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No. 14 Gymnastics Heads to Seattle
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 02/07/2007
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Arizona Gymnastics Meet Notes (at Washington, 2/9/07)

 

What’s on Tap: The No. 14 Arizona women’s gymnastics team (3-1, 1-1) will travel to Seattle, Wash., to take on the Washington Huskies (1-3, 0-2) on Friday, Feb. 9. The Pac-10 dual meet is set to begin at 7 p.m. (PST) in Bank of America Arena at Hec Edmundson Pavilion.  

 

The Rankings: Arizona enters competition this week ranked No. 14 in the country, with an average team score of 194.944. In individual events, UA ranks No. 7 on floor (49.000), No. 14 on beam (48.544, No. 22 on bars (48.431) and No. 11 on vault (48.969). The Wildcats were tabbed as the No. 16 team in the nation according to the preseason coaches’ poll. Arizona has been ranked in 77 of the last 78 polls, including 28 straight. Individually, Danielle Hicks ranks No. 7 on beam, with an average score of 9.856.

 

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 gymnast’s highest score is dropped and the remaining five scores are averaged. 

 

A Look at the Huskies: Washington enters the week unranked and searching for its first conference victory. The Huskies, who are coming off an idle week, are no strangers to ranked opponents, having faced UCLA, Utah and Stanford already this season. They are averaging a 192.175 as a team, with a season high mark of 193.850 coming earlier this year against Utah. UW is lead by senior all-arounder Chelsea Bakken, who is averaging a total of 38.350 this season. Sophomore Ashley Houghting leads the team on floor, with an average score of 9.838. The Huskies are coached by Joanne Bowers, who is in her first season at the school, after serving as an assistant at Michigan the previous five seasons.

 

Side-by-Side: Arizona and Washington event-by-event comparison based on 2007 season averages:

 

 

Vault

Bars

Beam

Floor

Total

Washington

48.281

48.006

47.656

48.232

192.175

Arizona

48.967

48.431

48.544

49.000

194.944

 

Arizona and Washington event-by-event comparison by season high score:

 

 

Vault

Bars

Beam

Floor

Total

Washington

49.000

48.375

48.025

49.000

193.850

Arizona

49.075

49.100

49.075

49.225

196.325

 

 

Arizona Head Coach: Bill Ryden is in his ninth season at the helm of the Arizona gymnastics program, owning a school and career record of 111-119-3.  Last season, 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 program’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 16 Pac-10 Championships, 14 NCAA Championships and 16 NCAA Regional meets. Ryden has also trained 12 All-Americans and 18 All-Pac-10 gymnasts in his tenure at Arizona.

 

Back-to-Back: All-arounder Karin Wurm won both the all-around and bars title in each of Arizona’s home victories over the last two weeks. On Jan. 26, against Oregon State, the 5-5 junior turned in a career-high 9.925 on bars, en route to the second highest all-around score of her career, a 39.300. Last week against Minnesota, Wurm posted a 9.900 on bars and totaled a 38.875 in the all-around. The all-around titles were the second and third of her career.

 

Tough Luck: During warm-ups prior to the Oregon State meet (Jan. 26), senior Aubrey Kelly injured her right ankle on vault. In the meet, she only competed on vault, earning a 9.750. She returned to all but the vault lineup last week, earning scores of 9.850 on bars, 9.750 on beam and 9.875 on floor. She may return to the vault lineup to compete in the all-around this week.

 

It’s About Time: Despite its youth, inexperience and personnel losses (see Breaking in on Bars note below), Arizona’s bars lineup finally displayed what it is capable in the last two meets. Two weeks ago the Wildcats earned a 49.100 against Oregon State, significantly higher than their previous best of 48.525. Led by Karin Wurm’s career-high 9.925, all six routines score a 9.700 or better. Briana Bergeson chipped in a season-best 9.850, while freshman Brittney Morgan earned a 9.800. Last week, Arizona posted a 48.850, led by Wurm’s event-winning 9.900 and Kelly’s 9.850. Over the course of the two meets, UA’s average in the event has risen from 47.888 to 48. 431.

 

Quiet Consistency: Over the course of her career, junior Danielle Hicks has quietly become on of the team’s most consistent performers. In her first two seasons, she competed in the all-around 17 times, averaging a 38.763 in 2006. While a shoulder injury will prevent her from competing on bars this season, she has asserted herself as a top scorer on beam and floor. She leads UA with a 9.856 average on beam, a mark that puts her No. 7 in the nation. Two weeks ago, she set her season high on beam with a 9.900 to claim the individual title against Oregon State. Against the Beavers, she also made her season debut on vault, scoring a 9.775 in place of an injured Aubrey Kelly. In four meets, she is averaging a score of 9.819 on floor, the second-best mark on the team.

 

New Face: Bree Workman made her official debut on floor against Oregon State on Jan. 26 with a 9.750. It may be a permanent change for her, as she followed up her debut performance with an even better effort last week, earning a 9.775 against Minnesota. Her emergence helps solidify one of the team’s most consistent events after the loss of Greene earlier in the year.

 

Breaking in on Bars: Looking for the root of Arizona’s struggles to begin the year on the uneven bars? Look no further than the fact in each of UA’s meets this season, four of the six lineup spots have been filled by freshmen or sophomores. Contributing to the inexperience is the absence of junior Danielle Hicks, who is unable to compete on bars this year due to a shoulder injury. Add in the loss of Alexis Greene for the remainder of the season, the team’s second-highest scorer in the event a year ago, and it is easier to understand why the Wildcats are taking some time to break in on bars this year.

 

Senior Leadership: Now in her final season as a Wildcat, senior Jamie Holton began her senior campaign with arguably the best meet of her career. A former walk-on who does not compete on bars due to a previous shoulder injury, Holton posted 29.55 points for the Wildcats at Michigan State (Jan. 12), the highest three-event total of her career. She won a share of the vault (9.900) and floor (9.875) titles, while placing fourth on beam (9.775). Her score on vault was the second highest of her career, while the mark on floor was a new career best. She topped that mark two weeks ago against Oregon State with a meet-high 9.900. She currently leads the team on floor, with an average of 9.831.

 

Greene Out: Sophomore Alexis Greene will likely miss the remainder of the season due to injury. The 5-5 native of Severn, Md., ruptured her Achilles tendon during a practice session leading up to the UCLA meet (1/21). She competed in the bars and floor lineups in UA’s season opener at Michigan State (Jan. 12). Last season, Greene competed in three events in 10 of the Wildcats’ 13 meets.

 

Remember Her? The last name may have changed, but don’t worry, Aubrey is still Aubrey. Senior Aubrey Kelly, previously Aubrey Taylor, married Jesse Kelly this past summer. Last season, the new Mrs. Kelly earned a score of 9.900 on the uneven bars at the NCAA North Central Region Championships to qualify individually for the NCAA Championships, where she scored a 9.800 in Session II to place 17th.

 

Finish Strong: Historically, Arizona squads have thrived in the role as the underdog. When tabbed as the No. 16 team in the nation or lower to begin a year, as is the case this season, the Wildcats have finished ranked higher at the end of the year in each of Ryden’s seasons. Last season, the Wildcats finished the season No. 13 after beginning the year at No. 17. Below are Arizona’s preseason and final rankings by year since 1998.

 

Arizona in the Polls Since 1998:

 

Year

Preseason Rank

Final Rank

2007

16th

???

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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