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No. 15 Gymnastics to Host Minnesota On Friday
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 02/03/2007
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Arizona Gymnastics Meet Notes (Minnesota, 2/2/07)

 

What’s on Tap: The No. 15 Arizona women’s gymnastics team (2-1) will host Minnesota (0-3) on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. in McKale Center.

 

Watch it Live: ArizonaAthletics.com will provide live statistics and a live video webcast of the event (video is mostly of Wildcat gymnasts only). As always, the live stats are free, while the live webcast this week will be available to All-Access subscribers only. Links will be provided in this article prior to the meet beginning on Friday. For more information, please log onto ArizonaAthletics.com.

 

Wear Pink: Everyone who attends Friday’s meet is encouraged to wear pink in an effort to increase awareness for breast cancer. Gymnasts, coaches and support staff members of both teams will wear pink ribbons to raise support for breast cancer awareness, a campaign sponsored by the National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches for Women, which Arizona is a member of.

 

The Rankings: Arizona enters competition this week ranked No. 15 in the country, with an average team score of 194.792. In individual events, UA ranks No. 8 on floor (48.925), No. 14 on beam (48.592) and No. 9 on vault (48.983). The Wildcats were tabbed as the No. 16 team in the nation according to the preseason coaches’ poll. Arizona has been ranked in the Top 25 in 76 of the last 77 polls, including 29 straight. Individually, senior Jamie Holton (9.858) ranks No. 15 on the floor, while junior Danielle Hicks (9.858) ranks No. 6 on beam.

 

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.  From Jan. 15-Feb. 12, teams will be ranked by their total season average.  Starting Feb. 19, teams and gymnasts will be 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. 

 

A Look at the Gophers: Minnesota enters Friday night’s meet with a 0-3 record, but a renewed sense of confidence following last week’s performance against No. 3 Utah. In the meet, the Golden Gophers posted a 194.125, greatly improving upon their 191.175 scored a week earlier at Penn State. Minnesota is led individually by sophomore Carmelina Carabajal, who ranks No. 24 in the nation on floor with an average of 9.850. Leading the Golden Gopher program are co-head coaches, Jim and Meg Stephenson, who are in the 24th season sharing the position.

 

Side-by-Side: Arizona and Minnesota event-by-event comparison based on 2007 season averages:

 

 

Vault

Bars

Beam

Floor

Total

Minnesota

47.912

48.225

48.492

48.600

193.323

Arizona

48.983

48.292

48.592

48.925

194.792

 

Arizona and Minnesota event-by-event comparison by season high score:

 

 

Vault

Bars

Beam

Floor

Total

Minnesota

48.600

48.800

48.825

48.925

194.400

Arizona

49.075

49.100

49.075

49.150

196.325

 

Arizona Head Coach: Bill Ryden is in his ninth season at the helm of the Arizona gymnastics program, owning a school and career record of 110-119-3.  Last season, he joined Jim Gault as the second coach to surpass 100 career coaching victories at Arizona. Ryden made his first appearance as a head coach at the NCAA Championships in 2002, the program’s first appearance since 1996.  In 2002, Ryden also 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 history to have earned Regional Coach of the Year honors. Additionally, Ryden has coached in 16 Pac-10 Championships, 14 NCAA Championships and 16 NCAA Regional meets. Ryden has also trained 12 All-Americans and 18 All-Pac-10 gymnasts in his tenure at Arizona.

 

Home Sweet Home: A number of factors contributed to Arizona’s best team performance of the year last week, but none was greater than the home crowd. The announced attendance of 1,376 was the largest regular season crowd in McKale Center since March 20, 2004, when 2,031 fans attended the Arizona/Arizona State meet. Last season, the Wildcats drew an average of 1006 fans to McKale Center.

 

Tough Luck: During warm-ups last week prior to the Oregon State meet, senior Aubrey Kelly injured her right ankle on vault. In the meet, she only competed on vault, earning a 9.750. Her status for this week will be decided later in the week.

 

Back in the All-Around: Karin Wurm, who competed in the all-around in all 13 of the team’s meets last season in addition to an individual appearance at the NCAA Championships, was not in Arizona’s beam or vault lineups in the team’s season opener (1/12). However, she returned to the all-around two weeks ago at UCLA, earning a total of 38.375, including marks of 9.800 on vault and 9.750 on bars. In the Wildcats’ home opener last week, Wurm displayed her talents that landed her a spot in the NCAA Championships last spring. She posted the second highest all-around total of her career (39.300), while earning her second career title. She also captured the bars title with a career-high 9.925.

 

It’s About Time: Despite its youth, inexperience and personnel losses (see Breaking in on Bars note below), Arizona’s bars lineup finally displayed what it is capable of for the remainder of the season. As a team, the Wildcats earned a 49.100, significantly higher than its previous best of 48.525. Led by Karin Wurm’s career-high 9.925, all six routines score a 9.700 or better. Briana Bergeson chipped in a season-best 9.850, while freshman Brittney Morgan earned a 9.800.

 

Quiet Consistency: Over the course of her career, junior Danielle Hicks has quietly become on of the team’s most consistent performers. In her first two seasons, she competed in the all-around 17 times, averaging a 38.763 in 2006. While a shoulder injury will prevent her from competing on bars this season, she has asserted herself as a top scorer on beam and floor. She leads UA with a 9.858 average on beam, a mark that puts her No.6 in the nation. Last week, she set her season high on beam with a 9.900 to claim the individual title against Oregon State. Against the Beavers, she also made her season debut on vault, scoring a 9.775 in place of an injured Aubrey Kelly. In three meets, she is averaging a score of 9.808 on floor, the second-best mark on the team.

 

New Faces: Last week’s floor lineup included two new names for the Wildcats in the event. Sophomores Briana Bergeson and Bree Workman each competed in the event for the first time this season. Bergeson, who made her second career appearance on floor, earned a 9.550. Workman, who made her collegiate debut on floor, notched a 9.775 to help lead Arizona to its season high score of 49.150.

 

Reunion for the Russell’s: Friday night’s meet will mark a reunion for sisters Rehana and Miranda Russell. Rehana is a senior gymnast for the Golden Gophers, while Miranda is a freshman for the Wildcats. Rehana has yet to officially compete this season for Minnesota, but posted a season-high 9.8 on bars in 2006. For the Wildcats, Miranda has competed on bars, beam and floor. She boasts season averages of 9.675 on bars and 9.767 on floor.

 

Breaking in on Bars: Looking for the root of Arizona’s struggles to begin the year on the uneven bars? Look no further than the fact in each of UA’s meets this season, four of the six lineup spots have been filled by freshmen or sophomores. Contributing to the inexperience is the absence of junior Danielle Hicks, who is unable to compete on bars this year due to a shoulder injury. Add in the loss of Alexis Greene for the remainder of the season, the team’s second-highest scorer in the event a year ago, and it is easier to understand why the Wildcats are taking some time to break in on bars this year.

 

Senior Leadership: Now in her final season as a Wildcat, senior Jamie Holton began her senior campaign with arguably the best meet of her career. A former walk-on who does not compete on bars due to a previous shoulder injury, Holton posted 29.55 points for the Wildcats at Michigan State (Jan. 12), the highest three-event total of her career. She won a share of the vault (9.900) and floor (9.875) titles, while placing fourth on beam (9.775). Her score on vault was the second highest of her career, while the mark on floor was a new career best. She topped that mark last week against Oregon State with a meet-high 9.900. She currently ranks No. 15 in the nation on floor, with an average of 9.858.

 

Greene Out: Sophomore Alexis Greene will likely miss the remainder of the season due to injury. The 5-5 native of Severn, Md., ruptured her Achilles tendon during a practice session leading up to the UCLA meet (1/21). She competed in the bars and floor lineups in UA’s season opener at Michigan State (Jan. 12). Last season, Greene competed in three events in 10 of the Wildcats’ 13 meets.

 

Remember Her? The last name may have changed, but don’t worry, Aubrey is still Aubrey. Senior Aubrey Kelly, previously Aubrey Taylor, married Jesse Kelly this past summer. Last season, the new Mrs. Kelly earned a score of 9.900 on the uneven bars at the NCAA North Central Region Championships to qualify individually for the NCAA Championships, where she scored a 9.800 in Session II to place 17th.

 

Finish Strong: Historically, Arizona squads have thrived in the role as the underdog. When tabbed as the No. 16 team in the nation or lower to begin a year, as is the case this season, the Wildcats have finished ranked higher at the end of the year in each of Ryden’s seasons. Last season, the Wildcats finished the season No. 13 after beginning the year at No. 17. Below are Arizona’s preseason and final rankings by year since 1998.

 

Arizona in the Polls Since 1998:

 

Year

Preseason Rank

Final Rank

2007

16th

???

2006

17th

13th

2005

13th

t-18th

2004

17th

14th

2003

10th

19th

2002

17th

11th

2001

20th

18th

2000

16th

20th

1999

16th

20th

1998

12th

14th

 

 

 

 

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