No. 17 Gymnastics Set for Pac-12 Championships
The No. 17 Arizona women's gymnastics team heads to Gill Coliseum for its 27th conference championship appearance
March 21, 2013
No. 17 Arizona gymnastics opens tournament style competition, heading to Corvallis, Ore. for the Pac-12 Championships. The Wildcats will compete in Gill Coliseum as the No.5 seed in the afternoon session beginning at 1:30 p.m. PT on Saturday, Mar. 23. Other teams in the session include Washington, Arizona State and California. No. 7 Utah, No. 8 UCLA, No. 10 Oregon State and No. 11 Stanford will compete in the evening session at 7:00 p.m. PT.
Rather than hosting one meet with all eight teams, the Pac-12 Championships will feature two different sessions on the same competition day. The top four seeds are to compete in the evening session, and the bottom four seeds will compete in the afternoon. Seeding was determined based on National Regional Qualifying Scores (RQS), placing No. 7 Utah as the No. 1 seed, No. 8 UCLA as the No. 2 seed, No. 10 Oregon as the No. 3 seed, etc.
Rotation order was determined based on a blind draw last May. The Nos. 4 (Stanford) and No. 8 (California) seeds will begin the meet on vault and the Nos. 2 (UCLA) and 6 (Washington) seeds will begin the meet on bars. Nos. 3 (Oregon State) and 7 (Arizona State) begin on beam, and Nos. 1 (Utah) and 5 (Arizona) will begin on floor. From there each team will proceed in Olympic order.
Who’s the Champ?
Even though there are two sessions, the winner of the competition will be determined by overall scores. Once the second session has concluded, all of the team totals from both competitions will be compared to determine the overall Pac-12 Champion and other finishes. Individual champions will also be determined via combined sessions.
Following the Cats
Both sessions of the Pac-12 Championships are to be televised live by the Pac-12 Networks featuring commentary by Jim Watson and Amanda Borden. Coverage should begin at 1:30 p.m. for session I, and 7:00 p.m. for session II. The footage will feature each and every routine competed, so there will not be a live online stream of the meet. However, live online stats will be available the day of the meet via the official Oregon State athletics website.
For anyone who misses the live coverage, the meet will re-air several times including Sunday, Mar. 24 at 1:00 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. as well as Thursday Mar. 28 at 2:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Check your local cable provider for the listings and times in your area.
Arizona at the Championships
This year marks Arizona’s 27th appearance in a conference championship. The Cats have never won a conference meet, but have nine top three finishes including five 2nd place finishes under their belt. Last year the team won its session with a 195.900 for a fifth place finish overall.
Then No. 18 Arizona gymnastics posted a new season high 196.625 to overtake Missouri (195.450) in the final home meet of the season.
The Cats posted a number of season and career bests: freshman Shelby Edwards tied her career best 9.875 in the first event to tie for first place, sophomore Allison Flores posted a new career high 9.900 to take first on bars, senior Molly Quirk earned her season best 9.875 for a beam title, and sophomore Amber Wobma performed a new floor routine for a new career high 9.850.
As a team, the highlight of the meet was floor. The Wildcats broke into the record book with a season high 49.425 total, marking the seventh best performance all-time on the event.
Other event totals included a 49.100 on vault, a 49.150 on bars and a 48.950 on beam.
In the Rankings
Nearing the conclusion of the regular season, Arizona has risen one spot from last week with an RQS of 196.090. Consistent with last week, the Wildcats hold the No. 5 spot in the Pac-12 conference behind No. 7 Utah, No. 8 UCLA, No. 10 Oregon State, and No. 11 Stanford.
Holding top twenty spots on every event, the team is currently No. 22 on vault, No. 14 on bars (up three spot from last week), No. 20 on beam (up one spot from last week), and No. 15 on floor.
Individually Cristello is making her mark in the rankings: the senior is currently No. 17 in the all-around and No. 22 on vault.
With the gymnastics competition season past the half-way point, the team and individual rankings have switched from being based on overall score average to a team’s total RQS. But what exactly is an RQS score, and how does it work?
Given that gymnastics is a sport based on judgment, it needs to have a ranking system that can mostly eliminate scoring and performance inconsistencies. Obviously, in a perfect world, all judges would take the same deductions for the same degree of mistakes, etc. – but every judge can’t be at every competition, so deductions aren’t necessarily 100% foolproof. With that same token, in a perfect world a team would never have a bad meet – though everyone has an off day.
Because of this, RQS was born. An RQS score is made up of a team’s top three away scores plus the team’s top three other scores minus the overall top score, and average of the remaining five. This average is supposed to be an overall better indicator of a team’s performance, taking out overly bad performances (in addition to overly good performances) as well as potential judging differentials.
So what is the reason the rankings start out as an average? In the beginning of the season there are not enough scores to factor into the RQS formula. Each team needs to have at least three away meets and a total of six meets under their belt before this type of score can be calculated.
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 206-194-3 after the home season finish against Missouri
What’s Coming Up
The Cats look to make their 27th consecutive post season appearance. Their final RQS after the Pac-12 Championships will determine the location and time that the Cats will be competing in the 2013 NCAA Regional Championships.