GymCats Head to L.A. for NCAA Regional Championships

April 7, 2010

This Week:

The No. 21 Wildcats continue their post season appearance, heading to Los Angeles Calif. to compete in the NCAA Regional Championships. The GymCats are currently seeded fourth in the region, behind No. 3 UCLA, No. 9 Arkansas and No. 17 Iowa State. Other teams to compete in the UCLA Regionals include No. 26 Brigham Young University and No. 32 Arizona State.

Arizona has competed against most of these teams throughout the regular season, with the exceptions being Iowa State and BYU.

“We plan to go out there and really pull out all the stops. Everything we have we’re going to throw at them, and hopefully have the best meet possible.” Head Coach Bill Ryden said. “We feel good, I know the coaches are confident, and the team is feeling good and confident. We’ve had a great March, and we are peaking at the right time.”

Arizona is slated to begin the meet on bars, which is a favorable draw for the Wildcats. This rotation enables the Cats to finish the meet on their two strongest events; floor and vault.

“Throughout this season floor and vault have by far been our best events, and it will be nice to finish the meet strong. All of the girls have great attitudes about everything, and are ready to compete.” Ryden said.

Wildcats to watch include senior Sarah Tomczyk, sophomore Deanna Graham, and freshmen Molly Quirk and Aubree Cristello.

Tomczyk was a force to be reckoned with last year at Regionals, winning the floor exercise with a score of 9.9 and was the lone GymCat to compete in the National Championships. Tomczyk was also recently honored as a 2nd team All-Conference for vault and bars. So far this year, Tomczyk has posted career high scores on vault (9.925), bars (9.9), and floor (9.95) and looks to continue her streak this weekend.

Graham has become a “rising star” for the Wildcats, earning 1st team All-Conference Honors in the all-around. This season has been Graham’s first season as an all-around gymnast as a Wildcat, and has posted high scores including a 39.400. Graham has also been a standout vault and floor competitor, earning career high scores of 9.95 (vault) and 9.925 (floor).

Cristello and Quirk have also been incredible assets for the GymCats, with Quirk taking the lead for the team on beam, and Cristello helping the team on floor. Both freshmen have also been honored with 1st team All-Conference All-Around accolades.

Coming off of a strong Pac-10 Championships, the Wildcats should be set up for success in the upcoming post season meet.

Last Week:

Arizona began the post-season in home territory, playing host to the Pac-10 Championships. The Cats earned fourth place overall with a score of 195.875. UCLA won the meet with a score of 197.35, Stanford took second posting a 196.55 and Oregon State placed third with a score of 195.950. Fifth, sixth, and seventh went to Washington (193.825) California (191.475) and Arizona State (190.675) respectively.

Arizona began the meet on vault, earning a team total of 49.050 and placing them in second place after the first rotation. Sophomore Deanna Graham led the team with a score of 9.875 to earn third place in the meet overall.

The Cats then rotated to bars, where they had one of their strongest bar performances of the season. Senior Sarah Tomczyk earned the highest score for the team – a 9.850, and was followed closely by junior Miranda Russell who posted a 9.825. The team hit six for six routines, and earned a total score of 48.975, keeping them in second place upon the conclusion of the second half of the meet.

On beam Arizona earned a solid score of 48.875. Freshman Molly Quirk wowed judges once again to lead the team with a score of 9.800. None of the Wildcats earned a score less than 9.750, including Aubree Cristello, Katie Matusik and Deanna Graham’s scores of 9.775. After the third rotation the Wildcats had slipped to third place.

The team then concluded the meet on the floor, landing all six routines on the event and totaling a score of 48.975. Deanna Graham and Sarah Tomczyk earned twin scores of 9.850, Aubree Cristello earned a score of 9.825, Katie Matusik posted a 9.750, and Molly Quirk and Talyn Curry had matching scores of 9.700. Unfortunately, however, this put the Wildcats 0.075 behind Oregon State who had secured third place.

“I think this meet really showed everyone that we are not afraid to compete. We’ve seen the best this season, and we have the heart to compete against anyone no matter what they are ranked. Post season is like having a new life, so bring it on!” Ryden said.

NCAA Regionals Information:

Regionals were assigned for the top 18 ranked teams based upon RQS score, and places 19-36 were made based upon geographic proximity.

The University of Arizona was selected as the fourth seed to compete at Pauley Pavillion in Los Angeles, Calif. in the UCLA hosted Regional Meet. Those selected for this regional included:

  1. UCLA
  2. Arkansas
  3. Iowa State
  4. Arizona
  5. Brigham Young University
  6. Arizona State

The meet will take place Saturday, April 10 at 6 p.m. local time.

Tickets are available via the UCLA Ticket Office. Arizona has been guranteed a minimum of 50 blocked tickets, as well as 40 general admission seasts elsewhere within the facility. Tickets cost $14 for reserved adults, $10 general admission, $12 reserved students/youth, and $10 student/youth general admission. For more ticket information, contact the UCLA Central Ticket Office.

What’s Coming Up:

The next and final possible meet for the GymCats could be the 2010 NCAA National Championships depending on their performance at Regionals. Nationals will be held on April 22, location and time T.B.A.

2009 Review:

The Wildcats completed the 2009 season with an overall record of 12-12 and were able to make their 23rd consecutive NCAA post-season appearance. Thanks to a pristine floor exercise performance, then Junior Sarah Tomcyzk was able to take it one step further and competed floor at the NCAA National Championships. In addition, three Gymcats earned All-Conference accolades, including freshman Deanna Graham (2nd Team Vault), freshman Rebecca Cardenas (2nd Team Floor), and redshirt junior Sarah Tomczyk (1st Team Floor).

Look Out for New Gymcats:

Arizona bolsters a fairly young team, including four fresh new faces. These include: Aubree Cristello from Glenville, NY, Mykle Douglas from Plano, TX, Ellen Pitluck from Chicago, IL, and Molly Quirk from Glenmont, NY.

Pre-season Rankings:

The Arizona Gymcats head into the season ranked No. 20 in the 2010 Women’s Pre-Season Coaches poll. They are one of only five Pac-10 schools to be rated. The others include No. 4 UCLA, No. 7 Stanford, No 10 Oregon State, and No. 25 Washington. Arizona State was listed as another team receiving votes for consideration.

Stacked Schedule:

Arizona faces an extremely stacked schedule this season, competing against nine schools ranked in the pre-season poll. This includes some tough meets early on, including opening the season against No. 8 Arkansas, then No. 7 Stanford immediately after. The Gymcats must also take on No. 5 UCLA, No. 10 Oregon State, No. 3 Alabama, No. 15 Nebraska, No. 21 West Virginia, No. 22 Minnesota, and No. 25 Washington.

Ryden’s Record:

Head Coach Bill Ryden earned his 150th win last season, totaling his career and school record to become 160-161-3 upon the conclusion of the Pac-10 Championships.


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