Deanna Graham to Compete in National Championships

April 22, 2010

This week:

Sophomore Deanna Graham will be representing the Arizona Women’s Gymnastics team at the 2010 NCAA National Gymnastics Championships. The Championships are being held in Gainesville Fla. Live stats as well as live video feed will be available throughout the competition via the NCAA Official Website.

Graham will be competing in the individual all-around competition, and will be rotating alongside LSU in the first session of competition Thursday, April 22 at 1:00 p.m. local time.

“Deanna looks great, she’s had a great week of training. She’s ready and excited and looks good to go.” Head Coach Bill Ryden said, “From a coaching standpoint I think she looks awesome, at this point we’re just going to stand back and let her go. I think she should have a really successful meet.”

After the first day of competition, the top four placing girls plus ties per session will advance to the individual finals which will be held Saturday evening, April 24.

Last Week:

The Wildcats completed their team post season appearance by placing third in the Los Angeles Regional with a score of 195.100. This score enabled them to finish the season with a winning record of 13-12. The Cats are now ranked No. 19 in the nation.

The first event the Wildcats competed was bars, where they earned a team total of 48.525. Sophomore Deanna Graham started for the Cats, earning a score of 9.700. Following her included Molly Quirk who posted a 9.600, and Aubree Cristello with a 9.675. From there, the team was led by senior Sarah Tomczyk and junior Miranda Russell who earned twin scores of 9.775. After event number one, the Wildcats were in fourth place, following UCLA, Arkansas, and Arizona State.

The GymCats then headed to the beam. Arizona was led by junior Colleen Fisher who posted a score of 9.750. Aubree Cristello and Katie Matusik both scored 9.725 and Deanna Graham and Molly Quirk both posted 9.700’s to total the beam score of 48.600.

The Wildcats turned up the heat on floor, to earn yet another team total of 49.025. Sarah Tomczyk shone for the cats, earning another score of 9.90 to add to her belt as well as tie for second place overall. Molly Quirk was second highest scorer for the team, tying her career high of 9.80. Deanna Graham and Katie Matusik also contributed to the total with scores of 9.75 and 9.775 respectively. Upon the conclusion of floor, Arizona was holding tight to third place behind UCLA and Arkansas.

The GymCats finished on vault with a score of 48.950, securing third place. The Cats were once again led by Deanna Graham, who posted a strong score of 9.875 to tie for sixth place. Aiding Graham was Colleen Fisher tied her season high score of 9.800, as well as Sarah Tomczyk who also earned a 9.800.

“Am I disappointed we aren’t going farther? A little, but there are so many more positives to focus on. Most of our team is underclassmen, one freshman only missed one routine out of 52 attempts, and Deanna came into her own as an all-around gymnast. I am really, really proud of my team. They have developed that killer instinct, and fight to not give up.” Ryden said, “Sure, our season ended two weeks earlier than we would’ve liked but in general placing third in such a talented region is a great way to go out.”

NCAA Nationals Information:

NCAA Nationals are being held from April 22 to April 24 in Gainesville, Fla. The competition schedule includes two sessions of team preliminary competitions on Thursday, team finals on Friday, and individual and event finals on Saturday.

The top teams from each session in the prelims advance to the finals, and the top four competitors from each preliminary session (plus ties) advance to the individual finals on Saturday.

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 163-163-3 upon the conclusion of the NCAA Regional Meet.