Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Cats Fall to Dogs and Bruins
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: March 06, 2011
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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March 6, 2011


LOS ANGELES, Calif. – After a rough start, the University of Arizona Women’s Gymnastics team rounded out a 194.125 to come in third place at Pauley Pavilion. First place went to the University of Georgia with a 196.175, and second went to the host team UCLA with a 195.750.

“This meet was kind of a slap in the face. The result wasn’t the judging, it wasn’t equipment, it wasn’t lack of fans – we just weren’t up to the task today. We ended with a silver lining of a vault score, but the rest of the meet was not up to our potential,” head coach Bill Ryden said.

The meet began with bars for the Cats, and a tough rotation ended with a team total of 47.575.

“I don’t know what else to say – this was the worst bar performance of the year. It was not what I expected. Deanna and Molly had great practices coming in; I just don’t know what happened. We’ve had problems on these bars before, but I don’t understand why this happened,” Ryden said. “We’re definitely going to be able to go up from here.”

The rotation was led by senior Miranda Russell, sophomore Aubree Cristello, and junior Britnie Jones. The girls received scores of 9.775, 9.775, and 9.700 respectively.

“The thing about all three of these girls is that they were all able to overcome issues. The story about bars was about these issues: those who overcame them, and those who didn’t,” Ryden said. “Britnie was able to rise to the occasion after a tough time in warm up on her dismount, and Aubree had a very hard practice on Friday. It is hard to be in Miranda’s position and play clean up when there is almost no hope left for the event, but she was able to do it.”

The Cats slowly began to pick up the pieces on the second event, totaling a score of 48.850. For a second week straight junior Katie Matusik was the star for Arizona on the event, earning a team high 9.875 to take third place in the meet.

Freshman Shana Sangston was another main performer on beam, posting a score of 9.800.

“Shana is turning into a very seasoned competitor. I am very proud of her. She is still new to this, and there was so much pressure going into beam after the bar rotation. She continues to impress each week,” Ryden said.

Directly behind her was sophomore Molly Quirk with a 9.775, and junior Deanna Graham as well as freshman Jordan Williams with twin scores of 9.700.

“We had already counted two falls, and the first beam set fell. You can only imagine what was going through everyone’s mind at that point. Deanna was able to stop the bleeding despite having a bruised foot, and I was so impressed with the girls and how they hung tough throughout the event,” Ryden said.

Floor was the Wildcats’ third rotation, and after a number of landing deductions the team pulled out a total 48.400.

“We counted a lot of steps and out of bounds deductions and those add up,” Ryden said.

Cristello performed fourth in the lineup, but was first for the team and third in the meet with a performance that earned her a score of 9.800.

“I thought Aubree had a good floor set. She was definitely on a mission to make up for last week. The judges were consistently tight on floor, and to get a 9.800 on floor meant you had a pretty solid routine,” Ryden said.

Other floor contributions came from junior Rebecca Cardenas with a 9.750, Matusik with a 9.700, Graham with a 9.675, and Russell with a 9.475.

Despite hardships throughout the first three events, Arizona turned up the heat on vault to earn a team total of 49.300. This beat Georgia’s team vault score of 49.175, and came second to UCLA’s vault total by only 0.025.

The Cats led off with Williams, who posted a career high 9.825. From there the scores continued to rise, with Cristello and Quirk both earning 9.850’s, and sophomore Mykle Douglas earning a new career high 9.875. Graham wrapped up the lineup and took second place with yet another score of 9.90.

“This was our best vault performance of the year. After struggling and having a bitter taste in your mouth after the first few events, vault helped us to get rid of a little bit of that sour face,” Ryden said.

“Hopefully we can use this meet to springboard into better things starting with the senior meet this coming week,” Ryden said. “We can only go up from here, and it is important for Miranda that we as a team show up and compete to our potential.”


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