Arizona Gymnastics Signs Two Top International Recruits

Nov. 20, 2002

Tucson, Ariz. (Nov. 20) - The University of Arizona women's gymnastics head coach Bill Ryden announced Wednesday that two international gymnasts have inked National Letters-of-Intent and will join the Arizona gymnastics team for the 2003-04 season.

The Wildcats signed Aubrey Taylor of Burlington, Ontario, Canada, and Danyra Varela of Phoenix, Ariz., to fill the recruiting class for 2004.

'We got our top two choices for our 2004 recruiting class,' Ryden said. 'We signed two very good all-around gymnasts who will significantly increase the talent level in our gym.'

Aubrey Taylor, will join the Wildcats from Burlington, Ontario, Canada, where she is a member of Gymnastics Mississauga under coaches Alex Bard and Svetlana Degteva. Taylor, an international competitor, was a three-year member of the Canadian National team, and has competed in France, Ukraine, and Canada. At the 2002 Ontario Tour Selection, Taylor placed third in the all-around, first on beam, third on vault and fifth on floor and bars. She also finished seventh in the all-around, eighth on vault and fourth on bars at the 2002 Canadian National Championships.

'I chose Arizona because I love the people involved with the Arizona program,' Taylor said. 'I'm definitely excited about joining the team, I've never been more excited. It's the next step in my gymnastics career and I can't wait.'

Danyra Varela, from Phoenix, is a member of Arizona Sunrays under coach David McCreary. Varela, was an international competitor for the Mexican National team. In 2000, Varela qualified for the Junior Pan-Am Games in Mexico City, and finished second in the all-around at the Mexican National Olympiad. Varela has also qualified for the Junior Olympic National Championships four years in a row (1999-2002).

'I'm very excited to join the team,' Varela said. 'I really like the workouts the gymnasts have and I have been to their competitions and I really liked how the team supports each other.'

'These gymnasts were recruited to make an immediate impact as soon they step into the gym,' Ryden said. 'These two gymnasts aren't projects. They are proven athletes who should help us right away.'

Arizona opens the 2003 season on Saturday, Jan. 11, in Minneapolis, Minn., against the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

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