Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
01-10-2008 NC State, Alaska
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: January 10, 2008
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Whatˇ?s on Tap: ?The No. 12 Arizona womenˇ?s gymnastics team will open the 2008 season at home for the first time in eight seasons when the Wildcats host No. 25 NC State and Alaska on Friday, Jan. 11 at 7:30 p.m. in McKale Center.

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The Rankings: ?The Wildcats were tabbed as the No. 12 team in the nation according to the preseason coachesˇ? poll. Last season, the Wildcats finished the season No. 13 after beginning the year at No. 16.? Arizona has been ranked in 87 of the last 88 polls, including 40 straight. Below are Arizonaˇ?s preseason and final rankings by year since 1998.

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Arizona in the Polls Since 1998:

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Year

Preseason Rank

Final Rank

2007

16th?

13th?

2006

17th?

13th?

2005

13th?

t-18th?

2004

17th?

14th?

2003

10th?

19th?

2002

17th?

11th?

2001

20th?

18th?

2000

16th?

20th?

1999

16th?

20th?

1998

12th?

14th?

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About the Rankings: ?Unlike other collegiate athletic rankings, collegiate gymnastic rankings are not based on wins and losses or votes. Gymnastic teams are ranked by their meet scores alone.? From Jan. 15-Feb. 12, teams will be ranked by their total season average.? Starting Feb. 19, teams and gymnasts will be ranked by a Regional Qualifying Score (RQS).? An RQS is based on a team's top six regular-season scores, with three scores coming from away meets. To obtain the RQS, the team's or gymnastˇ?s highest score is dropped and the remaining five scores are averaged.?

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Arizona Head Coach: ?Bill Ryden?is in his 10th season at the helm of the Arizona gymnastics program, owning a school and career record of 127-127-3.? In 2006, he joined Jim Gault as the second coach to surpass 100 career coaching victories at Arizona. Ryden made his first appearance as a head coach at the NCAA Championships in 2002, the programˇ?s first appearance since 1996.? In 2002, Ryden also earned Pac-10 Conference Coach of the Year honors as well as South Central Regional Coach of the Year honors, becoming the first head coach in Arizona history to have earned Regional Coach of the Year honors. Additionally, Ryden has coached in 17 Pac-10 Championships, 15 NCAA Championships and 17 NCAA Regional meets. Ryden has also trained 13 All-Americans and 20 All-Pac-10 gymnasts in his tenure at Arizona.

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Start It Up: ?Arizona will open the 2008 season in a fashion the Wildcats havenˇ?t been used to ?C at home.? Before this year, the Wildcats started each of the last seven-straight seasons on the road , with the UA owning a 12-8 record under Ryden in season openers on the road. Under Ryden, Arizona is 15-9 in season openers, including a 10-7 mark over the last five seasons.

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Road Rules: ?As usual, the Wildcats will have another busy travel schedule this season.??Arizona will travel for four of its first six meets, with six of its 11 total meets being away from McKale Center.?

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Facing the Best: ?Arizona always competes against some of the top programs in the nation each year, and this season will be no different. The Wildcats ? will face seven opponents ranked in the preseason poll, including Pac-10 foes No. 4 UCLA, No. 5 Stanford, No. 11 Oregon State and No. 18 Arizona State. The Wildcats will also compete against No. 25 NC State this week in the season opener, and will travel to No. 24 Kentucky and No. 15 Denver in March. ? Other teams receiving votes that are on the slate for the Wildcats include BYU, Washington, California, Cal State Fullerton, and Illinois-Chicago.

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Looking Ahead: The Wildcats will travel to No. 5 Stanford on Sunday, Jan. 20 for at meet at 2 p.m. in Maples Pavilion. ?
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