Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Arizona Travels to Nebraska for South Central Gymnastics Regional Saturday
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: June 22, 2004
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    What's Coming Up - The No. 23 Arizona women's gymnastics team (6-20, 2-12 Pac-10) travels to Lincoln, Neb., this week for the 2001 South Central Regional Championship on Saturday, April 7... The University of Nebraska is the host institution for the regional, and the meet will be held in the Bob Devaney Sports Center, at 7 p.m. CST (5 p.m. MST)... Arizona has qualified for its 15th consecutive postseason appearance, and the Wildcats are the No. 5 seed in the South Central Regional... The Wildcats qualified for the regional meet with a Regional Qualifying Score (RQS) of 195.415... UA will square off against third-ranked Nebraska (18-1), No. 10 Penn State (16-11), No. 15 Washington (16-9-1), No. 19 Oklahoma (16-6) and No. 25 Illinois State (13-9)... Nebraska and Penn State are the region's top-seeded teams... Arizona will face Nebraska, Penn State and Illinois State for the first time this season, while the Wildcats are set to meet Washington for the fourth time and Oklahoma for the third time this year... In addition to the six teams, five all-around competitors and an event specialist will compete in Saturday's championship... The all-around competitors are Missouri's Alina Hamm and Lindsay Davis, Illinois-Chicago's Cheryl Rubinger, Illinois' Jana Gallagher and Northern Illinois' Anna Gardina... The individual event specialists are Illinois' Carissa Ericson (vault, floor), Illinois-Chicago's Amy August (bars) and Missouri's Leah Gremaud (beam)... Arizona is no stranger to gymnastics meets held in the Bob Devaney Sports Center, as the Wildcats competed at the 1999 NCAA Regional Championship meet in Lincoln, Neb.

    Arizona at the NCAA Regional Meet - The fifth-seeded Wildcats have qualified for the regional championship meet every year since 1987, and the UA is in search of its first berth to the NCAA Championship in five years... Last season, the Wildcats ended the season in fourth place at the regional meet (194.100) in Tucson, Ariz., on April 1, finishing behind regional champion Nebraska (196.875)... Arizona's highest regional finishes came in 1991, 1992, 1993 and 1996 when the Wildcats posted second-place finishes, each time qualifying for the NCAA Championship... UA posted its highest regional meet score of 195.750 during the 1996 season, and the mark ranks as the fifth-best meet total in Arizona gymnastics history.

    About the NCAA Regional Meet Structure - The top 18 teams in the nation, based on the Regional Qualifying Score (RQS), were seeded into the six regional championship meets around the nation (three per region)... The remaining three regional slots were filled with teams from within the region... The top two teams in each of the six regionals will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Championship in Athens, Ga., on April 19-21... The top two all-around competitors and the individual event winners who score at least a 9.800 also will advance to the national championship, provided they are not members of a qualifying team.

    Head Coach Bill Ryden's Analysis - "We have the potential and the talent to be a very good team, and I believe that we can compete with the teams at the regionat. I think that we are in one of the toughest regional fields, and I am hoping that our team will rise to the challenge and have a great meet. We have had some good practices over the last week, and it just comes down to us putting it all together. We want to have one meet where every event works, which we haven't had all season. We are going to be competing against five very good programs. It is just going to come down to the team that rises to the occasion."

    Regional Rotation Order - Arizona begins the meet on bars and ends the meet on the bye after vault... UA's rotation order is Bars-Beam-Bye-Floor-Vault-Bye.

    Scouting the South Central Regional Field
    ... The third-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers enter the regional meet with an 18-1 overall record and a Regional Qualifying Score of 197.285... The Cornhuskers won the Big 12 Championship meet, and they are the top seed in the South Central Regional... Nebraska is the regional meet's host institution for the second time in three years... Nebraska is led by freshman Alecia Ingram who earned both Big 12 Gymnast of the Year and Newcomer of the Year honors this season... Nebraska is ranked nationally in all four events: No. 4 on vault, No. 2 on bars, No. 5 on beam and No. 11 on floor... Individually, Ingram is tied for No. 7 nationally on vault, is tied for No. 17 on bars and is tied for No. 10 on beam... Sophomore Julie Houk is tied for No. 5 and freshman Tami Harris is tied for No. 12 on bars... Senior Amy Ringo checks into the national rankings at No. 23 on beam... Nebraska has won 37 consecutive regular-season meets at the Devaney Center... Head coach Dan Kendig, the winningest coach in school history, has guided the Huskers to seven conference titles and five NCAA Championship appearances in the past eight seasons, including NCAA Super Six Finals appearances in 1997, 1999 and 2000... Nebraska won the regional meet in 2000, defeating the fourth-place Wildcats, to earn a berth to the NCAA Championship... Kendig (Kentucky, '79) is in his eighth year at the helm of the program and holds an overall school and career record of 141-27.

    ... The No. 10 Penn State Nittany Lions enter the regional meet with a 16-11 overall record and an RQS of 196.420... Penn State is the No. 2 seed in the regional... The Nittany Lions have never finished lower than third in an NCAA Regional competition dating back to 1975... Penn State has tied or set 13 team or individual records this season... The Nittany Lions are coming off a second-place finish (196.425) at the Big 10 Championships... The squad is ranked nationally in all four events: No. 16 on vault, No. 11 on bars, No. 7 on beam and No. 13 on floor... The team is led by three gymnasts who are ranked in the national individual event polls... Sophomore Katie Rowland is No. 2 in the all-around, tied for No. 21 on vault and is No. 15 on beam... Senior Maria Taylor checks into the national rankings on bars at No. 19, and freshman Richelle Simpson is tied for No. 20 on beam... Last season, Penn State finished second in the 2000 Northeast Regional after posting five consecutive first-place finishes... Head coach Steve Shephard (Southern Illinois, '77) is in his ninth year at the helm of the Nittany Lion program and holds a 119-69 school and career record.

    ... Pac-10 rival Washington is ranked No. 15 in the nation and holds a 16-9-1 overall record... The Huskies enter this weekend's regional as the No. 3 seed in the South Central Region... UW has qualified for the NCAA Regional Championship for 20 consecutive seasons... Washington is ranked nationally in three events: No. 6 on vault, No. 18 on beam and No. 15 on floor... The Huskies are led by junior Stacy Wong who checks into the national all-around rankings at No. 24 and is tied for No. 15 on bars... Wong posted a school-record 39.725 in the all-around at the conference meet... Washington is coming off a school-record performance at the Pac-10 Championship... The Huskies defeated Arizona three times this season... Washington finished third at the Pac-10 Championship (197.475), while UA landed in sixth overall (195.525)... The Huskies finished second (194.675) at the UCLA Invitational on Feb. 11, while the Wildcats finished fourth (194.400)... In a dual meet in Seattle, Wash., on Feb. 18, the Huskies topped the Wildcats, 195.575-195.500... Husky head coach Bob Levesque (Fresno State, '72) is in his 11th season at the helm of the program, and he holds a 127-97-1 overall school and career record.

    ... The No. 19 Oklahoma Sooners enter the regional with a 16-6 overall record and a Regional Qualifying Score of 195.765... The Sooners are the fourth seed in the regional, and they have advanced to the regional meet for the fourth year in a row... Oklahoma enters this weekend's regional after posting a third-place finish (196.700) at the Big 12 Championship meet... The Sooners are led by five All-Big 12 competitors: freshmen Carla DeMartini and Kasie Tamayo, sophomores Patricia Aoki and Leticia Ishii and junior Mariana Goncalves... Oklahoma ranks No. 23 on vault, No. 9 on bars and No. 12 on floor in the national polls... Individually, Leticia Ishii, the only Sooner ranked in the national poll, is tied for No. 19 in the national all-around rankings... Co-head coaches Becky Switzer and Steve Nunno were named 2001 Big 12 Co-Head Coaches of the Year... Switzer (Oklahoma City, '76) is in her 18th season at the helm of the program and holds a 222-100 overall school and career record... First-year co-head coach Steve Nunno (Massachusetts, '79) holds a 16-6 overall school and career record.

    ... No. 25 Illinois State holds a 13-9 overall record and a Regional Qualifying Score of 195.270... The Redbird gymnastics team earned a berth to the NCAA Regional Championship for the first time since 1995... Sixth-seeded Illinois State is No. 10 in the national beam rankings and No. 22 in the national floor rankings... Illinois State is led by sophomore Heather Mohler who is tied for the No. 1 ranking on floor in the South Central Region... Head coach Jill Hollembeak (Illinois State, '91) is in her fourth year with the Redbirds and has a 49-76 overall school and career record.

    Arizona's Last Time Out - The No. 24 University of Arizona women's gymnastics team finished in sixth place at the 2001 Pac-10 Championship meet in Washington's Bank of America Arena, in front of a crowd of 3,094, on March 24. Arizona scored a 195.525, its third-best team total of the season, en route to the team's sixth-place showing and a win over California.

    Sixth-ranked Stanford won the program's second conference championship in school history with a 197.850, narrowly defeating No. 1 UCLA, who came in second with a 197.800. No. 16 Washington landed in third (197.475), No. 13 Oregon State finished fourth (196.550), and eighth-ranked Arizona State ended the meet in fifth (195.725). UA defeated No. 25 California for the first time this season, as the Golden Bears rounded out the field in seventh place (193.750).

    Arizona's team total of 195.525 is the new No. 9 score on the all-time top-10 scoring list. The Wildcats, who finished the regular season 5-15 overall and 1-7 in the conference, also scored a 49.250 on floor in their final event of the meet. The score now ranks as the seventh-best floor rotation mark in school history.

    Individually for the Wildcats, senior Kara Fry led the Arizona charge, finishing the Pac-10 meet in ninth place in the overall all-around standings (39.300). Fry tied for 15th on floor, as she tied a career-high 9.900 in the event for the third time this season. Her career-high floor mark remains tied for the seventh-best all-time individual score. She tied for 10th place on bars with a 9.900 and tied for 17th on beam with a 9.800.

    Junior All-American Randi Liljenquist continued to battle an ankle injury that she suffered two weeks ago in the Minnesota meet. Nevertheless, Liljenquist ended the meet as Arizona's top performer on beam and floor. She tied for 15th on beam (9.825) and tied for eighth place on floor (9.925). Liljenquist also tied for 11th in the all-around with a 39.175 and tied for 22nd on bars with a 9.850.

    Sophomore Nikki Beyschau was UA's top vault performer, ending the competition tied for ninth place (9.875). Beyschau also tied for 18th on bars (9.875). Freshman Andi McCabe finished 17th in the all-around (38.350) and tied for 19th on vault (9.800).

    Wildcats in the Rankings - Arizona enters the regional championship ranked No. 23 in the nation... The squad began the 2001 season ranked No. 20 in the preseason coaches' poll... In terms of schedule strength, 12 of Arizona's 2001 opponents - UCLA, Nebraska, Utah, Stanford, Arizona State, Penn State, Oregon State, Washington, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Denver and Illinois State - are ranked in this week's national gymnastics poll... UA is ranked nationally in three events - No. 17 on vault, No. 20 on bars and No. 21 on floor... Senior Kara Fry is the only Wildcat ranked in this week's national poll... Fry is No. 16 in the all-around rankings... Arizona jumped one spot to No. 4 in the South Central Regional rankings, finishing behind Nebraska, Arizona State and Oklahoma... The Cats previously peaked at No. 3 in the region on March 5... UA is third on vault, fourth on bars, fourth on floor and fifth on beam in the region... In the individual regional rankings, Fry holds the top position in the regional all-around rankings for the third week in a row this season... Fry is 10th on vault, tied for eighth on bars, tied for 13th on beam and is 10th on floor... Junior Randi Liljenquist is fifth in the all-around, tied for first on floor, tied for 11th on beam, 19th on bars and 14th on vault... Sophomore Nikki Beyschau is fifth in the region on vault and is tied for 15th on bars... Senior Mary Reiss is 11th on floor... Senior Heather Straccia is tied for 17th on floor... Senior Nicci Filchner is 24th on bars... Freshman Andi McCabe is tied for 21st on vault... Women's gymnastics rankings are posted every Monday at:

    Conference of Champions - Arizona is sixth in the overall Pac-10 Conference standings, with top-ranked UCLA and No. 6 Stanford leading the field... No. 9 Arizona State is third in the conference, 13th-ranked Oregon State is fourth, No. 15 Washington is fifth, and California is seventh... UCLA holds the top spot on vault, bars and floor, while Stanford leads the conference on beam... The Wildcats are fifth on vault and bars, sixth on floor and seventh on beam... Individually, senior Kara Fry is fourth in the all-around, and Randi Liljenquist is ninth overall... Fry is 18th on vault, tied for 12th on bars, 17th on beam and 19th on floor... Liljenquist is tied for 11th on floor, 16th on beam and 23rd on vault... Nikki Beyschau is 11th on vault and 23rd on bars... Mary Reiss is tied for 20th on floor, and Heather Straccia is tied for 23rd on floor.

    Arizona in the Record Books
    ... The Wildcats have posted 17 team scores this season that currently rank on the UA's all-time top-10 performance list...

    ... On March 24 at the Pac-10 Championship meet, Arizona's scored a team total of 195.525, which ranks as the new No. 9 score on the all-time top-10 scoring list... Arizona set a new school record with its season-high team total of 196.900 against Arizona State on March 2... UA's previous team record was a 196.300, which was set on March 26, 1999, against Arizona State, in McKale Center... The Wildcats posted a team total of 196.200 in the Stanford meet, and the mark ranks as the third-best team score in school history... Arizona's team total of 195.500 in the Washington meet is the new No. 10 all-time score...

    ... In the meet at Minnesota on March 10, Arizona scored a 49.050 on vault, and the event total matched the No. 7 vault score on the Wildcats' all-time top-10 list... Arizona notched a season-high 49.100 on vault in the Arizona State meet, and the score is the fifth-best mark in UA history... Arizona's 49.025 on vault, in the Stanford meet, tied the No. 10 all-time score...

    ... Against North Carolina on March 14, Arizona set a school record on bars with the team's season-high mark of 49.475, which topped the previous all-time team record of 49.425... Arizona scored a 49.325 on bars in the ASU meet, and the score tied the No. 6 bars mark on the all-time top-10 list... Against Stanford on Feb. 23, the Wildcats tallied a 49.375 on bars, and the score tied the fourth-best bar rotation mark in school history...

    ... The Wildcats posted a season-high 49.000 on beam in the Arizona State meet, and the mark tied the No. 5 all-time beam score... The squad's score of 48.975 on beam, which UA scored against Stanford, ranks as the No. 8 all-time beam rotation score...

    ... The Wildcats also scored a 49.250 on floor in the Pac-10 meet, and the mark is the seventh-best rotation total in school history... Arizona's floor score of 49.200, scored against North Carolina State, matched UA's No. 8 all-time floor rotation score... UA posted a season-high 49.475 on floor to set a school record in the team's last event of the ASU meet... In the Washington meet on Feb. 18, Arizona's floor score of 49.175 became the 10th-best score in school history... UA's score of 49.300 on floor at the UCLA Invitational on Feb. 11 tied the third-highest all-time mark...

    UA's Top-10 Performers

    ... Seven Arizona gymnasts have set or tied scores this season that rank in the top-10 on Arizona's all-time performers' scoring list... With her career-high marks on vault and bars this season, Kara Fry has now broken into all five of the individual event categories thus far in her stellar gymnastics career... Fry and Randi Liljenquist are the only UA gymnasts listed in each of the five event categories...

    ... At the Pac-10 Championship meet on March 24, senior Kara Fry matched a career-high 9.900 on floor (No. 7 all-time score) for the third time this season... In the meet against North Carolina State, Fry matched a career-high 39.525 in the all-around, and her score currently ranks as the third-best all-time individual mark... Fry originally set the career mark in the Stanford meet on Feb. 23... In winning the vault title, Fry tied a career-high 9.850 in the North Carolina State meet, which keeps her in a tie for the 10th-best individual score... She took first place honors on bars in the North Carolina State meet, matching a career-high 9.950... The mark, which she first scored in the Stanford meet, ranks as the third-best all-time individual score... In the ASU meet on March 2, Fry tied a career-high 9.900 on floor... Fry also matched a career-high 9.900 on floor (No. 7 all-time score) in the Stanford meet... Fry posted a career-high 9.850 on vault in the Washington meet, vaulting into the Arizona record books for the first time in the vault event... Fry tied her career-high 9.900 on beam in the UCLA Invitational on Feb. 11, as she defeated three U.S. Olympians en route to the beam event title... Her career-high 9.900 is the sixth-best all-time individual beam mark...

    ... Junior All-American Randi Liljenquist posted a career-high 39.650 in the all-around on March 2 against Arizona State, and the score is the second-best individual mark on the all-time top-10 performers' list... Liljenquist scored a career-high 9.900 on vault against Arizona State and landed in a tie for sixth place on the all-time top-10 list... She also tied a career-high 9.925 on bars in the same meet, and she remains tied for seventh on the all-time top-10 list... Last season, Liljenquist set career highs on beam and floor... Her career-high 9.925 on beam is the third-best all-time individual score, while she is tied with Heidi Hornbeek for the school record on floor (10.000)...

    ... Sophomore Nikki Beyschau tied a career-high 9.900 on vault in the Minnesota meet on March 10, and her score matched the sixth-best mark on the all-time top-10 list... Beyschau's career high on vault was originally set in the Arizona State meet on March 2... Beyschau scored a career-high 9.950 on bars in the Stanford meet on Feb. 23 and is tied for the third-best all-time individual bars score... As a freshman last year, Beyschau posted a career-high 39.250 in the all-around, which ranks as the No. 8 all-time all-around score...

    ... Junior Nicci Filchner posted a career-high 9.900 on bars in the ASU meet, and the score tied the ninth-best individual bars score in UA history...

    ... Freshman Andi McCabe recorded a career-high 9.850 on vault against Washington on Feb. 18, and the score matched UA's No. 10 all-time individual vault score... McCabe's career-high mark came in only her third collegiate vault competition...

    ... Senior Mary Reiss tallied a career-high 9.925 on floor in the ASU meet, and she tied the third-best individual floor mark in school history...

    ... Senior Heather Straccia notched a career-high 9.900 on bars, which landed her in a tie for the ninth-best all-time individual mark... Straccia's career-high 9.925 on floor placed her in a tie for the third-highest all-time score... Straccia made her first career appearance in the Arizona record books with her recent career highs on bars and floor...

    Cat Scratches - Arizona head coach Bill Ryden is in his third year at the helm of the program (11th overall at Arizona) and holds a 27-49-1 career and school record... Arizona notched two victories over North Carolina State and James Madison on the road in the first meet of the 2001 season... UA is 2-11 in neutral contests, 1-6 in away meets and 3-3 at home this season... Six of Arizona's eight freshman have competed this season... So far this year, 13 Wildcat gymnasts have set or tied season-high and career-high marks... Senior Kara Fry and junior Randi Liljenquist share the team lead, each with 12 individual event titles... Fry also has tallied 32 top-five finishes, while Liljenquist holds 35 top-five performances... Fry holds the team lead with four all-around championships... Senior Mary Reiss has posted seven top-five finishes... Sophomore Nikki Beyschau has nine top-five performances, including two vault titles and a bars event title... Freshman Andi McCabe has seven top-five performances... Senior Heather Straccia holds six top-five finishes, including the first floor exercise title of her career... Senior Nicci Filchner and freshman Cori Messina each have three top-five finishes... Freshman Aimee Estella has a vault title and two top-five finishes... Freshman Sheehan Lemley has one top-five finish entering this weekend's meet.

    Injury Update - Freshmen Aimee Estella and Meagan Killpack will sit out the remainder of the season after suffering ACL injuries... Estella, who won a vault title in the first meet of the season at North Carolina State, tore her ACL on the landing of her bar dismount during practice on Feb. 8... Killpack, a walk-on, suffered the same injury on the first tumbling pass in a floor exercise exhibition at the UCLA Invitational on Feb. 11... Estella competed in five meets in her first season, and Killpack competed in three meets... Estella posted career-high marks on vault (9.800), bars (9.175) and beam (9.750), and Killpack set career-high marks on bars (9.100), beam (9.325) and floor (9.650).

    A Look Ahead - The teams who finish in the top two positions at the regional championship meet will advance to the NCAA Championship on April 19-21 in Athens, Ga... The top two all-around competitors and the individual event winners who score at least a 9.800 in their respective events will earn an automatic berth to the national championship, provided they are not members of a qualifying team.

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