No. 19 Arizona Faces Wildcats, Tigers and Bears in Season Opener
The University of Arizona gymnastics team heads to California to begin the 2013 season
Jan. 3, 2013
The Arizona gymnastics team heads to Berkeley, Calif. to jumpstart the season in a quad meet. The No. 19 Cats will experience some SEC competition from No. 13 Auburn and No. 25 Kentucky as well as get a taste of what's to come in conference competition from California.
"We plan to go out and give the best effort we can right from the start," Head coach Bill Ryden commented. "The meet will be a great intro to the season, and will answer a lot of questions; I think we will be able to walk out of this with a lot more knowledge about what is to come this season, and how we can adjust and improve with the upcoming meets." Ryden said.
The meet is set to take place Sunday, January 6 at 2:00p.m. Live stats will be available the day of the competition.
On the Tube:
Want to watch the action of the Cats' first meet of the season? The Pac-12 Network is kicking off its 2013 gymnastics coverage at this Sunday's quad meet. The meet action will be featured on tape delay 72 hours upon the conclusion of the competition.
This is the first of 10 meets the Pac-12 Network has scheduled to broadcast, and the first of three meets featuring the Arizona Wildcats. The Network also plans to broadcast the March 2nd home meet against Arizona State live from McKale, as well as the Pac-12 Championships on March 23rd. For a full listing of televised events, see the official Pac-12 website.
Scouting the Opposition:
California: California returns 11 gymnasts from the 2012 season, including regional qualifiers Madisyn O'Brien (who placed 9th all-around at the Pac-12 Championships with a score of 39.025) and Mariesah Pierce (who scored a career high all-around 39.150 against UCLA).The team will look forward to a fresh start with new coach Justin Howell, and three new freshmen Kristina Heymann, Serena Leong, and Jordan Widener.
Kentucky: the Wildcats finished the 2012 season ranked No. 25 nationally after a fifth place finish in the NCAA Champaign Regional. Overall, the UK gymnasts posted 22 event titles under head coach Tim Garrison in his first season with the team. Three of those titles were earned in the all-around by then-sophomore Audrey Harrison, who will once again be a contributor for the Wildcats. Another gymnast to look out for includes junior Kayla Hartley, who earned a score of 9.90 on floor at the Regional Competition.
Auburn: in head coach Jeff Grabe's second season, the Tigers finished ranked No. 15 in the nation. Throughout the season, the Auburn gymnasts tied or set more than 40 career-best scores and totaled more than 60 season bests proving the strength and depth of the team. A gymnast to look out for is sophomore Bri Guy, who was the first Auburn athlete to be named to the All-SEC team since 2009 and was one two athletes to qualify for the 2012 NCAA National Championships.
The Wildcats completed the 2012 season with a regular season record of 13-5 and were able to make their 26th consecutive NCAA post-season appearance. Finishing fourth at the Pac-12 Championships and the NCAA Regional Championships, Arizona rounded out the season ranked No. 22 in the nation.
Major contributors included then senior Katie Matusik, and then-junior Aubree Cristello who were the two qualifiers to the NCAA National Championships (Matusik for beam and Cristello for the all-around).
Matusik renewed her title of "beam queen" qualifying to the NCAA Championships event finals and taking third place overall with a score of 9.8875. Throughout the season, Matusik posted six scores of 9.90, one of which earned Matusik the title of first-team All-American. Matusik's beam excellence also earned her a second consecutive title of first-team All-Pac-12 on the event. Her contributions did not stop there, however, as she was a leading scorer for the Cats on bars and floor as well, posting high scores of 9.875 on both events.
Cristello was one of the team's top all-around athletes, posting two high scores of 39.475 garnering Pac-12 Gymnast of the Week honors as well as breaking into the top 10 all-time all-around performances for the program (No. 9). Cristello was so consistent overall that she earned her third consecutive first-team All-Pac-12 all-around honor - the only gymnast in Arizona history to earn such recognition.
A number of Wildcats were ranked within the top 100 on individual events throughout the season, the highest rankings for each girl are as follows: Matusik was No. 30 on bars (the week of 2/29), No. 13 on beam (the week of 3/7) and No. 73 on floor (the week of 3/13); Cristello was No. 38 on vault (the week of 3/7), No. 38 on bars (the week of 3/7), No. 5 on floor (the week of 3/7) and No. 14 all-around (the week of 3/13); Molly Quirk was No. 55 on beam (the week of 3/3) and No. 49 all-around (the week of 3/7); Jordan Williams was No. 58 on vault (the week of 3/7); Rebecca Cardenas was No. 87 on bars (the week of 3/13); and Kristin Klarenbach was No. 99 on floor (the week of 3/13).
Look Out for New GymCats:
Arizona added a number of new faces this season, including Shelby Edwards out of San Tan Valley, Ariz., Lexi Mills hailing from Frisco, Texas, Sloughouse California native Jessie Sisler, and Krishna Yemany from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. All of these gymnasts were top J.O. or Canadian Elite competitors and should make a dent in the lineups this season.
The Arizona gymnastics team heads into the season ranked No. 19 in the 2013 Women's Pre-Season Coaches poll. The Wildcats are one of six Pac-12 schools to place within the top 25, including No. 2 UCLA, No. 5 Utah, No. 6 Stanford, No. 9 Oregon State and No. 17 Washington.
Stacked to the Max:
The Arizona gymnastics team is going to complete an extremely difficult season in 2013. Of the 12 regular season meets and 20 regular season opponents, the Cats will face 11 ranked teams during eight meets (six of which within the top 10). Those opponents include No. 2 UCLA, No. 4 Oklahoma, No. 5 Utah, No. 6 Stanford, No. 7 Nebraska, No. 9 Oregon State, No. 13 Auburn, No. 17 Washington, No. 18 Illinois, No. 21 Missouri, and No. 25 Kentucky.
Head coach Bill Ryden finished out the 2012 season with an overall even record of 194-186-3.
What's Coming Up:
The Wildcats face ranked conference opponent No. 6 Stanford as well as No. 18 Illinois and San Jose State in the first home meet of the season. The meet is set to take place Saturday, January 12 at 4:00p.m. in Mckale.