Jan. 9, 2011
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - The No. 19 Arizona Women's Gymnastics team started the season off strong, finish fourth with a score of 193.825 in the Pac-10 Preview hosted by UCLA. No. 6 Stanford won the meet with a team total of 196.625, followed by No. 1 UCLA with a 195.925 and No. 8 Oregon State with a 195.375. No. 21 Washington took fifth scoring a 193.675, No. 25 Arizona State went sixth with a 191.850, and California earned a 191.675.
"The first meet for this team was really like the final step in our preparation for the season. We know a lot more now about the team than we did a few weeks ago. I'm sure there are a few more lessons that we need to learn, but for the most part I was pretty happy with how we did, and how we are starting out the season," head coach Bill Ryden said.
The Wildcats began on bars totaling a 48.025. Junior Deanna Graham headed the bar squad, with a score of 9.750. Close behind her were juniors Britnie Jones and Katie Matusik and sophomore Aubree Cristello, all with scores of 9.725. Bars also marked the return of junior Rebecca Cardenas, who competed bars after a RS season this past year.
"I thought we started out pretty well. We had a stellar first few sets on bars, and I thought that that they really got the meet going for us. We made a few mistakes, but they are things that are easily fixed, and can really be chalked up to first meet jitters," Ryden said.
Arizona then went on to beam, earning a team score of 47.825. Sophomore Molly Quirk proved to be up to her form from last year, leading the team with a score of 9.850. The Wildcats also debuted two freshman beam sets from Jordan Williams and Shana Sangston.
"We had a little bit of a rough start this season on beam. Molly came out and rocked it like usual, but other than that we learned that we need to improve a little bit on the event," Ryden said. "However, after beam, we came out with determination to not let it affect the rest of our meet, and we went rocked the last two events."
Not only did they rock the last two events, but the Cats proved why they were a force to be reckoned with last year on floor and vault, totaling scores of 49.025 and 48.950 respectively. Once again, Graham led the team on both events, scoring a season high to tie for third with a 9.90 on floor and a 9.875 to tie for first on vault. Aubree Cristello was also a major contributor with a 9.875 on the floor, and a 9.700 on vault. One of the biggest highlights of the second half of the meet, however, was the return of senior Miranda Russell to the events, with twin scores of 9.850. Freshman Jordan Williams debuted on vault as well, posting a score of 9.800.
"This meet was really a `welcome back Miranda Russell' meet. She was a little disappointed after her performance on bars, but she really came out with a bang on floor and vault. She competed amazingly well, and I couldn't be happier or more proud that she is back and competing on these two events," Ryden said. "I'm just astounded that she performed this well after a struggle of two years and two knee injuries."
From here the Cats head to Logan, Utah to take on Utah State on January 14.