No. 19 Arizona gymnastics comes to McKale to host No. 6 Stanford, No. 18 Illinois, San Jose State
Jan. 11, 2013
The Arizona gymnastics team returns to Tucson, opening the 2013 home season. The No. 19 Cats will face a conference opponent for the second week straight from No. 6 Stanford in addition to competition from No. 18 Illinois and San Jose State.
The meet is the first of many for the season to take place on a Saturday, starting at 4:00 p.m. on the 12th. Doors open an hour before march-in, and free live stats and video feed will be available the day of the meet.
Scouting the Opposition:
No. 6 Stanford: The Cardinal heads to Tucson coming off a win in its season opener against San Jose State, Sacramento State and UC Davis. The team was led by All-Americans Ashley Morgan (who posted the team high bar score of 9.800), Amanda Spinner (who posted a 9.875 on beam) and Ivana Hong (also with a 9.875 on beam and a 9.900 on vault). Stanford also bolsters the first Pac-12 Special Performance of the Week recipient of 2013; senior Nicole Dayton earned a 9.950 on vault and will be one to watch on the event.
No. 18 Illinois: this meet will be the first of the season for Illinois. The fighting Illini return 16 of 24 routines including All-Big Ten honorees Alina Weinstein and Amber See. Head coach Kim Landrus also expects big things from junior Sarah Fiedler – who hit 35-39 routines in her sophomore season, sophomore Sunny Kato – who has a difficulty filled bar routine, and freshmen Giana O’Connor – who will step into the role of all-arounder.
San Jose State: San Jose State placed 2nd in its first meet against Stanford, Sacramento State and UC Davis. Junior Julia Greer was responsible for the highlight for the Spartans, earning a 9.825 on floor. Sophomore Cami Greer was also a standout, earning second place all-around with a score of 39.600.
The Wildcats began the season taking third behind California and Kentucky, and ahead of Auburn in the quad meet hosted by the University of California. Despite counting two falls for a total score of 194.825, the team started off with quite a few positives. In fact, the team set two records: highest first event score in program history (in addition to being the highest bar total scored in a season opener) with a 49.100 on bars, as well as highest vault score ever posted in an opening meet with a 49.200.
A standout for the Cats was senior Aubree Cristello, who set a career high vault score of 9.950 and started her final season with an all-around of 39.400 – her 20th score of 39.00 or better, and her 12th consecutive all-around of 39.025 or better.
Debuts, Debuts, Debuts:
The Wildcats wasted no time in adding a number of new routines to the lineup, including debut sets for Allison Flores, Jordan Williams, Kristin Klarenbach, Lexie Mills, and Jessie Sisler.
Sophomore Flores was a major contributor to bars, beam and floor last season, but in the opening meet she added vault to her repertoire, posting a score of 9.800 in her first collegiate vault. This also enabled Flores to make her mark in the all-around with a score of 39.075 to take third in the meet.
Also debuting in the all-around was junior Williams, who competed floor for the first time in four years. Williams’ largest contributions in the meet came from her beam score of 9.775 and her vault score of 9.875 (to tie for second in the meet).
Speaking of vault, Klarenbach made her debut on the event with a score of 9.800, tying with Flores and contributing to the program record starting score for the event.
Freshmen Mills and Sisler both donned Arizona competitive leotards for the first time. Mills contributed to the bar total with a score of 9.775, and Sisler posted a 9.700 on beam and competed on floor.
Keep up the Streak:
Last season, the Cats started off with excellence – then senior Katie Matusik earned a score of 9.900 on beam. That score started the fire; from the point on the Cats posted at least one score of 9.900 or better in every team competition for the rest of the season.
Thanks to Cristello’s score of 9.950 that streak continues this season, marking the 14th consecutive meet with at least one of these perfectly near perfect scores.
Complete list: Matusik 9.900 beam (Cancun Classic); Graham 9.925 floor (Oregon State); Cristello 9.925 floor (Arizona State); Cristello 9.900 floor (Texas Woman’s); Cristello 9.900 floor (Arizona State); Matusik 9.900 floor, Cardenas 9.900 floor, Cristello 9.950 floor (BYU); Cristello 9.900 floor (Washington); Matusik 9.900 beam (UC Davis); Cristello 9.900 vault (Stanford); Cristello 9.900 vault (New Hampshire); Cristello 9.925 floor (AFA, USU, Bridgeport); Matusik 9.900 beam (Pac-12 Championships); Matusik 9.900 beam, Williams 9.900 vault (NCAA Regional Championships); Cristello 9.950 vault (California, Kentucky, Auburn)
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 bolsters an overall record of 195-188-3 after the season opener at California with Kentucky and Auburn.
What’s Coming Up:
The Wildcats hit the road again, this time heading to Denton Texas. The meet will feature teams from all divisions, as Arizona faces DII Texas Woman’s University, and DIII Wisconsin-Whitewater. The competition will commence Saturday, January 19 at 7:00p.m. central time (8:00p.m. mountain time).