April 6, 2013
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 18 Arizona women’s gymnastics team posted the second highest post season score in program history to take third place at the NCAA Columbus Regional. The team tallied a 196.100 – the first score of 196 or better in post season competition since 2007.
“Finishing strong was a goal of ours after Regionals last season. The team fought so hard all year through so much adversity that this was a true testament to their character,” head coach Bill Ryden said. “We still had some places here and there where we gave away deductions, but I couldn’t be more proud of how hard the girls have worked and how well they finished out the season.”
No. 7 LSU won the meet with a 197.275 followed by No. 6 UCLA with a 196.950. No. 20 Ohio State posted a 196.050 for fourth place, North Carolina State earned a 195.275, and No. 24 Central Michigan rounded out the competition with a 194.925.
The team opened the meet with a 49.100 on floor. The team experimented with a new lineup, starting with Shana Sangston in the leadoff spot. The junior got the ball rolling with a 9.800. From there, the Cats welcomed junior Jordan Williams back on the event with a 9.700 after stepping out of bounds. Both freshman Jessie Sisler and sophomore Aubree Cristello wrapped up the event with a second place score of 9.900.
“We had a few gut check moments on floor, but overall I think the judges really enjoyed what we put out there and the girls did a great job. After the way floor ended we were very pumped heading in to vault.” Ryden commented.
Feeling pumped helped the Wildcats in event number two: the team counted four scores of 9.800 or better for a 49.150 on vault. Sophomore Shelby Edwards tied with two more scores of 9.850. With her second 9.900 of the night, Cristello rounded out the lineup for another second place finish in the meet.
Despite a valiant effort, the Cats had some difficulties scoring on bars, earning a total 48.700. Buchanan opened the lineup with a stuck landing for a 9.725 to tie with Edwards who also stuck her landing. Freshman Lexi Mills contributed a 9.700 to the total, and Cristello earned a 9.750. The highlight of the event was sophomore Allison Flores, who rocked her set and tied for sixth with the team high 9.800.
“Allie’s bars were great. She had to stand around for four rotations before she was able to compete, and she really came through. Bars obviously wasn’t a strong event for us but hers was a strong routine and she did an excellent job.” Ryden said.
Flores kept her momentum heading in to the final rotation, earning a career high 9.850 on beam. Mills followed Flores with a 9.875, tying her career high for the third highest beam score of the meet. Edwards and Cristello then answered with two scores of 9.825, and Williams fought to the finish for a 9.775. Overall, beam totaled a 49.150, tying the team’s highest event score of the evening.
“When Allie hit her set I knew we were going to be able to finish out the meet well. Lexi had a great routine also, and the final three scored just enough to put us over the edge into third place. I was very proud of how the girls successfully fought to the end of the meet.” Ryden said.
Despite not making the NCAA National Championships as a team, the Wildcats will still make a showing in Los Angeles. Thanks to an all-around score of 39.375, Cristello earned a spot as an individual all-around competitor and will be representing Arizona April 19-21.