Feb. 15, 2012
No. 15 Arizona continues the home front, welcoming Brigham Young University this Friday, February 17th. Doors open at 6p.m. and the meet will begin at 7p.m. Live stats and a live video feed will also be available for those unable to make it to McKale.
Scouting the Opposition:
In last week's matchup against then No. 17 Denver, the BYU Cougars posted a team total of 191.850. Despite the loss, the Cougars had a number of bright spots throughout the evening, such as Jordan Schult's vault, earning a career high score of 9.800. Natalie Eyre-Pickard also excelled on the event, posting the team-high score of 9.825 and a twin score on bars.
Arizona fought to redeem itself in the second meeting against in-state rival No. 25 Arizona State. In the first meeting, the Sun Devils overtook the Cats by over a point and a half. This week, after a meet that came down to the last two routines, the Wildcats were able to earn a victory by 0.4 over the Devils.
In the Rankings:
The Wildcat gymnastics team has been on the up and up this season, raising their standing by four spots since the initial pre-season ranking of No. 19.
As the No. 15 team, Arizona is one of five Pac-12 teams to be in the top 15, with Utah currently No. 1, UCLA at No. 7, Oregon State at No. 8, and Stanford at No. 12.
Arizona's performances have also excelled on each event. The team currently bolsters a national ranking of No. 14 on vault (No. 3 in the conference), No. 22 on bars (No. 4 in the conference), No. 17 on beam (No. 6 in the conference) and No. 12 on floor (No. 4 in the conference).
A Valuable Asset:
Aubree Cristello has always been one of Arizona's most consistent gymnasts - and so far her junior campaign has been no exception. In the past three consecutive meets, Cristello has been a standout on the floor, posting three scores of 9.90 or better (with the highest being a 9.925). Her explosive tumbling has led her to a national ranking of No. 13 on the event, following competitors from the top ten teams in the nation.
Aside from a few errors here and there, Cristello has also been a leading all-around athlete for the Cats. In the past meet against Arizona State, Cristello posted a season high 39.325 - edging out Sun Devil Beate Jones, who tied her season high score of 39.300.
With the loss of all-around competitor Deanna Graham, Cristello has stepped into big shoes, and is filling them quite successfully. Her performances have truly earned Cristello the title of one of Arizona's most valuable all-around assets.
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.
Questions for Coach:
Each week, head gymnastics coach Bill Ryden sits down to talk with us to analyze the previous week's meet. This Coach's Show is available for free via the All-Access tab on the website.
This season Ryden is entertaining questions from the public. If you have any questions you would like to ask Coach Ryden - from the type of grips the girl's like to use to different coaching decisions - e-mail them to the gymnastics SID Valery Meusburger at email@example.com. Then, watch for your questions in the weekly Coach's Show!
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 the defeat of No. 25 ASU, head coach Bill Ryden bolsters a career record of 180-177-3.
What's Coming Up:
The Cats continue the home season, hosting No. 23 Washington on Friday, February 24 at 7 p.m. at the McKale Center.