March 21, 2012
No. 17 Arizona heads to Salt Lake City, Utah to compete in the inaugural Pac-12 Gymnastics Championships. The Wildcats will be competing in the afternoon session, set to begin on Saturday, March 24 at 2 p.m.
Live stats will be available throughout the meet (available beginning the day of competition) as well as a live blog put on by the conference and respective SIDs via twitter. A tape delayed video of the event will be broadcasted through FS Arizona on Thursday, March 29 at 12 p.m.
The Wildcats posted a new season high 196.525 in the final home meet of the season. The team’s total marked its third score of 196.000 or better, and enabled the Cats to send their seniors off in style with a first place victory over Bridgeport, Utah State, and the Air Force Academy.
Junior Aubree Cristello was a standout all-around performer for the Cats, posting her second score of 39.475 this season. Cristello’s excellent performance caught the attention of the Conference as well, earning the final Pac-12 Gymnast of the Week recognition for the season.
With the gymnastics competition heading into the post season, the team and individual rankings have switched from being based on overall score average to a team’s total RQS. But what exactly is an RQS score, and how does it work?
Given that gymnastics is a sport based on judgment, it needs to have a ranking system that can mostly eliminate scoring and performance inconsistencies. Obviously, in a perfect world, all judges would take the same deductions for the same degree of mistakes, etc. – but every judge can’t be at every competition, so deductions aren’t necessarily 100% foolproof. With that same token, in a perfect world a team would never have a bad meet – though everyone has an off day.
Because of this, RQS was born. An RQS score is made up of a team’s top three away scores plus the team’s top three other scores minus the overall top score, and the average the remaining five. This average is supposed to be an overall better indicator of a team’s performance, taking out overly bad performances (in addition to overly good performances) as well as potential judging differentials.
So what is the reason the rankings start out as an average? In the beginning of the season there are not enough scores to factor into the RQS formula. Each team needs to have at least three away meets and a total of six meets under their belt before this type of score can be calculated.
Cats in the Rankings:
Now that the rankings are based on RQS, Arizona as a team currently holds steady at No. 17 overall (only .010 below No. 16 Minnesota) and bolsters a No. 19 rank on vault, No. 15 on bars (up two spots from last week), No. 18 on beam, and No. 12 on floor (up four spots from last week).
For yet another week, Cristello and Matusik are making a splash in the individual top 20 rankings, and six gymnasts total currently hold 12 top 100 individual positions.
Cristello currently ranks No. 14 in the nation for the all-around, with a RQS score of 39.340 (season high score of 39.475). She also currently ranks No. 7 nationally for her floor performances this season, boasting a RQS score of 9.905 (season high score of 9.950).
Matusik is currently ranked No. 18 in the nation on beam with a RQS of 9.870 (season high 9.90).
All top-100 Rankings:
The Wildcats completed the 2011 season with an overall record of 13-12 and were able to make their 25th consecutive NCAA post-season appearance. Finishing fifth at the Pac-10 Championships and the NCAA Regional Championships, Arizona rounded out the season ranked No. 20 in the nation.
Russell, who had spent her RS junior season competing only on bars, returned to vault and floor in 2011, making a huge impact on the team totals with high scores of 9.875 on vault, two scores 9.90 on bars, and a career high 9.925 on floor. Russell also took fifth place on vault at the Pac-10 Championships, and sixth place on both bars and floor at the NCAA Regional Championships.
Graham was one of the team’s top all-around athletes, posting a season high AA score of 39.100 at the Pac-10 Championships. Graham also tallied high scores of 9.925 on vault, 9.850 on bars, 9.90 on beam, and 9.90 on floor. Her performance throughout the season earned conference recognition as she was named to the first-team All-Pac-10 All-Around.
Matusik had a break out junior season as well, taking the title of “beam queen” for the season. Matusik earned three scores of 9.90 or better on the event, with a career high 9.925 at BYU (2/26). She also earned second place on beam at the NCAA Regional Championships with a score of 9.875, and was named to the first-team All-Pac-10 Beam Team. Lastly, Matusik was one of two conference athletes to be honored with the Pac-10 Sportsmanship Award for 2011.
A number of Wildcats were recognized by the conference throughout the season, including Matusik (Special Performance of the Week Feb. 21 - 27), Graham (Gymnast of the Week Feb. 7 – 13, and Mar. 7-13), then junior Aubree Cristello (Gymnast of the Week Jan. 31-Feb.6, and first-team All-Pac-10 All-Around), and Russell (Special Performance of the Week Jan. 24-30).
Look Out for New GymCats:
Arizona added a number of new faces this season, including Danielle Buchanan out of Lancaster, Calif., Allison Flores hailing from Addison, Ill., Edmonton, Alberta native Kristin Klarenbach, and Amber Wobma from Rockford, Mich.
The Arizona gymnastics team headed into the season ranked No. 19 in the 2012 Women’s Pre-Season Coaches poll. The Wildcats were one of six Pac-12 schools to place within the top 25 in the prelim poll, with UCLA ranked No. 1, Utah ranked No. 5, Oregon State at No. 7, Stanford at No. 8, and Washington falling in at No. 16.
After earning first place in last week's quad meet, head coach Bill Ryden bolsters a career record of 189-179-3.
What’s Coming Up:
The Wildcats have a chance to earn a spot at the NCAA Regional Championships, depending on their performance this week at the Pac-12 Championships.