Jan. 28, 2011
TUCSON, Ariz. - The Arizona Women's Gymnastics team earned first place over the Boise State Broncos. U of A posted a season high score of 195.375, while BSU earned a 194.400.
"This meet wasn't perfect, but it was by far our strongest performance of the year. This type of meet is what we expect of ourselves, so it was nice to actually compete up to our abilities," head coach Bill Ryden said. "We still left a lot of tenths out on the floor, there is no doubt about that, but overall I think this shows everyone what we are capable of."
The Cats started the night out on vault, as per Olympic order. Led by senior Miranda Russell and sophomore Aubree Cristello, with twin scores of 9.825 and a tie for second place, the team totaled a 48.825 on the event. Other contributors included sophomore Mykle Douglas with a 9.75, freshman Shana Sangston with a new career high score of 9.725, and sophomore Molly Quirk with a 9.775.
Upon the completion of the event, the Wildcats were in the lead of Boise State by a mere 0.275.
"Vault obviously was great, especially considering that two of our top vaults weren't there. If you can almost hit a 49 without Jordan and Deanna - that's really saying something about the depth and talent we have on the event," Ryden said.
Arizona then rotated to Bars, where they posted a team total of 48.775. The Wildcats went one, two, three on the event; Russell led the event again this week with a score of 9.850, junior Deanna Graham was close behind with a 9.800, and Quirk tied her career high with a 9.775. Cristello was strong on the event as well, posting a 9.725.
"Bars was great - seven for seven. It was also great to have Aubree back in on the event, and that was Deanna's best bar performance of her career. We've been waiting to see that performance, and it was stellar," Ryden said. "Then we have Miranda. Miranda is just Miranda, she always has beautiful bars."
After event number two Arizona was holding onto the lead by 0.075.
"I was excited that we had had two good events, and I knew how good Boise State was. As with any good team, you know you can't give in. We knew we had to put the pressure on, and really go for it in the last two events." Ryden said.
The Cats continued with the strong effort, scoring a 48.775. Katie Matusik led the event, tying for first with a score of 9.850.
"Katie has been doing incredible beam for us for three years now. We are now seeing the product of a lot of fine tuning; she feels really good, she can score, and she proved tonight how strong her beam is," Ryden said.
Sangston shone on the beam as well, staying steady and posting a career high of 9.775.
"Shana really had a great week at practice; she was intent and focused on making sure that she did the gymnastics that we expected of her. She was able to make it happen in the meet, and I think she did a great job this week," Ryden said.
Other notable beam performances were had by freshman Jordan Williams with a 9.725, and Graham and Quirk both scoring 9.700. These scores enabled the Cats to pull ahead by two tenths.
The Cats turned up the heat in the fourth rotation, coming back into their past form with a total of 49.050. Arizona took the podium on floor as well, with Russell taking first with a 9.850, Graham in second with a 9.825, and junior Rebecca Cardenas and Cristello tying for third with a 9.800. Quirk contributed as well with a 9.775.
"We take a lot of pride in our floor rotation, and the last two weeks were not very characteristic of our abilities. When we rotated to floor, our attitude was not anything to do with winning the meet, we just wanted to hit floor. When we talked about floor before the event, we decided that we needed to rock McKale and show people what we could do," Ryden said. "The fact that it helped us win the meet was great, but I was happier with how we showed people how to actually view Arizona floor."
Arizona had three all-around competitors this week. Cristello took second place overall with a 39.025, followed by Quirk with a 38.950, and Graham posting a 38.350.
"Our three all-arounders were back for the first time this year. They are all first team all-conference for a reason. Deanna's vault aside, they all had really good meets. These three girls are half of our scoring, so they obviously did a great job," Ryden said.
"We expect to be better than this, but it is nice that we finally got a score that is indicative of where we should be. We feel like this type of score should be our average, so it's good to get back on track," Ryden said.