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Arizona's Gymnasts Look for First-Ever Pac-10 Championship Saturday
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 06/22/2004
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What's Coming Up
After dropping another close meet last weekend to the Arizona State Sun Devils, 195.800-195.200, the Arizona gymnastics team (5-10, 1-5 Pac-10) will travel up the interstate for the second week in a row to compete in the Pacific-10 Conference Championships. The Wildcats and the six other Pac-10 teams will take the floor on Saturday, March 18, at 6 p.m., in Arizona State's Wells Fargo Arena. Arizona, still in search of a road win this season, has its sights set on the first-ever Pac-10 title in the program's history. Last weekend, the Wildcats came close to grabbing their first road win of the year, but the UA fell short of defeating archrival Arizona State. Arizona scored its highest road meet total of the season (195.200), and the Wildcats posted a season-high 49.150 on vault-the second-highest vault total in school history. Last weekend's team total is the No. 10 score on the UA's all-time top-10 list. Four Wildcat gymnasts set season-high and career-high marks against ASU, and senior All-American Heidi Hornbeek won the vault title after experiencing a fall on her first vault attempt. The UA once again will look to Hornbeek, sophomore Randi Liljenquist, and junior Kara Fry to provide solid leadership and experience in all four events and in the all-around as Arizona tries to snap a six-meet losing streak. Arizona defeated California (9-6, 0-6 Pac-10) on Feb. 4, but has fallen to third-ranked UCLA (19-5, 6-0 Pac-10), No. 12 Stanford (8-3, 4-2 Pac-10), No. 20 Washington (6-6, 3-3 Pac-10), No. 13 Arizona State (13-4, 4-2 Pac-10) and No. 24 Oregon State (8-6, 3-3 Pac-10). Arizona is ranked No. 28 in this week's national gymnastics poll.
 
 

About the Pacific-10 Conference Championships
This week, Arizona has its sights set on its first-ever conference title, and the Wildcats are looking to defeat its first Pac-10 opponent since Cal on Feb. 4. Arizona's highest Pac-10 Championship finish came in 1992 when the Wildcats finished second. The Cats will face a tough challenge this weekend when they square off against five Pac-10 teams that are currently ranked in the national top-25 gymnastics poll. At the 1999 Pac-10 Championships on March 20, Arizona landed in a fourth-place tie with Stanford after posting a 195.150-the second-highest Pac-10 meet score in UA history. Arizona's fourth-place tie last year was its highest finish since 1996 when the Cats ended the Pac-10 Championships in third place. The UCLA Bruins have won the Pac-10 title a record eight times in the conference's 13-year history, and UCLA took the title in 1999 with a Pac-10 Championship record of 197.775. Oregon State (197.400) and Arizona State (196.025) finished in second and third, while Washington (194.425) and California (192.475) rounded out the field in sixth and seventh place, respectively. Arizona's Heidi Hornbeek, UCLA's Lena Degteva and Heidi Moneymaker, Washington's Tiffany Simpson and Oregon State's Lara Degenhardt are previous Pac-10 Champions looking to add more individual honors to their collections Saturday night. Hornbeek won the 1996 all-around championship and was the Pac-10 Beam and Floor Champion in 1997. Eight Wildcat gymnasts have won individual Pac-10 titles since the formation of Pac-10 gymnastics in 1987.

Head Coach Bill Ryden on Arizona's Last Time Out
"Arizona State rarely looses at home, but it was a really good meet. Both teams were evenly matched in a lot of ways, and we scored our highest road mark, which will definitely help boost our RQS (Regional Qualifying Score). We didn't have to count a fall on bars or beam, and I was really pleased with our season-high performance on vault."

Ryden on the Pacific-10 Championships
"We feel pretty good about our chances to do well this week. We were just up at ASU, and we know the equipment well. The downside to the meet is that we have to make some changes in the lineup because Heidi (Hornbeek) is suffering from a viral infection. She has had very little practice, so she may go four events, or she may not compete at all."

Arizona's Last Action
The University of Arizona women's gymnastics team fell to the No. 15 Arizona State Sun Devils, 195.800-195.200, losing by only .600 last Friday night in front of a crowd of 666, in ASU's Wells Fargo Arena. The Wildcats set a season-high 49.150 on vault, and the team's total score is its top road mark and its third-highest score of the season. Arizona dropped to 5-10 overall and 1-5 in the Pac-10, while Arizona State upped its record to 13-4 and 4-2 in the conference.

Arizona and Arizona State split the team events, with the Wildcats taking vault (49.150) and beam (48.950), and the Sun Devils won the bars (49.300) and floor (49.275) events. Arizona's vault score (49.150) is the new No. 2 score on the UA's all-time top-10 list, and the team total of 195.200 is the 10th-highest score in school history. Four Wildcat gymnasts-Nikki Beyschau, Gretchen Diaz, Randi Liljenquist and Emily Peterman-set season-high and career-high marks, and at least one Arizona gymnast finished in the top five in each event. Arizona took top individual honors on vault and in the all-around.

Individually for the Wildcats, senior All-American Heidi Hornbeek won the vault title with a 9.925 after experiencing a fall on her first vault attempt, and she was Arizona's top finisher on bars, landing in a tie for fourth place with a 9.825. Freshman Nikki Beyschau scored a career-high 9.825 on vault and tied for fourth in the event, and she set a career-high 9.775 on beam. Beyschau also tied for fifth place on floor with a 9.750.

Sophomore Randi Liljenquist tied for second on vault with a career-high 9.850, tied for second on beam with a 9.850, and she finished third on floor with a 9.875. Junior Kara Fry tied for fourth on beam with a 9.825, while sophomore Emily Peterman posted a career-high 9.825 on beam and tied for fourth in the same event. Senior Gretchen Diaz scored a season-high 9.775 on vault for the meet.

In the all-around, Liljenquist finished first (39.375), and Beyschau landed in second (39.125), while Hornbeek (38.800), and Fry (38.725) rounded out the field in third and fourth place, respectively. Arizona State did not have any gymnasts compete in each of the four individual events.

Liljenquist's Leadership
Sophomore sensation Randi Liljenquist has paced Arizona with consistent performances during the season. She underwent voluntary elbow surgery last summer because she wanted a chance to compete on vault and in the all-around. Liljenquist has won 16 first-place titles, including six career all-around titles, and she has posted a total of 35 top-five finishes so far this season. She holds Arizona's top scores on beam (9.925), floor (10.000) and in the all-around (39.525) and is tied with Heidi Hornbeek for the top score on bars (9.925). Liljenquist tied for second on vault after setting a career-high 9.850 in the event, tied for second on beam with a 9.850, and she finished third on floor with a 9.875. Liljenquist also led the four Wildcat all-arounders, finishing in the top spot with a 39.375-her third-highest all-around score this season.

Liljenquist scored a perfect 10.000 on floor against Michigan on March 3 and is only the fifth Arizona gymnast to score a 10.000 in school history. Liljenquist's floor score is the first 10.000 scored in four years, and it ties Hornbeek for the school record in the floor event. Along with her career-high 10.000 on floor and a first-place finish, Liljenquist set a career-high 9.925 on bars and tied for second. She grabbed the beam title with a 9.900 and set a career-high 39.525 in the all-around, ending the meet with three individual titles. In the Minnesota meet (2/20), Liljenquist scored a 9.950 on floor and won the event title, and she took the all-around crown with a 39.425-her second-highest season mark. She also scored a 9.750 on vault, tied for second on bars with a 9.875 and tied for second on beam with a 9.850. Two nights before, Liljenquist tied for first place on bars with a 9.900, and she scored a 9.925 on floor, taking the event title against Washington (2/18). She finished fifth on beam with a 9.750, posted a 9.700 on vault and tied for third in the all-around with a 39.275. At Oregon State (2/11), Liljenquist tied for second on beam (9.875), tied for third on floor (9.850) and finished in fourth in the all-around (39.075). She led the Wildcat charge against California and Southern Utah (2/4) with a 39.350-her third-highest all-around score-and first-place in the all-around. She tied for fourth on vault with a 9.700 and tied for second on bars with a 9.800. Liljenquist posted a career-high 9.925 on beam and a 9.925 on floor and won first-place honors in both events. Against Denver and Minnesota (1/30), Liljenquist scored a 9.650 on vault, and she tied for fifth place on floor with a 9.800. Liljenquist scored a 39.125 in the all-around against San Jose State (1/28), winning the second all-around title of her career for the second week in a row. She posted a 9.650 on vault (fourth place), and she recorded a 9.825 on bars (second place). Liljenquist took the beam title with a 9.750 and closed out the meet with a first-place 9.900 on floor-giving her the sixth event title of her career. At Stanford (1/21), she scored a 38.825 in the all-around and won her first all-around competition, scored a 9.800 on beam for a second-place finish, and she landed in third place on floor with a 9.750. Liljenquist hit a 9.600 in her collegiate debut on vault against UCLA, Central Michigan and Iowa (1/14), and she shared first-place honors on floor with senior Kiernan Andrews, each scoring a 9.850.

All-American Heidi Hornbeek
Senior Heidi Hornbeek is back for her fifth year to help lead the team to its first NCAA Championship berth in four years. Hornbeek was restricted to bars for the first four weeks of the season due to a nagging ankle injury but competed on three events-vault, bars and floor-for the first time against California and Southern Utah (2/4). Hornbeek currently has 29 top-five finishes and nine event titles for the season, and she holds Arizona's top individual scores on vault (9.950) and bars (9.925). Hornbeek has competed in the all-around in the last six meets, and she has scored over the 39.000 mark in five out of the six meets. Last weekend at Arizona State, Hornbeek suffered a devastating fall on her first vault attempt after her hands missed the vault completely, and she landed on her knees. She exhibited strength and resiliency and returned for her second vault, posting a 9.925 to win the vault title. Hornbeek was Arizona's top finisher on bars, landing in a tie for fourth with a 9.825, and she finished third in the all-around with a 38.800-her only score below a 39.000 this season.

On March 3 against Michigan, Hornbeek finished second on vault with a season-high 9.950, and she tied her season-high 9.925 on bars and tied for second in the event. Hornbeek tied a season-high 9.850 on beam and landed in third place, and she finished third in the all-around with a 39.350-her second-highest score of the season. In the Utah meet (2/25), Hornbeek scored a 9.875 on vault and won the event title for the second meet in a row. She ended the Utah meet as Arizona's highest finisher in all four events and in the all-around. Although she is battling a nagging ankle injury, she finished third in the all-around with a 39.325, tied for third on bars with a 9.875, tied for fifth on beam with a 9.825 and tied for fourth on floor with a 9.750. Hornbeek won the vault title and scored a 9.875 in the event against Minnesota (2/20), and she took first on bars for the fifth time in six meets with a season-high 9.925. She also tied a season-high 9.900 on floor and finished in third place, and Hornbeek scored a 39.100 in the all-around to end the meet in fourth place. Hornbeek competed in all four events for only the second time this season against Washington (2/18), and she tied for top honors on bars with a 9.900, tied for second on vault with a 9.825 and tied for third on beam with a 9.775. Hornbeek finished second in the all-around with a 39.300 and ended the meet as Arizona's top finisher in the event. Against Oregon State (2/11), Hornbeek competed in all four events for the first time in 2000 and made her season debut in the all-around, winning the title with a season-high 39.375. Although she continued to battle the pain, she set a season-high 9.875 on vault (fourth place) and scored a season-high 9.850 on beam (fourth place). Hornbeek tied for third on bars with a 9.800 and tied for third on floor with a 9.850. She scored a 9.850 on bars and won the event title for the third-consecutive meet against California and Southern Utah (2/4). In her first meet competing on vault and floor, she scored a 9.700 on vault and finished in second place on floor with a season-high 9.900. Against Denver and Minnesota (1/30), Hornbeek posted a 9.850 on bars and tied for first place in the event, winning her second bars title of the season for the second consecutive meet. In her only event of the evening against San Jose State (1/28), Hornbeek returned to action, taking the bars event title with a 9.850. The fifth-year senior did not compete at Stanford (1/21) the week before, and she also saw limited action against UCLA (1/14) where she scored a 9.700 on bars in her only event of the meet. Hornbeek, a six-time All-America selection and a seven-time All-Pac-10 honoree, returned to the Arizona lineup in 1999 after undergoing major shoulder surgery in November 1997 and racked up 32 impressive top-five finishes, including 12 first-place titles. She competed in 10 meets as an all-around performer and was the only Wildcat gymnast to reach the NCAA Championships after qualifying as the top at-large seed in the all-around. Hornbeek received All-America honors in the uneven bars, balance beam and all-around events at the 1999 NCAA Championships.

Junior Kara Fry Back on Track
1998 All-Pac-10 selection Kara Fry tied four fourth place on beam with a 9.825 against Arizona State last weekend. She set a career-high 39.325 in the all-around against Minnesota (2/20) and finished second in the event. She won the beam title with a 9.875, tied a career-high 9.875 on bars (tied for second), tied a career-high 9.725 on vault and tied for fifth place on floor with a 9.850 in the same meet. Fry has won two event titles (floor and beam) so far this season, and she has posted 15 of her 24 top-five finishes in the last six meets. She scored a season-high 9.900 on floor against Washington (2/18) and finished in second place, and she tied for third on beam with a 9.775 and placed fifth in the all-around with a 38.900. Fry scored a career-high 9.900 on beam at Oregon State (2/11) and took the beam title, winning her first event title of the season. She also scored a 39.150-her second-highest score of the season-in the all-around and tied for second, surpassing her previous score of 38.975. She tied for third on bars with a 9.800 and scored a 9.675 on vault in the same meet. In the California and Southern Utah meet (2/4), Fry scored a 38.975 in the all-around and tied for second place in the event, and she landed in third place on beam with a 9.800. She posted a 9.775 on bars (fourth place) and a 9.800 on floor (fifth place) in the same meet. Fry was Arizona's top finisher in the all-around at the Denver meet (1/30), finishing in fifth place with a 38.775. She recorded four top-five finishes in the San Jose State meet (1/28). Fry finished in fourth on bars with a 9.775 in the event, and she scored a 9.625 on beam for a third-place finish. Fry also scored a 9.800 on floor and landed in third place, and she posted a 38.750 in the all-around, finishing in third place against the Spartans.

Fabulous Freshman
Arizona's lone freshman Nikki Beyschau has lifted the Wildcats' team performance with consistent scores in each event, and Beyschau has posted 20 top-five finishes, including one bars event title. Last weekend at ASU, Beyschau scored a career-high 9.825 on vault and tied for fourth in the event, and she set a career-high 9.775 on beam. She scored a career-high 9.800 on vault and finished fifth on bars with a 9.875 against Michigan (3/3). Beyschau posted a 9.700 on beam, and she set a career-high 9.875 on floor, landing in a tie for fifth place. She also set a career-high 39.250 in the all-around to end the meet in fourth place. In the Minnesota meet (2/20), Beyschau scored a career-high 9.800 on vault and tied for third place, and she tied a career-high 9.825 on floor. She finished in fourth place on vault with a 9.750 against Washington (2/18). Beyschau scored a 9.775 on vault and finished in fifth place at Oregon State (2/11). In the Denver and Minnesota meet on Jan. 30, Beyschau tied for fourth place on bars with a 9.775. She scored a career-high 9.700 on beam (second place) and a 9.825 on floor (second place) against San Jose State (1/28). She also scored a 39.000 in the all-around for another second-place finish. She tied for second on vault (9.675) and finished in third on bars (9.800). Against Stanford (1/21), Beyschau scored a career-high 9.900 on bars and tied for top honors in the event, winning her first event title. In her collegiate debut against UCLA (1/14), Beyschau tied for fifth place on both vault (9.775) and bars (9.750) and was Arizona's top finisher in the all-around with a 38.425.

Honored, I'm Sure
Senior All-American Heidi Hornbeek and sophomore Brooke Stan were named to the Pacific-10 Conference's all-academic teams on March 15. Hornbeek received first-team honors for the third time in her career, and Stan was an honorable mention selection, receiving all-academic accolades for the first time in her career.

Arizona Finds a Balance
The Wildcats scored a season-high 49.000 against Michigan on March 3, improving upon their lowest score of 47.475 by 1.5 points. The UA's new season high score is the fifth-highest beam score in school history. Arizona has struggled to find a solid beam lineup this season, and its current season high is the third mark above 48.500. The UA scored a 47.475 in the first meet of the year against UCLA, Iowa and Central Michigan, and the Cats improved to a mark of 48.650 against Utah eight weeks later. The team's score against Michigan is the seventh beam score over a 48.000 this season.

High Marks for the Wildcats
Arizona's season highs in all four events and the team total currently rank on the UA's all-time top-10 list. Arizona's season-high 195.675 (vs. Michigan) ranks as the fourth-highest meet total in school history. The Wildcats' score of 49.150 on vault (vs. Arizona State) is the second-highest vault mark in Arizona history. The Wildcats scored a season-high 49.200 against Minnesota (2/20) on bars and tied the No. 5 score on the all-time list. Arizona's season-high 49.375 on floor-scored in the Minnesota meet-is an all-time team record.

Arizona Gymnasts in the Record Books
Randi Liljenquist's score of 39.525 (3/3) tied the No. 2 all-around score in school history, and her career-high 10.000 on floor (3/3) tied Heidi Hornbeek for the school record. Liljenquist's career-high 9.925 on beam (2/4) has moved Liljenquist into a tie for the third-highest score in the Arizona record books, and her career-high 9.925 on bars (3/3) tied the No. 5 score in UA history. Kara Fry's career-high 9.900 on beam (2/11) has moved her into a tie for the No. 5 beam score in Arizona gymnastics history, and her career-high 9.900 on floor (2/18) puts her in a tie for the fifth-highest UA floor score. Fry's new career-high 39.325 in the all-around (2/20) has pushed her up in the record books after posting Arizona's sixth-highest all-around score. Nikki Beyschau has found a place in Arizona's record books after scoring a career-high 9.900 on bars (1/21), which ties the No. 7 bars mark, and she is tied for the No. 8 all-around score after posting a career-high 39.250 against Michigan (3/3). Heidi Hornbeek's career-high marks of 39.700 in the all-around, a 10.000 on vault, a 9.950 on beam and a 10.000 on floor are the top scores in Arizona history, while her career-high 9.950 on bars is the third-highest UA gymnastics score.

Arizona in the Rankings
Arizona dropped one spot to No. 28 in the March 14 national gymnastics poll... The Wildcats are ranked No. 16 in the nation on vault... Randi Liljenquist and Heidi Hornbeek are the only Wildcats ranked in the national polls... Liljenquist is No. 21 in the all-around and tied for No. 21 on beam... Hornbeek is No. 23 in the all-around and No. 16 on vault... The UA remains in the No. 4 spot in Region III, which consists of 11 teams... The Cats are listed at No. 3 on vault, No. 4 on bars, No. 8 on beam and No. 5 on floor in the region... Heidi Hornbeek is No. 3 on vault, No. 4 on bars, No. 30 on floor and No. 6 in the all-around... Randi Liljenquist is No. 24 on vault, No. 20 on bars and is No. 4 on beam, floor and in the all-around... Nikki Beyschau is No. 14 on vault, tied for No. 16 on bars, No. 24 on floor and No. 13 in the all-around... Kara Fry is No. 23 on bars, tied for No. 8 on beam, No. 23 on floor and No. 10 in the all-around... Heather Straccia is the fifth Wildcat gymnast in the regional rankings, coming in this week at No. 21 on vault... The Wildcats have been ranked in the top 30 for the last seven weeks of competition... Arizona began its second-straight season ranked No. 16 in the women's gymnastics preseason coaches' poll... Women's gymnastics rankings are posted every Tuesday evening at: www.troester.com/gym/WRankings.

Cat Scratches
Arizona is 5-4 in home meets... The UA is winless (0-6) on the road after five away meets... The Wildcats have faced nine ranked opponents this season... Randi Liljenquist, Kara Fry and Heidi Hornbeek are the only Wildcats listed in the Pac-10 rankings as of March 14... Liljenquist is tied for No. 6 in the all-around (39.525), tied for No. 7 on bars (9.925), tied for third on beam (9.925) and tied for first on floor (10.000)... Hornbeek is No. 10 in the all-around (39.375), tied for No. 6 on vault (9.950) and tied for seventh on bars (9.925)... Fry is tied for 10th on beam (9.900)... Liljenquist is one of only three Pac-10 gymnasts to score a perfect 10.000 on floor this season... Head coach Bill Ryden has a 19-20-1 career and school record... At least three Wildcat gymnasts have set or tied season-high and career-high marks in the last seven meets... The 2000 season marked the first time the Cats opened the conference with an 0-2 record since 1998 when Arizona started the year 0-3 in the Pac-10... It is the second year in a row that the Cats have opened competition against a Pac-10 opponent... Arizona has six home meets, and the Wildcats only have to leave the state four times during the regular season... Nine UA opponents (Michigan, UCLA, Utah, Stanford, Arizona State, Minnesota, Denver, Washington and Oregon State) are ranked in the March 14 national poll... Nine UA opponents (UCLA, Michigan, Utah, Arizona State, Stanford, Oregon State, Minnesota, Denver, Washington) began the season ranked in the women's gymnastics preseason top-25 poll.

Prowlin' With the Wildcats
Here's the upcoming broadcast schedule for Fox Sports Net Arizona's bi-weekly magazine show about University of Arizona athletics - "Prowlin' with the Wildcats"... Wed., March 22, 5 p.m./Fri., March 24, 7 p.m. (replay); Wednesday, April 5, 3:30 p.m./Saturday, April 8, 5 p.m. (replay); /Thursday, April 20, 3:30 p.m./Saturday, April 22, 3:30 p.m. (replay).

A Look Ahead
The University of Arizona is the host institution for the NCAA Region III Championships, which will be held on Saturday, April 1, at 6 p.m. The top-12 teams in the nation, based on their regional qualifying score, will be seeded and paired into the six regions (two per region). The remaining four regional slots will be filled from within the region. Arizona is fourth in the region and must finish in the same position in order to advance to the regional championships.

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