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GymCats Open 2022 Season at Southern Utah

Jan 13, 2022

TUCSON, Ariz. — The Arizona GymCats are set to take on No. 18 Southern Utah this Friday in Cedar City, Utah. The meet is scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m. MST and will be live streamed on ESPN+.

Friday's meet is Arizona's season opener following the cancellation of the Collegiate Challenge last weekend. 

This will be the first collegiate gymnastics meet for freshmen Alysen Fears, Elizabeth LaRusso, and Emily Mueller. Transfer Lara Burhans will also experience in her first meet as a GymCat. 

A complete preview of Friday's meet can be found below.

Arizona Tentative Lineups

Vault Uneven Bars Balance Beam Floor Exercise
Emily Mueller Emily Mueller Avery Stauffacher Libby Orman
Alysen Fears MacKinzie Kane Lara Burhans Danielle Nosek
Jessica Castles Malia Hargrove Alysen Fears Jessica Castles
Caroline Herry Elena Deets Malia Hargrove Emily Mueller
Danielle Nosek Bailey McCabe Jessica Castles Caroline Herry
Malia Hargrove Alysen Fears Sirena Linton Malia Hargrove

TAKE TWO: Following the cancellation of the Collegiate Challenge last weekend, the GymCats are set to face Southern Utah on Friday night in their new season opener. All-time, Arizona is 5-1 against the Thunderbirds.  

COLLEGIATE CHALLENGE: Arizona was scheduled to to kick off the 2022 season at the Collegiate Challenge hosted by Olympic Gold Medalist Amanda Borden. Due to COVID issues in other competing programs, the Collegiate Challenge was canceled. 

FRESH FACES: The GymCats welcomed four newcomers to the team this season. Alysen Fears, Elizabeth LaRusso, and Emily Mueller are all freshmen. Lara Burhans transferred to the program from Utah State.

FAMILIAR FACES: Arizona returns 13 gymnasts from last season. MacKinzie Kane enters her senior year and helped the GymCats finish the 2021 season ranked No. 35 on the uneven bars. Six juniors and seven sophomores will return for the Cats. Malia Hargrove enters her junior season following her individual appearance on floor at the NCAA Championships.

G-PAC: Malia Hargrove and Sirena Linton will represent Arizona in the student-athlete driven organzation "Gymnasts for Peace, Action, and Change." G-PAC's mission is to foster diversity and inclusion. Linton was a member of G-PAC during the 2021 season. 

COACHING STAFF: The GymCats have a very accomplished coaching staff. John Court enters his fourth year as head coach and 24th year on staff in Tucson. Taylor Spears, the 2014 NCAA individual beam champion, is in her fourth season as assistant coach and has helped the beam team improve every year. Peter Jansson enters his second season as an assistant with the GymCats, bringing his nearly 30 years of coaching experience. 

PRESEASON POLLS: Arizona was picked to finish sixth in the preseason Pac-12 coaches poll. In the WGCA preseason poll, the GymCats were picked to finish 27th.