Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
No. 15 Gymnastics Sweeps on Senior Night
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: March 11, 2006
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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TUCSON, Ariz. ?- The No. 15 Arizona women’s gymnastics team (194.725) used a season-best performance on floor to close out the final home meet of the year as the Wildcats defeated No. 19 Denver (194.300), Cal-State Fullerton (193.000) and Southeast Missouri State (190.500) on Friday night in McKale Center before a Senior Night crowd of 860 fans.


The Wildcats started the night off strong on vault, and held a near one point lead after two rotations, but the Pioneers fought back with an impressive rotation on floor to overtake the Wildcats through three rotations and claim a 145.550-145.500 lead.


Arizona would not give in, however, as the club responded with a season-high 49.225 on floor to close out the meet. Denver scored a 48.750 on vault, leaving the Wildcats with the winning margin, 194.725-194.300.


“I was very proud of our vault and floor teams,” Ryden said following the meet. “We had just sub-par performances on bars and beam. We needed to come back on floor. But it wasn’t about winning and losing at that point. It was about us redeeming ourselves to our fans and performing like ?'Arizona’ is supposed to.”


A week after setting a season-high team score on vault, the Wildcats had another strong showing in the event, posting a 48.925 to open the meet. Arizona was led by Bree Workman who matched her career-high of 9.875 set a week ago, as she captured the individual title. Coming off a career-performance a week ago, Jamie Holton tallied a 9.825 to share second place. Karin Wurm added a 9.775, while Rachelle Silberg and Alexis Greene each earned 9.725s.


Also in the first rotation, Denver got off to a solid start on bars led by Jessica Lopez, who scored a 9.825 to help the Pioneers to their team score of 48.300. Cal-State Fullerton matched the early score on floor to share second place. Erica Ficarrotta was the high-scorer for the Titans in the event, earning a 9.725. Southeast Missouri State scored a team total of 46.350 on beam.


Holding a comfortable lead heading into the second rotation, Arizona scored a 48.425 on bars. Aubrey Taylor notched a 9.875 to lead the Wildcats as she won the individual titles. Greene also turned a solid performance, posting a 9.800, placing third. Danielle Hicks earned a 9.675, while Suzanne Alvey recorded a 9.625.


Despite the season-low score on bars, the Wildcats were able to extend their lead as neither Denver nor Cal State Fullerton would make up ground. The Pioneers took a narrow lead over the Titans for second place as they scored a 48.175 on beam, just ahead of the Titans’ 48.125 on vault. The Redhawks scored a solid 48.100 on floor to remain in fourth place.


The Wildcats moved to the beam for the third rotation, but saw their lead turn into a slight advantage for Denver. On beam, Arizona posted a team score of 48.150, highlighted by Taylor’s third-place mark of 9.750. Senior Erin Muirhead notched her second-best score of the year with a 9.725. Wurm added a 9.625, while Holton scored a 9.525.


On floor, the Pioneers made a strong claim to upset the Wildcats as the team scored a 49.075, led by four scores of 9.8 or better. Casey Dobyns and Katie Andrews each earned 9.85s to share third place in the event, while Gretchen Goerlitz and Sasha Sullivan each tallied 9.825 marks for the Titans.


In the final rotation, Holton got the Wildcats back on track as she recorded the first of four 9.825 marks for the Wildcats on floor. Muirhead capped her home-career with a career-high tying performance of 9.825. Greene then matched her career-high with a 9.875 mark as she captured a share of the individual title with Wurm, who also matched her personal-best.Taylor added a 9.825 to close out the meet and secure Arizona its highest total in the event this year, 49.225.


“I am so proud of her,” said Ryden of Muirhead who closed out her home career on floor. “To go out with a victory on Senior Night and to hit both of her events, that is all you can ask for. It’s a great way to go out in front of her own fans.”


On vault, the Pioneers gave a solid effort, but it wasn’t enough to hold off the Wildcats. Paced by Dobyns’ 9.825, Denver scored a 48.750.


On beam, the Titans, who finished in third place, ended with two solid performances on beam as Nicole Yim and Brittany Evans received scores of 9.825 and 9.775, respectively, to prevent UA’s Taylor from claiming the individual title.


Even so, Taylor captured her third all-around title of the season with a total of 39.150. DU’s Dobyns (39.100) finished in second, ahead of UA’s Wurm who placed third with a 38.725.


“I’ve very proud of Aubrey,” said Ryden. “It was her second time out trying a brand new vault. That girl is just so competitive. She answered the call tonight.”


Following the meet, the program honored Muirhead and undergraduate assistant coach Jessamyn Salter in a Senior Night ceremony.


“I want to thank you both for all that you have given,” Ryden said to the two seniors as he spoke before the crowd. “It has been an up and down ride, but you never gave up. This program is better because of that. As your coach, I just want to thank you for everything.”


With the three victories, Arizona improves to 8-9 on the season, while Ryden earned his 101st career coaching victory. Wildcats will hit the road for their final regular season meet next Saturday, March 18, at Texas Women’s University.

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