Arizona Gymnastics 2002 Season-In-Review
April 29, 2002
2002 In Review - The University of Arizona women's gymnastics team enjoyed one of its most successful seasons in school history in 2002. With a team composed mainly of underclassmen, Arizona made its 16th consecutive postseason appearance and its first trip to the National Championships since 1996. The Wildcats finished the year with a No. 11 national ranking and an overall record of 19-13.
Wildcat Honors - Arizona gymnasts received numerous individual awards during the 2002 season. Senior Randi Liljenquist earned Second-Team All-America Honors on bars, was named the 2002 South Central Regional Gymnast of the Year, and earned first-team All-Pac-10 honors on floor and in the all-around. Freshman Katie Johnson was named the 2002 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, Pac-10 Gymnast of the Week (Jan. 29), and was a first-team All-Pac-10 selection on floor. Freshman Monica Bisordi was named first-team All-Pac-10 on beam and in the all-around, and sophomore Andi McCabe was named first-team All-Pac-10 on vault. Senior Lindsay Compitello was named to the 2002 Pac-10 Conference All-Academic first team.
Head Coach Bill Ryden - In his fourth season at the helm of the Arizona gymnastics program, head coach Bill Ryden has become one of the most decorated gymnastics coaches in Arizona history. After leading a team which finished 9-22 in 2001, Ryden directed his program to its 16th consecutive postseason berth and its first appearance to the NCAA National Championships in six years. Ryden was named the 2002 South Central Regional Coach of the Year and the 2002 Pac-10 Coach of the Year. He became the first head coach in Arizona history to be named Regional Coach of the Year. Ryden owns a career and school record of 49-64-1 in his four years at the helm of the Arizona program.
Last Time Out - The No. 12 University of Arizona women's gymnastics team finished sixth in the first session of the 2002 National Championships on Thursday, April 18, in front of a crowd of 5,510, in the University of Alabama's Coleman Coliseum. Arizona posted a team total of 194.975, the team's second-highest mark at a National Championship meet. No. 4 Utah placed first in afternoon session with a score of 196.775, No. 3 Georgia placed second (196.650), No. 8 Nebraska finished third (196.575), No. 5 Michigan placed fourth (196.275) and No. 6 Louisiana State finished fifth (195.850).
In her final collegiate meet as a Wildcat, senior Randi Liljenquist earned second-team All-American honors on bars. Liljenquist posted a team-high 9.825 to tie for sixth place in the event. Liljenquist also posted scores of 9.825 on vault, 9.600 on beam, 9.800 on floor and 39.050 in the all-around.
The Wildcats began the meet on beam and scored a 48.475 in the first rotation. Freshman Katie Johnson led the way for Arizona, posting a team high 9.775 in the event. After a second rotation bye, Arizona posted a 48.975 on floor in the third rotation, led by Johnson's team high 9.850, which was good for 11th place in the event.
The Wildcats entered the fourth rotation on vault, posting a 48.825 in the event, led by Liljenquist's mark of 9.825. After a bye in the fifth rotation, the Wildcats scored a 48.700 on bars in the final rotation of the Championships. Arizona, the No. 12 seed in the 2002 National Championships, made its 10th championship appearance in school history.
Changing the Record Books - Arizona posted 20 new top-10 team marks during the 2002 season, including four new school records. Arizona posted a top-10 team mark in each meet during the regular season. On March 23, at the Pac-10 Championships, the Wildcats scored a 197.050, which is the highest total in team history. Arizona also set a new team record on vault, posting a 49.550 to place first at the Pac-10 Championships in the event. Arizona set a team beam record at Utah (49.325) on Jan. 18, and a team floor record (49.575) against Minnesota, Northern Illinois and Washington, on March 14.
Top-10 Cats - In 2002, seven Wildcat gymnasts - Nikki Beyschau, Monica Bisordi, Stevie Fanning, Katie Johnson, Randi Liljenquist, Andi McCabe and Jamie Schell - posted scores that rank among the top-10 individual scores in Arizona history. Senior Randi Liljenquist was the only Wildcat to set and tie an individual record during the 2002 regular season. Liljenquist posted a career-high and team record 10.000 on beam at Arizona State (3/1), becoming the first Wildcat to score a perfect 10.000 on beam in team history. Against the Sun Devils, Liljenquist posted a career-high and school record 39.775 in the all-around. She also tied a career-high and team-record 10.000 on floor against No. 11 Minnesota, Northern Illinois and Washington (3/14). Sophomore Andi McCabe posted a career-best 9.975 on vault twice this season, which now ranks No. 3 on the Arizona all-time top-10 list. Freshman Katie Johnson posted a career-high mark of 9.975 on floor in two meets during 2002, good for third on the all-time top-10 list.
Wildcats in the Rankings - Arizona began the 2002 season ranked No. 17 in the preseason coaches' poll. Arizona was steadily ranked No. 12 for the majority of the season, and was ranked as high as No. 6 during the regular season. Arizona finished the 2002 season ranked No. 11 in the nation, after finishing eleventh at the 2002 National Championships. The Wildcats finished the 2002 regular season ranked No. 1 on vault, No. 11 on beam and No. 12 on floor.
Breaking Streaks - In 2002, Arizona broke two losing streaks against Pac-10 rivals. The Wildcats defeated UCLA for the first time since 1996, 195.175-195.100, in McKale Center on Jan. 11. The Wildcats also posted a victory at Arizona State for the first time in 15 years, at the South Central Regional Championships. Arizona edged the Sun Devils,194.950-194.875, for second place and a National Championship berth.
After finishing seventh in the Pac-10 Conference in 2000 and sixth in 2001, Arizona nearly claimed its first Pac-10 Conference title in 2002. Arizona placed second at the 2002 Pac-10 Conference Championships (197.050), behind Pac-10 Champion UCLA (197.425).
Putting up Points - In 2002, Arizona posted a total of 2737.675 points in 14 meets. Arizona averaged 195.648 points per meet, and owned a final Regional Qualifying score of 196.020. Arizona's team-high score was a school record mark of 197.050, at the Pac-10 Championships (3/23) and the team-low score was a score of 194.650, which was good enough for first place at the Maui Invitational. Of the 2737.725 total team points, 2143.475 (78 percent) of the team's points were scored by gymnasts returning to the team next year. Individually for the Wildcats, senior Randi Liljenquist led the team in scoring, posting 509.275 points during the 2002 season.
Leaders of the Pac - Two Arizona gymnasts claimed Pac-10 individual titles at the 2002 Pac-10 Conference Championships. Senior Randi Liljenquist tied for first-place honors on floor with a score of 9.950. Freshman Stevie Fanning tied for first place on beam with a career-high mark of 9.900. Fanning will look to defend her Pac-10 beam title in 2003.
Home Sweet Home - Arizona enjoyed the advantages of performing in front of a home crowd by posting seven of its 10 regular-season victories in McKale Center. Arizona finished the 2002 season with a 7-1 home record, with its only defeat coming at the hands of Minnesota on March 14 (196.850-196.125).
Attendance - Arizona finished No. 30 in the nation in attendance average, drawing nearly 840 fans per home meet. Arizona's largest crowd during the 2002 season was 1270, against UCLA on Jan. 25.
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