo on Jul y 25, she was accompanied by her new puppy, Maddie, a black Pomeranian.


Melanie has spent a majority of her time in Tucson, but has escaped elsewhere.
Melanie Weiser

Melanie is one of several Wildcats who have stayed in town most of the summer. She started off the summer taking courses in Pre-Session and Summer I to get some classes out of the way. At the beginning of the summer she did find some time to head back home and visit friends and family. Melanie and her mother, along with her two aunts, spent a weekend in San Antonio, getting in all the shopping they could. She also was able to visit her best friend, Kellyn Williams, a diver at the University of Arkansas, for a week. She will be traveling to Italy to watch her brother Rudy represent the USA baseball team. Once she returns to the states, she is looking forward to the whole team reuniting and getting back into their daily routines. She says, “It’s just not the same without all the Gym Cats together!”


Karin has put in many hours in the gym and in the classroom this summer.

Karin Wurm

Despite being a native of Landenberg, Pa., Karin is feeling more and more like a native Tucsonan, or as she would say, “a T-loc." She has spent all but four days this summer in Tucson but did visit her hometown for her older sister, Lauren’s, graduation from the University of Rhode Island. In addition to her efforts in the gym and weight room, which have been strenuous throughout the summer, Karin has spent a lot of time and energy in the classroom. She recently switched from being a political science major to a business marketing major, and has been catching up on some of the core courses she needs in her new area of study. She cannot wait for the coming season to arrive, as she feels the team has “amazing potential.” She will be moving into a new house with three of her close friends, Katie, Ally and Amy, who she calls “honorary Gym Cats” because of their support and closeness with the team.




*Photos courtesy of Stoddard Reynolds and Danielle Hicks


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