No. 17 Arizona vs. No.2 Oklahoma, No.3 LSU, and Kentucky
Friday, Feb. 15 // 6 p.m. (MST)
Ft. Worth, Texas
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TUCSON, Ariz. –The Arizona women’s gymnastics team will have its first quad meet of the season this Saturday, Feb. 15 at 6 p.m. MST in Ft. Worth, Texas. The No. 17 Cats will be facing No. 2 Oklahoma for the second time this year, as well as No. 3 LSU and Kentucky.
“This will be a really outstanding meet,” head coach Bill Ryden said, “We’ve already seen Oklahoma, we know how good they are, and we know that we can do that level of gymnastics. The same goes for LSU who is having a fantastic year and really putting down some good scores. Kentucky is also a good team. They have one meet that pulled them out of the top 25, so they are definitely a top-25 type team.
Last week, the Cats fell to No. 4 Utah 197.825- 194.425 despite Allie Flores recording an all-around career high, 39.350. This meet marked the Wildcats lowest scoring meet of the year, and they will be looking to rebound in Dallas.
“This is a meet about us though because we are now coming off our lowest score of the year, a meet that we all feel shouldn’t have happened,” Ryden said. “We are regrouping, refocusing, and recommitting, and when we walk out on the floor it doesn’t matter who we are facing. We need to put down our routines and I’m confident in what the scores will be if we execute. It will be a great competition for the fans for sure. If you can get to the meet, you should do it because there will be some great gymnastics.”
For more information about the Metroplex Challenge, click HERE.
Scouting the Opposition:
LSU- LSU is ranked third in the nation and is coming off of a win against No.2 Oklahoma 197.650-197.325 last Sunday. They have a record of 5-1 so far with their only loss coming to No. 6 Georgia. LSU has a 17 person roster which features four freshmen and six seniors including seniors Sarie Morrison and Kaleigh Dickson. They are coached by D-D Breaux who is in her 36th year as LSU head coach and has brought the team to the NCAA tournament nine times in the past ten years.
Kentucky- Kentucky is 2-3 on the year including losses to Florida and Georgia. Their team includes three seniors (Kayla Sienkowski, Audrey Harrison, and Holly Cunningham) and three freshmen. Kentucky is coached by Tim Garrison who is in his second year as head coach after leading the team to one of their best seasons last year (21st in the nation). He is the first coach in school history to take the team to a top 25 score during his first season.
Oklahoma- The last time the Wildcats and No.2 Sooners met was January 25th earlier this year. In that meet, the Wildcats lost at home (196.925-197.575) despite earning their best overall score since 2004. Oklahoma has five seniors and five freshmen including seniors Lara Albright and Taylor Spears. They are coached by K.J. Kindler who has eight years of coaching experience and coached the team to a second place finish at the NCAA championships last year.
2013 Arizona Review:
The Wildcats completed the 2013 season with a season record of 17-15 and advanced to their 27th consecutive NCAA Regional Championships. Finishing sixth, overall, at the Pac-12 Championships and third in the NCAA Regional Championships, Arizona rounded out the season ranked No. 17 in the nation.
Arizona was led by senior Aubree Cristello, who was the lone qualifier to the NCAA National Championships for all-around. Cristello was one of the team’s top all-around athletes, tying her career-high 39.475 three times as well as finishing her career with 2001.250 points, the second highest in program history.
Numerous freshmen stepped up despite roster injuries including Jessie Sisler and Shelby Edwards. Both freshmen received at least one Pac-12 Freshman/Newcomer of the Week award during the season. Sisler recorded a career-high 9.925, giving her one of the top program scores on floor. Edwards provided depth on beam recording scores despite an elbow injury that required her to perform an armless routine.
Look Out for New GymCats:
The Wildcats added a number of new faces this season, including two Arizona natives, Krysten Howard out of Phoenix and Selynna Felix-Terrazas from Tucson. Gabby Laub hails from Owasso, Okla., while Mackenzie Valentin comes from MustangOkla. Also added to the roster is former gymnastics manager and Plano, Texas, native Shay Fox. All of these gymnasts were top J.O. competitors and should make an immediate impact in the lineups this season.
The Arizona gymnastics team heads into the season ranked No. 17 in the 2014 Women’s Pre-Season Coaches poll. The Wildcats are one of eight Pac-12 schools to place within the top 25, including No. 4 UCLA, No. 6 Utah, No. 9 Stanford, No. 12 Oregon State, No. 20 Washington, No. 22 California and No. 25 Arizona State.
Complete pre-season rankings can be found here:http://www.troester.com/gym/Wrankings/2014/WcoachesPoll.htm
Stacked to the Max:
The Arizona gymnastics team is going to compete against one of the toughest schedules in the nation. According to RoadtoNationals.com, Arizona’s strength of schedule is ranked No. 8. Of the 12 regular season meets and 16 regular season opponents, the Cats will face eight ranked teams. Those opponents include No. 3 Oklahoma, No. 4 UCLA, No. 5 LSU, No. 6 Utah, No. 9 Stanford, No. 12 Oregon State, No. 20 Washington, No. 21 Kentucky and No. 25 ASU.
Head coach Bill Ryden finished out the 2013 season with an overall even record of 220-198-3.
What’s Coming Up:
Arizona will make their way to Tempe for the Territorial Cup point on the line as they take on ASU on Saturday, Feb. 22 at 4 p.m. MST. After that they will compete against UCLA at home Saturday, Mar. 1 also at 4 p.m. MST.