March 7, 2012
After a weekend on the west coast, the No. 17 Arizona women’s gymnastics team heads out east to compete in a dual meet with the University of New Hampshire Wildcats. The meet is scheduled to take place Sunday, March 11 at 1:00 PM ET. Live stats and live video of the meet will be available that day.
Scouting the Opposition:
UNH posted a season high 195.800 in last weekend’s meet against the University of Bridgeport (196.350), the University of Maryland (194.875) and Brown University (191.575). Stars for the Wildcats were freshman Kayla Gray and junior Austyn Fobes. Gray tied her career high beam score with a 9.90 to win the event, and posted a career high 9.850 on floor. Fobes led the team on bars, also posting a score of 9.90 to win the event.
The Cats spent a weekend on the coast, competing in back to back meets in California.
Friday was spent at UC-Davis, where Arizona posted the season’s highest beam total of 49.125. Senior Katie Matusik led the team with her second score of 9.90 on the event this season. The team also had a successful bar rotation, earning a score of 48.925 to round out the meet with a 194.100.
The team then traveled to Palo Alto, California to take on Stanford and California. The team had a much better total, posting a 195.025. Arizona posted the highest floor total of the competition, earning a 49.025 thanks to the return of Kristin Klarenbech into the lineup, and Shana Sangston stepping up, both earning scores of 9.850. Aubree Cristello was once again the lead scorer for the Cats, earning the top team scores on three events and taking second in the all-around with a 39.250.
Bring on Buchanan:
In the absence of freshman Allison Flores, head coach Bill Ryden needed someone to join the bar lineup – and hopefully have enough success to make a dent in the team total. After exhibitioning her in the home meet against Washington, Ryden decided to give that task to freshman Danielle Buchanan.
Buchanan did more than act as a lineup filler, competing in the leadoff spot at UC-Davis posting a 9.725 to start her collegiate career. According to Ryden, it was this score that re-energized the team and motivated them to finish up the meet.
“Going into bars we knew we weren’t going to have a team score to count for our ranking, and we had just come off of two very discouraging events. If you think about it, Danielle’s score was higher than any vault score, and tied the highest score posted on floor.” Ryden commented, “When she landed the team was cheering and you could tell they had gotten their energy back to finish the meet strong.”
Despite the fast turnaround, Buchanan continued to have success in California – joining the lineup once again in the Stanford meet and increasing her career high score to a 9.775 (tying Britnie Jones with the highest score for the team on the event).
With long, clean lines and virtually no deductions in the body of her routine Buchanan should be expected to become a regular in the bar lineup – “…so long as we can figure out her dismount,” Ryden commented.
One thing is for sure: with Allison Flores getting ready to re-join the lineup, Buchanan’s success so far, and given the existing talent on the event, bars should become an explosive and dynamic success for the Wildcats.
Cats in the Rankings:
With the rankings switching to RQS rankings rather than season average, the Wildcats have positioned themselves considerably well in the national rankings. Arizona as a team currently holds steady at No. 17 overall (only .25 below No. 16 Auburn) and bolsters a No. 20 rank on vault, No. 17 on bars, No. 17 on beam, and No. 15 on floor.
The Cats are making a name for themselves individually as well, with two gymnasts consistently in the top 20 and a total of 12 rankings within the top 110 in the nation.
Cristello currently ranks No. 18 in the nation for the all-around, with a RQS score of 39.250 (season high score of 39.475). She also currently ranks No. 5 nationally for her floor performances this season, boasting a RQS score of 9.90 (season high score of 9.950).
Matusik is having top 20 success as well, currently ranking No. 13 in the nation on beam with a RQS of 9.870 (season high 9.90).
All top-105 Rankings:
The Wildcats completed the 2011 season with an overall record of 13-12 and were able to make their 25th consecutive NCAA post-season appearance. Finishing fifth at the Pac-10 Championships and the NCAA Regional Championships, Arizona rounded out the season ranked No. 20 in the nation.
Russell, who had spent her RS junior season competing only on bars, returned to vault and floor in 2011, making a huge impact on the team totals with high scores of 9.875 on vault, two scores 9.90 on bars, and a career high 9.925 on floor. Russell also took fifth place on vault at the Pac-10 Championships, and sixth place on both bars and floor at the NCAA Regional Championships.
Graham was one of the team’s top all-around athletes, posting a season high AA score of 39.100 at the Pac-10 Championships. Graham also tallied high scores of 9.925 on vault, 9.850 on bars, 9.90 on beam, and 9.90 on floor. Her performance throughout the season earned conference recognition as she was named to the first-team All-Pac-10 All-Around.
Matusik had a break out junior season as well, taking the title of “beam queen” for the season. Matusik earned three scores of 9.90 or better on the event, with a career high 9.925 at BYU (2/26). She also earned second place on beam at the NCAA Regional Championships with a score of 9.875, and was named to the first-team All-Pac-10 Beam Team. Lastly, Matusik was one of two conference athletes to be honored with the Pac-10 Sportsmanship Award for 2011.
A number of Wildcats were recognized by the conference throughout the season, including Matusik (Special Performance of the Week Feb. 21 - 27), Graham (Gymnast of the Week Feb. 7 – 13, and Mar. 7-13), then junior Aubree Cristello (Gymnast of the Week Jan. 31-Feb.6, and first-team All-Pac-10 All-Around), and Russell (Special Performance of the Week Jan. 24-30).
Look Out for New GymCats:
Arizona added a number of new faces this season, including Danielle Buchanan out of Lancaster, Calif., Allison Flores hailing from Addison, Ill., Edmonton, Alberta native Kristin Klarenbach, and Amber Wobma from Rockford, Mich.
Questions for Coach:
Each week, head gymnastics coach Bill Ryden sits down to talk with us to analyze the previous week's meet. This Coach's Show is available for free via the All-Access tab on the website.
This season Ryden is entertaining questions from the public. If you have any questions you would like to ask Coach Ryden - from the type of grips the girl's like to use to different coaching decisions - e-mail them to the gymnastics SID Valery Meusburger at email@example.com. Then, watch for your questions in the weekly Coach's Show!
The Arizona gymnastics team headed into the season ranked No. 19 in the 2012 Women’s Pre-Season Coaches poll. The Wildcats were one of six Pac-12 schools to place within the top 25 in the prelim poll, with UCLA ranked No. 1, Utah ranked No. 5, Oregon State at No. 7, Stanford at No. 8, and Washington falling in at No. 16.
After the conference win over the Huskies, head coach Bill Ryden bolsters a career record of 185-179-3.
What’s Coming Up:
The Cats return to Tucson for the last home meet of the season. Arizona will play host to Air Force, Bridgeport, and Utah State on Friday, March 16 at 7:00 PM. The meet will also feature a special ceremony to honor the seniors upon the conclusion of the meet.