TUCSON, Ariz – The No. 20 Arizona women’s gymnastics team took a first place win over BYU, Texas Woman’s and Bridgeport on senior night on Saturday in McKale Center with a score of 196.425. BYU came in second, close behind Arizona, with a total of 196.025. TWU and Bridgeport followed with scores of 194.575 and 193.675, respectively.
To begin the meet, the Wildcats started off on vault. The team earned a score of 49.125.
The Wildcats were off to a good start when their first three vault specialists earned scores of 9.800. Amber Wobma, Gabby Laub and Mackenzie Valentin started it off for Arizona. From there, the counting scores improved. Junior Allie Flores earned a 9.850 and sophomore Shelby Edwards led the team with a 9.875.
“Vault was solid,” head coach Bill Ryden. “We left a little bit on the table because of a few landing issues but it was a solid start. It got the team in a right state of mind.”
From vault, the Wildcats continued to their second rotation, bars. They earned a total of 48.850.
Leading the Cats in scoring were Selynna Felix-Terrazas and Lexi Mills with twin scores of 9.825. Laub earned another counting score of 9.775. Edwards earned a 9.725 to add to the effort. Rounding out the scores were two earned scores of 9.700 by Flores and Krysten Howard.
“Bars was rough,” Ryden said. “We are definitely lacking on the finer points in hand stands and sticking dismounts. We went six-for-six but it wasn’t the six we’ve been relying on. I’m glad they stayed on. It helped us.”
Moving to the second half of the meet, the Wildcats led the pack with a running total of 97.975.
Each counting score of the Wildcats was a 9.800 or better. Both Jessie Sisler and Mills earned scores of 9.850 to lead the team. Wobma, Flores and Edwards all contributed additional scores of 9.800. Although her score did not count, senior Shana Sangston performer her final beam routine in McKale Center earning a 9.700. The Cats ended the third rotation with a 49.100.
“Beam was great,” Ryden said. “We tried switching the lineups with Jessie and Lexi and that worked out. Overall, I have no complaints with beam. Amber toughed it out for beam and floor having banged her knees together. It was a great routine and effort by the girls.”
Moving to floor, the Wildcats were still in the lead and were on their way to send off their three seniors with a final win in McKale. A score of 49.350 guaranteed the win for the Wildcats.
Starting the lineup in every meet her senior season, Sangston began the rotation tying her career high with a 9.850. From there, the scores continued to help the Wildcats past the Cougars. Kristin Klarenbach, for the second consecutive week, earned a career high score of 9.950. In her floor debut, Shay Fox earned a career high 9.875, which matched the score of Flores. Rounding out the scores for the Wildcats was Wobma with a 9.800.
“Floor was such a great rotation for us,” Ryden said. “The introduction of the new Shay Fox routine was fantastic. Amber had a few landing deductions. Allie and Kristin both had outstanding floor routines. A 9.950 is a great score maybe she’ll earn a 10 this season. She’s incredibly close to that. That was one of the best floor routines in an Arizona leotard that I’ve seen in years.”
Flores was one of four all-around competitors and earned a 39.225. Her total was good enough for the first place finish.
Following the meet, the three Wildcat seniors, Sangston, Ali Stakem and Barbara Donaldson were honored at the annual senior night. Sangston has so far earned a career total of over 1110 points and has participated in every meet since beginning her career at Arizona. Despite injuries, Stakem and Donaldson have provided leadership and commitment to the program.
“They’ve had to work so hard to make their way and presence known in this program,” Ryden said. “All three did just that while here. I am so proud of what they’ve done. They eat and sleep this program. What more can you say? They will be missed.”
From here, the Wildcats will prepare for a quick turnaround to compete against Air Force on Monday, March 18 at 5 p.m. MST. There will be live stats. For continued coverage of Arizona gymnastics, follow the program on Twitter @AZGymnastics and Facebook.com/ArizonaGymnastics.