Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Cats to Travel to Tempe for State Farm Territorial Cup Opportunity
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: January 24, 2012
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Jan. 24, 2012

What’s Up:

No. 15 Arizona heads up the road to Tempe, Ariz. for one of two duel meets to contribute to the State Farm Territorial Cup competition. The Wildcats will be taking on in-state rival, Arizona State this Friday, January 27 at 7:00 p.m. The meet will be streamed live the day of the competition, and a link will be available the morning of the competition.

Scouting the Opposition:

Last week, Arizona State earned its first conference win against the California Golden Bears with a season high 195.250. The team earned season high event totals on three of four events, posting a 48.875 on vault (currently ranked No. 35 on the event), a 48.900 on bars (currently No. 13) and a 48.950 on floor (currently No. 59). Gymnasts to watch out for include senior Beate Jones, who earned first place all-around with a 39.300, and senior Kahoku Palafox, who was the lead contributor on bars with a 9.850.

Full Recap

Last Week:

The Cats fell to the Beavers 194.825 to 194.375 in front of an outstanding crowd of 1,607 fans.

"The meet tonight was rough. It wasn't our sharpest.  The team was really pumped to perform for the home crowd, but I think we just let it get to our heads. Tonight was a learning experience; we learned lessons on every event." Head coach Bill Ryden said.

Despite the loss, seniors Deanna Graham and Katie Matusik, and junior Molly Quirk were leaders for Arizona. Graham earned event titles on vault and floor, Matusik earned first on bars, and Quirk earned the team’s highest beam score to take second on beam.

Full Recap

Nearly Perfect:

Senior Deanna Graham has a history of near perfection, with eleven scores of 9.900 or better under her belt before her senior season began.

This week she added two more scores to the list; one on vault and one on floor.

On vault, Graham debuted a new, extremely difficult vault: a full twisting hand front. It was not only exciting to see such a difficult skill, but she nailed it cold, inspiring excitement in her team members and the crowd, and earning her a career high tying 9.925.

On floor Graham was the final routine. Following an energy charged routine from junior Aubree Cristello, she kept up the momentum with high tumbling, crisp leaps, and entertaining dance to earn her second score of 9.925 of the night.

First Among the Best:

Over the last three seasons, senior Katie Matusik has been known for her elegant beam and beautiful floor. However, in recent meets, Matusik has been proving herself to be a bar worker as well.

In last Friday’s meet against Oregon State, she earned a career high 9.875 to take first place overall. Oh yeah, and Oregon State is currently ranked No. 4 in the nation on the event, posting a team total of 49.125 in the meet.

Matusik is certainly making waves on bars, beating out some of the nation’s best.

2011 Review:

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.

Major contributors included then RS senior Miranda Russell, and then-juniors Deanna Graham and Katie Matusik.

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 Then, watch for your questions in the weekly Coach's Show!

Pre-season Rankings:

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.

Ryden’s Record:

After the first home meet, head coach Bill Ryden bolsters a career record of 178-176-3.

What’s Coming Up:

The Cats go down south to Denton, Texas for a duel meet against Texas Woman’s. The meet will take place February 3rd at 7:00 p.m. central time.

Bear Down Challenge Gymnastics