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No. 15 Gymnastics Sets Out For 20th-Straight NCAA Regional Appearance
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 04/08/2006
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 Arizona Gymnastics Meet Notes ?- at NCAA North Central Regional (4/8/06)

 

What’s on Tap: The No. 15 Arizona women’s gymnastics team will travel to Ames, Iowa, to compete in the North Central Regional. The Wildcats will compete against No. 4 Iowa State, No. 11 Arizona State, No. 19 Denver, No. 21 Minnesota and No. 24 Brigham Young.  

 

Regional Rotation Order: The Wildcats will begin the meet with a bye, then move to floor and vault. The Wildcats will receive a bye in the fourth rotation, before finishing the meet on bars and beam.

 

Rotation

Vault

Bye

Bars

Beam

Bye

Floor

1

Arizona St.

BYU

Denver

Minnesota

Arizona

Iowa St.

2

Iowa St.

Arizona St.

BYU

Denver

Minnesota

Arizona

3

Arizona

Iowa St.

Arizona St.

BYU

Denver

Minnesota

4

Minnesota

Arizona

Iowa St.

Arizona St.

BYU

Denver

5

Denver

Minnesota

Arizona

Iowa St.

Arizona St.

BYU

6

BYU

Denver

Minnesota

Arizona

Iowa St.

Arizona St.

 

The Rankings: The Wildcats remained ranked No. 15 in this week’s Gym Info rankings, while their RQS jumped up to 195.615. As a team, the Wildcats rank in the Top 20 in all four individual events, including No. 13 in the floor exercise, No. 17 on the beam, No. 9 on the uneven bars and No. 18 on the vault. Individually, Aubrey Taylor is ranked No. 9 in the nation 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 71 of the last 72 polls, including 24 straight and all 13 this year.

 

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 were 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 105-116-3. 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 16 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.

 

Head Coach Bill Ryden is in his eighth season.

Familiar Foes: The Wildcats have already faced Arizona State, Denver and BYU twice this year. The Wildcats dropped a narrow decision in a road dual-meet at Arizona State on Jan. 22 (195.3-195.150), and placed just behind the Sun Devils at the Pac-10 Championships on March 25 (193.9-193.75). Arizona split with Denver in two multi-team meets this year, including a 193.85-192.925 loss on Jan. 6 and a 194.725-194.3 victory on March 10. The Wildcats have won both of their match-ups with BYU (196.3-194.575 on March 3 and 196.575-193.725 on March 18).

 

Road Rules: This week’s trip to Ames will be the fifth over 2,000 miles (round-trip) the Wildcats have made this season. The Wildcats began the season on the road for three straight weeks, and five of the first seven. The team has logged significant miles to Cancun, Mexico (3,330 mi.), State College, Pa. (3,838 mi.) and Corvallis, Ore., (2,168 mi.) twice.  The team has also traveled to Tempe, Ariz. (230 mi.), Palo Alto, Calif. (1,466 mi.), and Denton, Texas (1,608 mi.) for somewhat shorter trips.  After the 2,332 mile trek to and from the Hawkeye State, the Wildcats will have logged 17,140 miles total this season, or an average of 2,143 miles per road contest.

 

Destination Corvallis: At this point in the season, all 36 teams remaining have their sights set on advancing to Corvallis, Ore., to compete at the NCAA Championships on April 20-22. For the Wildcats, however, the destination is a familiar one. The Wildcats competed in Gill Coliseum on March 25 at the Pac-10 Championships, where the team placed fifth. Arizona also traveled to the Beaver State on Feb. 10 for a regular season dual-meet with Oregon State, marking the first time the Wildcats’ picked up a victory in Corvallis since 1997.

 

Century Mark: With the Wildcats’ three team victories on March 10, 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 105-116-3 record, and extended the program’s streak of NCAA Regional appearances to 20. Ryden is the program’s second coach to surpass 100 victories.

Sophomore Karin Wurm

John Gault is the school’s all-time wins leader, with more than 300.

 

Starting Out Right: Arizona will begin this week’s meet with a bye, but jump to the floor exercise for its first event in the second rotation. It’s a draw that could get the Wildcats off to a fast start. Throw out the team’s performance at the Pac-10 Championships, and floor has been its strongest event over the last month of the season. The Wildcats scored a 49.075 in an upset over then-No. 6 UCLA on Feb. 24, then posted 49.2 or better in the final three regular-season meets, including back-to-back 49.225s on March 10 and 17.

 

Terrific Trio: Through the first six meets of the year, 140 of Arizona’s 288 (48.6 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 2,339.35 points, while Wurm, Taylor and Hicks have combined for 1,360.35, or 58.2 percent. Additionally, each has captured an all-around title and posted a 39.0 or better at least three times.  Wurm has competed as an all-arounder in all 12 meets this season, while Hicks and Taylor have each competed in the all-around 10 times.

 

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 six vault appearances this year, Holton has yet to score below a 9.75, and leads the squad with a 9.842 average in the event. Since Holton’s emergence in the vault lineup, the Wildcats have averaged a team score of 48.963 over the last six meets. In the previous six meets, the club averaged 48.679 in the event.

Junior Jamie Holton

 

Nice Company: With her first-place score of 9.925 on the vault on March 3, junior Jamie Holton 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 sixth 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 the following week on March 10, 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 two meets she has not competed as an all-arounder. Hicks has since competed in the all-around in each of her last two meets, including a season-high 39.25 to close the regular season on March 17.

Three’s a Crowd: It’s not often a school gets three Pac-10 Gymnast of the Week honors in one season, let alone by three different gymnasts. But, that’s exactly what the Wildcats did this season as Aubrey Taylor, Jamie Holton and Karin Wurm each received recognition from league office for their performances this season. Taylor, a junior, earned her award following her second career all-around title, which she collected at Oregon State (Feb. 10), helping the Wildcats to their first victory in Corvallis since 1997. Holton, also a junior, claimed her award for her three-event performance on Feb. 24, in which she set career-highs on beam and floor to help the program to only its third victory ever over UCLA. Wurm, a sophomore, became the latest Wildcat to receive the honor following her career-best performance in the all-around on March 18. Wurm totaled a 39.4 to win the all-around, and also earned at least a share of vault and floor titles. Interestingly, both Taylor and Wurm’s honors came for their efforts in road competitions.

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, which began the year with only two beam workers with prior competitive experience. 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. 17 in the event. The Wildcats are now averaging 48.462, but the team has scored a 48.8 or better in five of the last eight meets. Perhaps working in favor of the Wildcats, who finish on beam this week, is a trend that has alternated the last six weeks. Since Feb. 17 when the team posted a beam score of 48.825, the team has scored a 48 or better every other meet. At the Pac-10 Championships, Arizona scored a 48.425, so the team hopes the trend continues this week as it looks to score a 48.8 or higher.

Junior Aubrey Taylor

She’s Back: Named Pac-10 Gymnast of the Week earlier this year, 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. For the first time this season the 5-2 junior missed competing in the vault lineup on Feb. 24, but returned to the vault lineup the following week. Taylor has competed as an all-arounder in ten meets this season, scoring an average of 38.867.  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. On March 10, 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 two meet this season and has won four floor titles. In all, Greene as recorded 14 Top-5 finishes in meets this year (four on vault, four on bars and six 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 one of the Wildcats’ top scorers on the balance beam. Throughout the year, she has scored a 9.8 or better seven times, best on the team. 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.

 

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 9.786. 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 against UCLA. On March 3, she scored a 9.875 against Florida and BYU to share third place, while establishing then-career-best. She tied that mark in the final home meet of the season as she captured the individual title. In the final regular season meet, she shared the title with Karin Wurm, as she set a new career-high of 9.9 in the event.

Freshman Alexis Greene

 

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 four floor titles. Briana Bergeson holds a team-best 9.900 on beam and has won two titles in the event. Bree Workman has anchored the Wildcats’ vault lineup throughout the year, capturing three titles while placing in the Top 5 two other times. Greene has competed in three events in all but two meets this season and has won four floor titles to go along with one vault title. Suzanne Alvey and Sarah Parsons have both competed in the bars lineup, with Parson claiming one Top-5 finish.

 

All or Nothing: When Alexis Greene and Bree Workman are on, they are really on.  Greene has recorded six Top-5 finishes on floor, and has captured the title in four of those meets. Workman on the other hand, has finished in the Top 5 five times on vault, taking home the title three times. Coincidentally, both also seem to have career nights the same night Karin Wurm captures titles. In two of the four meets Greene has won on floor, she has shared the title with Wurm. Likewise, Workman has shared two of her three vault titles with the sophomore all-arounder.

 

Facing the Best: Arizona always competes against some of the top programs in the nation year in and year out, and this season has been no different. To this point, the Wildcats have faced 16 nationally ranked teams, including seven out of conference foes. Arizona has faced No. 1 Georgia, No. 3 Florida, No. 5 Alabama, No. 16 Penn State, No. 19 Denver and No. 24 BYU. The Wildcats are 4-13 against ranked teams this year. In addition to the Top 25 teams, Arizona has gone a perfect 8-0 against unranked teams.  

 

Stacked Pac: Once again, the Pac-10 is one of the toughest conferences in the country. Five teams are ranked heading into regionals. Stanford, the 2006 Pac-10 champion, leads the way at No. 8, followed by No. 9 UCLA, No. 11 Arizona State, No. 15 Arizona and No. 16 Oregon State. Washington began the year in the preseason Top 25, while California remains the only conference school not to be ranked throughout the year.

 

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, Muirhead capped her home career with career-high-tying performance of 9.825 on floor to capture the floor title.

Senior team captain Erin Muirhead

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