Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Chalk Talk: Coach Ryden Looks Ahead to the North Central Regional
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: March 30, 2006
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Talk about the accomplishment of the program reaching regionals for the 20th-consecutive year:


“Our primary goal every year is to not let that streak break. It was started before my time, and certainly we will do everything in our power to keep that going each year.”


Talk about the balance in the North Central Regional:


“This is by far the hardest regional. If you add up everybody’s national ranking, ours is by far the hardest. Every team in there is legitimate. Every team in the regional could advance. That’s not always the case in some regionals. For all six teams in our regional, just getting there is not good enough. Every one of the six teams expected to be in the postseason since January. Every one of the six teams is capable of moving on. So, it will be a fight. It will be, by far, the most exciting regional, simply because the teams that move on could come from anywhere. Everybody is really going to have to put out their ?'A’ game to succeed.”


How does the team respond from its performance at the Pac-10 Championships?


“It’s like being hit in the face with a cold bucket of water; it’s like a wake-up call. Things didn’t go the way we had planned, but our job is to figure out why. What can we do to make sure it doesn’t happen again? You learn from it. Watching the meet videotape is sometimes hard because it’s not good. But, you just try to do everything in your power to keep that fresh in your mind and make that your training motivation for the next competition.”


How important is this week of rest before regionals?


“For us, this will be big. We really need to rest some bodies. It will definitely help. We haven’t had a week off since the beginning of the season. It really is necessary. We were dragging through Pac-10’s, that’s for sure.”


Is it fair to say that often times a team’s success is judged solely by how it performs at regionals?


”That is totally fair. There are only 36 teams left in the country now. It’s a new-life tournament just like basketball. We just have one chance. It used to be that the whole season would count more, but then you have to compare scores across the country and the RQS (Regional qualifying scores) and that type of thing. So for excitement sake, we made the change about 10 years ago to start over with a ?'winner take all’ type of tournament. It all comes down to this. It all comes down to peaking at the right time, getting the job done at the right time and whatever happens from there, happens.”


Do you coach any differently when preparing for postseason competition?


“I think the way we coach is that each meet, each week, is in and of itself important. A lot of times the athletes don’t even follow the whole RQS system and how that is working. They trust the coaches to know what’s going on. So for them, a lot of times it has been a, ?'I want to do it now (at every meet),’ type of thing. It’s just now, at regionals, they know you do it now or there is no tomorrow. But the fact is, every time we go out, we are trying to put every single thing we have into that performance, and then we’ll let the scores dictate the RQS. I think they’re pretty much ready for that each week. Now, I think it’s just about them being able to understand the importance of everything they do heading into this meet.”


Talk about the three Pac-10 Gymnast of the Week honors for Aubrey Taylor, Jamie Holton and Karin Wurm:


”It was nice to see three different athletes recognized and to get three of the 12 conference honors. Obviously, it shows you that we have a number of people contributing to try and make a difference. A lot of times with the Pac-10 Gymnast of the Week, if it goes to a school on more than one occasion, it goes to the same athlete a number of times. So to have three different and one that wasn’t an all-arounder is pretty unique. I don’t remember that ever happening throughout my career here. Each one, Aubrey, Jamie and Karin deserved it at the time they received it. Of course, a lot of it depends on the timing and who you’re going up against and who others are going up against. But, it’s great to have those honors because a lot of people can have great careers, be all-conference or All-American and not even have the chance to get one of those honors (Pac-10 Gymnast of the Week). It was nice to get three different, for sure.”


Karin Wurm was named to the Pac-10 All-Academic First Team, while Aubrey Taylor, Danielle Hicks and Rachelle Silberg each received honorable mention. Talk about those honors and the effort they put in to achieve them:


“It’s tough for them, but they are so disciplined. They would have it no other way. I don’t think we have an athlete who is happy with just competing and not performing in the classroom. It’s just sort of the type of mentality an athlete like a gymnast has to have. Those four in particular take their academics pretty seriously. They all have big plans beyond school and gymnastics. It’s nice for them to be recognized for that, but certainly they have already realized that they have to take care of their business now so that future goals can be reached.”

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