Feb. 3, 2003
What's on Tap: The No. 10 University of Arizona women's gymnastics team (3-2, 1-2) heads to Columbia, Mo., for the 23rd Annual State Farm Cat Classic on Friday, Feb. 7 and Saturday, Feb. 8 at 7 p.m. (CST). Arizona is set to face the No. 20 BYU Cougars (1-2), the No. 22 Missouri Tigers (2-2) and the New Hampshire Wildcats (5-3).
The Rankings: Arizona enters this week's competition as the 10th ranked team in the nation. After four meets, Arizona is averaging 195.581 points per meet, with its highest mark (196.175) coming against rival Arizona State last Friday (Jan. 31). As a team, the Wildcats are ranked No. 17 in the nation on vault (48.769), No. 12 on bars (48.862), No. 8 on beam (49.056) and No. 18 in the nation on floor (48.894). Individually for Arizona, sophomore Jamie Schell is ranked 14th nationally in the all-around (39.325) and 18th on beam (9.875). Junior Andi McCabe is ranked No. 15 in the nation on vault (9.875).
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. From Jan. 27 to Feb. 17, teams and individuals will be ranked by total season average. Starting Feb. 24, teams and gymnasts will be ranked by Regional Qualifying Score (RQS). A Regional Qualifying Score is based on a team's top-six regular-season scores, with three scores coming from away meets. To obtain the regional qualifying score, the team's or gymnast's highest score is dropped and the remaining five scores are averaged. Complete rankings can be viewed at www.troester.com.
Arizona Head Coach Bill Ryden... is in his fifth season at the helm of the Arizona gymnastics program and holds a school and career record of 52-66-1. Ryden leads Arizona into 2003 after making his first appearance as a head coach at a NCAA Championship (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.
Last Time Out: The No. 13 University of Arizona women's gymnastics team was edged by No. 6 Arizona State, 196.950-196.175, on Friday, Jan. 31 before a crowd of 972 in McKale Center.
Arizona took the team floor title with a season-high mark of 49.100. The Wildcats also posted a season-high team score of 49.175 on bars. Arizona's overall team score of 196.175 on Friday night stands as the sixth-best mark in team history.
Individually for the Wildcats, junior Sheehan Lemley placed fourth on bars with a career-high 9.875 and tied for fifth place on beam with a career-high mark of 9.850. Junior Andi McCabe tied for third place on vault with a season-high score of 9.900. Freshman Abby Pearson tied for fifth place on vault with a career-high 9.850.
On floor, sophomores Stevie Fanning and Katie Johnson led the way for Arizona tying for third place in the event with marks of 9.875, which was a career high for Fanning. Sophomore Jamie Duce tied for fifth place on bars (9.850) for the Wildcats. Sophomore Monica Bisordi finished with an all-around score of 38.525 to finish fourth in the event.
Arizona State grabbed an early lead over the Wildcats after the first event, posting a team mark of 49.475 on bars to Arizona's team vault score of 48.825. Arizona responded in the second rotation with a team score of 49.175, but trailed the Sun Devils, 98.825-98.000, at the halfway point.
Arizona was able to cut Arizona State's lead to, 147.525-147.075, heading into the final rotation by posting a team mark of 49.075 on beam, while Arizona State scored a 48.700 on floor in the third rotation.
About the Cat Classic: The 23rd Annual State Farm Cat Classic is a mock NCAA Championship tournament for collegiate gymnastic teams that have a feline-related mascot. Team competition begins on Friday, Feb. 7, followed by individual event championships on Saturday, Feb. 8. Both events begin at 7 p.m. in the Hearnes Center (13,611). Tickets are available by calling 1-800-CAT-PAWS or 884-PAWS, or at the Hearnes Center Ticket Office.
Arizona at the Cat Classic: Arizona is no stranger to the Cat Classic, as Friday's meet will mark the Wildcats' 17th appearance at this 'feline frenzy.' Arizona made its team debut at the Cat Classic in 1982 and was an annual competitor in the Classic from 1982 until its last appearance in 1997. Arizona owns an all-time record of 52-16 at the Cat Classic, including seven team championships ('87, '88, '89, '91, '92, '96, '97), six second-place finishes ('84, '85, '86, '90, '93, '95) and 38 individual titles. Arizona's 1996 team mark of 194.275, stands as the fourth-best team score in Cat Classic history. Former Arizona gymnast Heidi Hornbeek holds a share of the Cat Classic bars record, posting a 9.950 in the event in 1997.
In Arizona's last appearance at the Cat Classic back in 1997, the Wildcats not only took first place in team competition, Arizona gymnasts swept the individual titles as well. In 1997, freshman Kiernan Andrews took the individual vault title, junior Nancy Milberger finished first on beam, and sophomore Heidi Hornbeek took individual titles in the all-around, on bars and on floor.
In the Cat Classic, Arizona is 1-0 all-time against New Hampshire, 5-0 versus BYU and 12-4 against Missouri.
About the BYU Cougars: The Brigham Young University Cougars (1-2) enter the Cat Classic ranked No. 20 in the nation, owning a meet average of 194.258. BYU looks to three-peat on Friday, entering the meet as the defending back-to-back Cat Classic champion. BYU is ranked No. 12 in the nation as a team on beam (48.725) and is led by sophomore Jamie Mabray, the third ranked gymnast in the nation in the all-around (39.650) and the nation's top vaulter (9.950). The Cougars return 10 gymnasts from last year's team. Head Coach Brad Cattermole enters his 13th year at the helm of the BYU program and owns a career record of 191-220-1.
About the Missouri Tigers: The University of Missouri Tigers (2-2) will host the 23rd Annual Cat Classic as the No. 22 team in the nation, owning a meet average of 194.037. Missouri is ranked No. 19 in the nation on floor (48.887) and returns 10 gymnasts from last season. Head Coach Rob Drass enters his fourth year at the helm of the Missouri program and owns a career record of 22-34. Missouri has not won the Cat Classic since 2000.
About the New Hampshire Wildcats: The University of New Hampshire Wildcats (5-3) enter the Cat Classic as the only unranked team among the field of four. Although New Hampshire is not nationally ranked as a team, it owns a No. 19 national ranking on beam (48.487) and a No. 22 ranking on vault (48.631). The Wildcats return 14 gymnasts from last year's team. Head Coach Gail Goodspeed is in her 23rd season at the helm of the New Hampshire program and owns a career record of 262-133.
Cat Fights: Arizona matched up with BYU last season on April 4, 2002, facing the Cougars at the South Central Regional Championship in Tempe, Ariz. Arizona finished second (194.950) in the meet to earn a berth to the NCAA Championships, while BYU placed fourth (194.000) respectively.
Arizona last faced Missouri on April 1, 2000, at the NCAA Region III Championships in Tucson, Ariz. Arizona placed fourth in the meet (194.100) finishing ahead of sixth-place Missouri (190.975).
Arizona has not faced New Hampshire since Jan. 14, 2001, when the Wildcats went at it in Raleigh, N.C. New Hampshire finished first (193.800) in a tri-meet ahead of second-place Arizona (193.450).
As indicated above, head coach Bill Ryden owns a career record of 1-0 versus BYU, 0-1 versus New Hampshire and 1-0 against Missouri.
Against Ranked Opponents: The Cat Classic will match Arizona up with two more ranked opponents. So far this season, Arizona is 2-1 versus ranked opponents and 1-0 against ranked teams on the road (Minnesota).
Season-Highs: On Friday, Jan. 31 against Arizona State, Arizona posted a season-high team score of 196.175, which stands as the sixth-best mark in team history. Arizona also posted season-highs as a team on floor (49.100) and on bars (49.175).
Career-Highs: Junior Sheehan Lemley had arguable her best performance as a Wildcat against Arizona State on Friday. Lemley placed fourth on bars with a career-high 9.875 and tied for fifth place on beam with a career-high mark of 9.850.
Cats on the Radio: The Arizona Gymnastics team will make a series of guest appearances to two Tucson radio stations throughout the season. On every Thursday before a home meet, the Wildcats can be heard on KiiM-FM Tucson's Country Leader's early morning show. On each Wednesday, the Cats will join Rich Herrera on Fox Sports Radio 1290 AM.
Up Next: Arizona returns home to host the Utah Utes on Friday, Feb. 14 at 7:30 p.m. (MST) in McKale Center.