No. 13 Arizona gymnastics heads to Navy Pier for an appearance at the "Chicago Style Meet"
Feb. 7, 2013
Holding steady at No. 13, the Arizona women’s gymnastics team is set to compete in Chicago, Ill. at the annual “Chicago Style Meet” hosted by Illinois Gymnastics Institute at Navy Pier. The team will be taking on Illinois State, Pittsburgh and Texas Woman’s on Friday, February 8 at 7:30 p.m. CT.
Video coverage hosted by Gymnastike.com will be available the day of the meet. The website will be doing archived coverage with free videos uploaded and featured immediately following the event.
Scouting the Opposition:
Illinois State: This will be the second consecutive unique meet for Illinois State, as the Red Birds are coming off a second place finish in the inaugural Illinois vs. Michigan meet. Illinois State and UIC competed as a unit, taking on Central and Eastern Michigan. Broken down, Illinois State took second overall with a score of 194.100. Gymnasts to watch out for include junior Elise Gray, who was recognized as MIC Specialist of the Week for her 9.925 vault, and sophomore Sami King who took the beam title with a 9.875 as well as the all-around title with a career high 39.225.
Pittsburgh: Last week Pittsburgh earned a season high 194.625 taking second place in a quad meet hosted by Rutgers. Pitt has potential to be a force on bars, earning a 48.925 for their highest team score of the night. Impact Panthers include senior Alyssa Adrian, junior Katie O’Rourke and freshman Lindsay Offut. Adrian added a bar title this last week to her list of first place floor performances, O’Rourke won the beam with a 9.850, and Offutt took third place on floor with a 9.850.
Texas Woman’s: This will be Texas Woman’s second go at the Arizona Wildcats, and the Pioneers are coming to Chicago with momentum from a season high 193.150 against Lindenwood this past weekend. Seniors Bethany Larimer and Kristin Edwards and junior Courtney Cochefski led the team – Larimer with a 9.800 for the vault title, Edwards with a 9.875 for first on floor, and Cochefski with a career high 9.850 for gold on bars.
Arizona had a difficult time in Seattle, posting only a 195.200 to take second to home team Washington (196.025).
The team started strong on bars, earning a 49.075, however the second event caused a deficit that the Cats couldn’t rebound from.
A number of landing difficulties on vault earned the team a 48.400 but gave the Wildcats something to learn from.
“We have a lot of strength in our power as a vault team; the girls obviously have no difficulties getting off of the table,” head coach Bill Ryden commented. “That being said, the girls also get very amped up in competition. We need to learn how to control that adrenaline so we can control our landings and really show what this vault lineup is capable of.”
Arizona rounded out the meet with scores of 48.950 on floor and 48.775 on beam.
Homecoming for Flo:
While wind, snow and cold aren’t ideal for many, the chill coming off of Lake Michigan is something that brings back more than just memories for sophomore Allison (Flo) Flores – it is something that characterized her journey to Arizona.
Flores began competing around age 6, and as a member of IGI that meant competing in the annual “Chicago Style” meet from day one. This particular meet is one of the largest in the country, with multiple gyms set up in the historic Navy Pier Convention Center and competition stretching over several days. Flores is no stranger to this setup having competing in this setting for at least 12 seasons.
“I have no doubt that there will be a large support group at the meet for Allie. This is her home town and her home turf so I’m excited for her to show everyone her stuff in an Arizona leotard,” Ryden said.
In the Rankings:
Despite a difficult week in Seattle, Arizona bolsters a total average of 195.550 enabling them to hold a No. 13 national ranking. This ranking also makes a difference in the conference, placing Arizona in the No. 5 spot and contributing to the conferences’ season record number of seven ranked teams.
From an event perspective, the team is ranked No. 25 on vault, No. 8 on bars (up one spot from last week), No. 21 on beam, and No. 10 on floor (up one spot from last week).
Individually the Cats are making an impact as well, with two gymnasts ranked within the top 25 on different events: Cristello is currently No. 16 in the all-around, and No. 18 on beam; and Klarenbach is No. 20 on floor.
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 200-191-3 after the weekend in Seattle.
What’s Coming Up:
Arizona will don their pink leotards in Wildcat country, welcoming No. 9 Nebraska to McKale for the annual “Flipping for the Fight” breast cancer awareness meet. The meet will take place Saturday, February 16 at 4:00 p.m. MST.