Arizona Gymnastics Welcomes Three Top Recruits

Nov. 20, 2001

Tucson, Ariz.- University of Arizona women's gymnastics head coach Bill Ryden announced that two gymnasts have signed National Letters-of-Intent and will join the Arizona gymnastics program for the 2002-03 season. The Wildcats have also added another recruit to this year's roster.

The Wildcats signed Abby Pearson, from Ontario, Canada, and Jessamyn Salter, from Bloomington, Ind., to fill the recruiting class for the 2003 season.

'The recruiting class for 2003 is very strong,' said Ryden. 'Both gymnasts are highly sought after by many other programs and should come in and have an immediate impact here at Arizona.'

Pearson, an international competitor, placed ninth overall at the 2000 Olympic trials and has competed in France, Belgium, England and China. At the 2001 Tour Selection, Pearson placed fifth in the all-around, first on vault, and third on floor. She placed seventh in the all-around at the 2001 China Motor Cup competition.

'Abby (Pearson) is one of the best Canadian gymnasts around,' said Ryden. 'She has made her mark nationally in Canada and will bring a solid international background to our program.'

Jessamyn Salter joins the Wildcats from Bloomington, Ind., where she was a member of Wright's American Gymnastics Club. Salter, a Level 10 competitor, is the 2001 USAG regional floor champion, 2001 Indiana state champion and a 2001 Region 5 all-star team member. She also was the 2000 USAG Junior Olympic silver medallist on floor and the 1999 AAU Junior Olympics all-around champion.

'Jessamyn (Salter) is a national competitor who comes from the strongest gymnastics region in the U.S.,' said Ryden. 'She is a great dancer and all-around gymnast who will help our performance on floor.'

The Wildcats also have added another gymnast for this season's roster. Stevie Fanning, who is currently a senior at Paradise Valley High School in Phoenix, Ariz., will join the Wildcat squad for the 2002 season in January. Although she did not sign a National Letter-of-Intent, Fanning has accepted an offer of guaranteed financial aid from the University of Arizona and will enroll in the spring.

Fanning, a Level 10 competitor, is a three-time Junior Olympic National competitor, a four-year participant at the T.O.P.S. training camp and a three-time state champion in the all-around. Fanning comes to the UA from Arizona Sunrays Gymnastics, the same club that produced current Wildcats Nikki Beyschau and Amanda Goins.

'We are very excited to have Stevie (Fanning) join our program in the spring,' said Ryden. 'Fanning is a great competitor who is expected to step in right away and contribute to an already young, strong team. I feel confident that she will fit in with the team from the very moment she joins our squad.'

The Wildcats are set to begin the 2002 season at the Maui Invitational, on Friday, Jan. 4, when they will take on Michigan, Oklahoma and Sacramento State.


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