Feb. 17, 2012
TUCSON, Ariz. – Working landings in practice this week paid off for the Cats, as the women’s gymnastics posted a season high 196.275 to overtake BYU with a 194.525.
“Overall great meet. The team had a goal of earning a 196, and I had a goal of hitting all of our sets. We were able to do both, so great job to the team.” Head coach Bill Ryden said.
The Wildcats started out on vault, posting a 48.775 – the lowest event total of the night. Sophomore Jordan Williams and junior Aubree Cristello were standouts on the event, earning scores of 9.825 and 9.875 to take third and first place (respectively).
“I was a little apprehensive after vault. We didn’t have the best vaulting, and I was a little bit disappointed with our landings.” Ryden said, “We gave away over half of a point in landings alone, and we were stumbling around when we didn’t need to.”
Despite the slow start on vault, the Cats made up for all of the missed landing in the first event by sticking every routine on bars. The team scored a new season high 49.175 on the event, with each routine building on the one before it.
Freshman Allie Flores set the tempo, earning a score of 9.800. Senior Britnie Jones then earned a score of 9.800 as well followed by junior Molly Quirk with a 9.825 (to tie for third). Senior Rebecca Cardenas then tied her career high 9.850 (to take second place), and Cristello won the event after posting another score of 9.875. Senior Katie Matusik rounded out the event with a 9.825 (also tying for third).
“Tonight something clicked with our bar team – it obviously was a good bar lineup, to start off so well and just take it from there was just phenomenal. We throw such hard gymnastics, and we hit so often in the gym that I expect us to hit all of the time. Everyone rose to the occasion, and everyone did their best set during competition.” Ryden said.
The Wildcats took the bar momentum and applied it to beam, scoring a 48.950. Allie Flores made her debut on the event, posting a score of 9.675. Matusik was the overall shining star for Arizona, posting a season high score of 9.90 to take first on the event. Other contributors included Williams, Cristello, and Jones who all earned scores of 9.775 (tying for third), and Quirk with a 9.725.
“We threw Allie in the lineup because that girl is a gamer. She wants the ball, and she started us well. We haven’t had that for two weeks now, and I think that was a huge thing for the team.” Ryden said, “Even the more experienced beam workers in the lineup looked a little more relaxed after Allie’s routine because that is how it should be; there is less pressure on the rest of the beam team when the opening routine hits.”
The success didn’t stop there: Arizona rounded out the meet with a new season high 49.375 – only .025 away from making the top-10 all-time floor performances.
Flores was a key started once again for the Cats, posting a 9.800 in her debut performance.
“Once again, Allie Flores, what a gamer. She starts us off well, and the rest of the girls just took it from there.” Ryden said.
Quirk and Matusik followed with twin scores of 9.850 (to tie for third), freshman Kristin Klarenbach posted a 9.825, Cardenas scored a season high 9.90 (for second place) and Cristello earned a new career high 9.950 to win the event.
“We have a great floor team and before we started out floor I challenged them, ‘This is our house, our meet, if you’re really going to be a great team you’re going to have to deliver,’ and they were pretty dang motivated and really showed up tonight.” Ryden said.
The Wildcats also dominated the all-around competition, with Cristello posting a new career high 39.475 (first place), and Quirk with a career high 39.125 (second place).
“This is the best both of these girls have ever been in their career. It’s understandable if they hit they would have so much success. Kudos to them: they’ve been doing a lot of work and had a great meet.” Ryden said.
“It was nice to see such a great effort. It was certainly one of the best nights in recent history from a competition standpoint for us. I really feel like it couldn’t have happened at a better time. This is now the midpoint of the season. We’ve figured out a lot of things, we’ve gotten a lot of answers per event and now it’s time to hone in and just do it over and over and over.” Ryden said.
The Cats look to keep up this momentum next week, as they work for a conference win against Washington.