Ft. Worth, Texas - The No. 17 Arizona women’s gymnastics team outscored Kentucky but fell to the nation’s No. 2 and No. 3 teams with a final team score of 195.625 to take third place at the Metroplex Challenge on Saturday night in Ft. Worth, Texas.
No. 2 Oklahoma earned the win with a team total of 198.175. No. 3 LSU broke their school record with a score of 197.875, which was good enough for second place. Kentucky rounded out the meet with a 194.800.
“It turned out to be a decent meet, but we had to fight through situations in almost every event it seemed like,” head coach Bill Ryden said. “The team kept digging and fighting. We were crawling from the behind the entire meet, and then in the last event the girls came through to finish it off.”
The Cats opened the competition on beam and improved from last week’s effort scoring a total of 48.925 and not counting a single fall in their overall score.
Sophomore Jessie Sisler scored a career high 9.875 after missing the last three meets due to injury. Amber Wobma and Shelby Edwards both contributed scores of 9.800. Junior leader Allie Flores earned a 9.775. Senior Shana Sangston rounded out the scoring with a score of 9.675.
“It was a solid start for us,” Ryden said. “After last week we definitely needed to do better beam. I’ll give Shana credit because she almost fell, but she knew we already had a fall so she refused to come off.”
From beam, the Cats moved to floor and scored a total of 48.750.
The team was led by Flores who scored a 9.825. Her score was followed by three scores of 9.775 coming from Sangston, Mackenzie Valentin, and Wobma. Freshman Selynna Felix-Terrazas contributed a score of 9.600 to wrap up the event.
"We couldn’t land things,” Ryden said. “We were doing our tumbling passes, but when you don’t land them, and you bounce out of bounds or don’t show control, those deductions add up quick. That certainly seemed to be a problem for a number of our athletes tonight.”
The Cats headed to vault for the third rotation of the night. Arizona pulled through with a vault score of 48.850.
Wobma led the cats on vault with a score of 9.825 and was followed by Sangston who earned a 9.775. Flores, Valentin and Edwards added scores of 9.750 to the effort.
“Vault was a little bit in the same boat as bars,” Ryden said. “We just couldn’t land well. We had a lot of power and we made our skills, but we almost had too much power to where we couldn’t stop and stick.”
Entering the final rotation on bars, the Wildcats were less than .500 of a point from Kentucky, who was sitting in third place. Arizona came through and earned their highest rotation score with a 49.100 and guaranteed their third place finish.
“The team had a solid effort on bars,” Ryden said. “We had one fall, but the girls came through so we wouldn’t have to count it. This event helped us end on a high note and get us back into the meet after being behind for so long.”
Howard started off the Cats with their highest score of 9.875. Lexi Mills recorded a 9.850 and Flores earned a 9.825. Felix-Terrazas and Laub contributed 9.800 and 9.750, respectively.
Allie Flores was Arizona’s only all-around competitor and was the third place medalist for the event. Her score of 39.175 earned Flores her ninth third-place or better title of the season.
“She had a solid meet,” Ryden said. “She had a couple scores that she would like to get back. It wasn’t as high as her score was last week, but she is doing really well. She had four more solid events again tonight. It is her second time doing all-around since last year, so as she does more and more she will get into the groove.”
Looking forward, Arizona will make their way to Tempe, Ariz. with the Territorial Cup point on the line as they take on ASU on Saturday, Feb. 22 at 4 p.m. MST. The competition will be shown live on Pac-12 Networks. The Cats will return home on Saturday, Mar. 1 at 4 p.m. MST to take on UCLA.