Tucson, Ariz. ?- The University of Arizona women’s gymnastics team will open the 2005 season as the No. 13 team in the nation, according to the Preseason Coaches Poll.
The Wildcats are returning 11 gymnasts from last year’s squad that finished No. 14 in the final national rankings en route to their 18th consecutive postseason appearance. Arizona was voted No. 17 in last year’s Preseason Coaches Poll. This year, the Wildcats collected 264 points to place them at the No. 13 spot.
The Wildcats face one of the nation’s toughest schedules as they compete against 12 of the Top 25 teams in the Preseason Coaches Poll. Among those teams are: No. 1 UCLA, No. 2 Georgia, No. 3 Stanford, No. 4 Alabama, No. 6 Florida, No. 9 Arizona State, No. 12 Oregon State, No. 17 Iowa, No. 19 Penn State, No. 21 Washington, No. 22 Missouri, and No. 25 California. The Wildcats also face six other opponents that received votes.
Of Arizona’s 11 returnees from last year, there are six seniors, two juniors and three sophomores. The Wildcats welcome in four freshmen to this year’s roster. The team will travel to Gainesville, Fla., to open the season at the Super Six Challenge on January 7, 2005.