Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
No. 15 Gymnastics Hits the Road to Wrap up Regular Season
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: March 16, 2006
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Arizona Gymnastics Meet Notes ?- at Texas Women’s Unversity, No. 23 BYU (3/18/06)


What’s on Tap: The No. 15 Arizona women’s gymnastics team (8-9) will travel to Denton, Texas to take on host Texas Women’s University and No. 23 Brigham Young (5-7) in the final regular season meet of the year. The triangular meet is set to begin at 6:30 p.m. (MST) this Saturday, March 18.


The Rankings: The Wildcats remained ranked No. 15 in this week’s Gym Info rankings with an RQS of 195.280. As a team, the Wildcats rank in the Top 20 in all four individual events, including No. 15 in the floor exercise, No. 15 on the beam, No. 8 on the uneven bars and No. 20 on the vault. Individually, Aubrey Taylor and Karin Wurm are ranked No. 7 and No. 25, 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 69 of the last 70 polls, including 22 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 101-112-3. 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 gymnastics 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 Pioneers: Texas Women’s University enters the week coming off a road loss at Centenary, 192.325-191.700 last Sunday. TWU is hosting its final regular season meet of the year with two nationally ranked opponents traveling to Denton, Texas. The Pioneers have yet to defeat a ranked opponent this season. The club earned its highest team total on Feb 4., when it fell to Southeast Missouri 192.925-192.00. The Pioneers’ top gymnast is Brisa Fuentes who has competed in the all-around three times this season, holding a season-best 38.150. The top event for the club is the vault, where the Pioneers average a 48.042. TWU is coached by by Frank Kudlac, who is in his 26th year at TWU. Kudlac is a six-time NCAA Division II Coach of the Year.


Scouting the Cougars: Brigham Young enters the week ranked No. 23 in the nation after scoring a then-season-best 194.850 against Boise State last week. The Cougars also hosted their final home meet of the season this week, on Wednesday night. In that meet, BYU shattered its previous season-high with a 195.425-194.800 victory over Southern Utah. Four different Cougar gymnasts captured all-around titles, including Dayna Smart on vault (9.825), Kylee Draper on bars (9.825). Kandiis Kelly on beam (9.850) and Kacie Capra on floor (9.875). Capra also had a solid showing in the other three events, as she finished second in the all-around with a season-high 39.050. As a team, BYU has seen its team total improve each of the last four meets. The Cougars are coached by Brad Cattermole, who is in his 17th season with the school.


On the Road Again: After a three-week home stand, the Wildcats will be on the road again for the sixth time this season. Arizona began the season with three straight away meets, including trips to Cancun, Mexico, and State College, Pa., and spent five of the first six weeks away from McKale Center. The club will remain on the road for the rest of the season, with the Pac-10 Championships being held in Corvallis, Ore., next week. Arizona is 1-8 on the road this season, but has scored a 195 or better twice this season. Additionally, the Wildcats have yet to face an unranked team on the road.


Century Mark: With the Wildcats’ three team victories last week, Arizona head coach Bill Ryden picked up his 100th career coaching victory, all of which have come at Arizona. In his eight seasons at the helm, Ryden has amassed a record of 101-112-3 record, and extended the program’s streak of NCAA Regional appearances to 19. With an 8-9 overall record this season, and a No. 15 national ranking, Ryden again has the program on track to extend its postseason streak.


Twice Would Be Nice: The Wildcats and Cougars will be squaring off for the second time in three weeks. Arizona knocked off then-unranked BYU (194.575) at home on March 3 as the Wildcats posted their season-high team score (196.300), while giving then-No 2 Florida (196.625) all it could handle. In that meet, UA junior Jamie Holton set a career-high mark of 9.925 on vault to share the individual title, while classmate Aubrey Taylor notched 9.9s on both bars and floor to claim the individual title in each event. The Wildcats also set team season-highs on vault (49.225) and floor (49.200). BYU also had a solid outing, led by Kacie Capra who placed fourth in the all-around with a score of 38.975.


Terrific Trio: Through the first six meets of the year, 117 of Arizona’s 240 (48.8 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 1,949.025 points, while Wurm, Taylor and Hicks have combined for 1,136.125, or 58.3 percent. Additionally, each has captured an all-around title and posted a 39.0 or better at least twice.  Wurm has competed as an all-arounder in all nine meets this season, while Hicks and Taylor have each only missed one meet competing in all four events.


Small Change, Big Difference : Looking to create a spark in the team’s vault lineup, head coach Bill Ryden inserted Jamie Holton into the vault lineup for the first time this season at Stanford on Feb. 17. The 5-5 junior turned in a then-career high 9.825, but shattered that record two weeks later with a 9.925. In four vault appearances this year, Holton has yet to score below a 9.75, and leads the squad with a 9.831 average in the event. Since Holton’s emergence in the vault lineup, the Wildcats have averaged a team score of 48.906 over the last four meets. In the previous six meets, the club averaged 48.679 in the event.


Nice Company: With her first-place score of 9.925 on the vault on March 3, junior Jamie Holton has etched her name in the school’s all-time record book. The mark, which shattered her previous career-high of 9.825 set just two weeks prior, ranks tied for 10th all time in the event at Arizona. The score also ties for fourth highest in the Pac-10 this season.


Streak Snapped: On March 3, sophomore Danielle Hicks was held out of the vault lineup for the first time since Feb. 4, 2005, ending her streak of all-around appearances at 14. Hicks again missed out on the all-around last week, but did score a 9.825 on floor to help Arizona to its season-high in the event (49.225). Even so, the Oshawa, Ontario, native has turned in some impressive performances, earning a score of 9.8 or better on the bars, beam and floor (twice) at least once in the past two meets. Classmate Karin Wurm now has the longest stretch of all-around appearances for the Wildcats, as she has competed in all 10 all-around competitions this season.


Pac-10 Gymnast of the Week X 2: Jamie Holton was named Pac-10 Gymnast of the Week for the week of Feb. 20-26 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.


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. 15 in the event. The Wildcats are now averaging 48.400, but have a team RQS of 48.770. The team has scored a 48.8 or better in five of the last eight 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 missed competing in the vault lineup on Feb. 24, for the first time this season, but returned to the vault lineup the following week. Taylor has competed as an all-arounder in nine meets this season, scoring an average of 38.933.  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 season. Last week she won her third all-around title of the year, which is also the third of her career.


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 four floor titles. In all, Greene as recorded 14 Top 5 finishes in meets this year (three on vault, six on bars and five on floor). Against UCLA, she matched her career-high on bars with a 9.850 as she tied for second place, and she tied her career-high of 9.875 on floor last week in the Wildcats’ final home meet of the season.


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 six of the last eight 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 second on the team behind junior Jamie Holton with an average of 9.775. 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 then-career-high (9.850) at Penn State earlier in the year, and she matched that mark two weeks ago against UCLA. On March 3, she scored a 9.875 against Florida and BYU to share third place, while establishing a new career-best. She tied that mark last week as she captured the individual title.


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 since responded 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. After a disappointing team score of 48.375 in the event against UCLA, the Wildcats rebounded with 48.800 against Florida two weeks ago.


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, 11 of which are currently ranked. Arizona has already faced No. 1 Georgia, No. 3 Florida, No. 5 Alabama, No. 6 Oklahoma, No. 7 Stanford (twice), No. 10 UCLA, No. 12 Arizona State, No. 16 Penn State, No. 17 Oregon State, No. 19 Denver (twice) and No. 22 Brigham Young. The Wildcats upset then-No. 6 UCLA on Feb. 24, and defeated No. 19 Denver last week. The Wildcats are 3-9 against ranked opponents this season, and 5-0 against unranked foes.


Stacked Pac: Once again, the Pac-10 is one of the toughest conferences in the country. Five teams are ranked after the first nine weeks of competition. Stanford leads the way at No. 7, followed by No. 10 UCLA, No. 12 Arizona State, No. 15 Arizona and No. 17 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. On Senior Night in McKale Center last week, Muirhead capped her home-career with career-high tying performance of 9.825 on floor to capture the floor title.


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 three weeks ago as she helped Arizona upset No. 6 UCLA. In doing so, she matched her career-best mark of 9.800 on floor, and set a new career-high with a 9.825 on beam to lead the club. Last week against Florida, she set a new career-high and etched herself into the school’s all-time charts with a 9.925 on vault, good enough to tie for 10th-best in school history.


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 competed in the all-around eight times this season, while Wurm made her debut as an all-arounder this year and has competed in the all-around in every meet. 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. 15 Arizona women’s gymnastics team (194.725) used a season-best performance on floor to close out the final home meet of the year as the Wildcats defeated No. 19 Denver (194.300), Cal-State Fullerton (193.000) and Southeast Missouri State (190.500) last Friday night in McKale Center before a Senior Night crowd of 860 fans.


The Wildcats started the night off strong on vault, and held a near one point lead after two rotations, but the Pioneers fought back with an impressive rotation on floor to overtake the Wildcats through three rotations and claim a 145.550-145.500 lead.


Arizona would not give in, however, as the club responded with a season-high 49.225 on floor to close out the meet. Denver scored a 48.750 on vault, leaving the Wildcats with the winning margin, 194.725-194.300.


A week after setting a season-high team score on vault, the Wildcats had another strong showing in the event, posting a 48.925 to open the meet. Arizona was led by Bree Workman who matched her career-high of 9.875 set a week ago, as she captured the individual title. Coming off a career-performance a week ago, Jamie Holton tallied a 9.825 to share second place. Karin Wurm added a 9.775, while Rachelle Silberg and Alexis Greene each earned 9.725s.


Holding a comfortable lead heading into the second rotation, Arizona scored a 48.425 on bars. Aubrey Taylor notched a 9.875 to lead the Wildcats as she won the individual titles. Greene also turned a solid performance, posting a 9.800, placing third. Danielle Hicks earned a 9.675, while Suzanne Alvey recorded a 9.625.


The Wildcats moved to the beam for the third rotation, but saw their lead turn into a slight advantage for Denver. On beam, Arizona posted a team score of 48.150, highlighted by Taylor’s third-place mark of 9.750. Senior Erin Muirhead notched her second-best score of the year with a 9.725. Wurm added a 9.625, while Holton scored a 9.525.


In the final rotation, Holton got the Wildcats back on track as she recorded the first of four 9.825 marks for the Wildcats on floor. Muirhead capped her home-career with a career-high tying performance of 9.825. Greene then matched her career-high with a 9.875 mark as she captured a share of the individual title with Wurm, who also matched her personal-best.Taylor added a 9.825 to close out the meet and secure Arizona its highest total in the event this year, 49.225.


Even so, Taylor captured her third all-around title of the season with a total of 39.150. DU’s Dobyns (39.100) finished in second, ahead of UA’s Wurm who placed third with a 38.725.


Following the meet, the program honored Muirhead and undergraduate assistant coach Jessamyn Salter in a Senior Night ceremony.


With the three victories, Arizona improved to 8-9 on the season, while Ryden earned his 101st career coaching victory.


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 gear up for the Pac-10 Championships to be held in Corvallis, Ore., on Saturday, March 25.

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