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GymCats Take On West Virginia in Round One of Norman Regional

Mar 28, 2022

TUCSON, Ariz. — The GymCats are set to compete against West Virginia in round one of the NCAA Norman Regional. The first round play-in meet is scheduled for 1 p.m. MST on Wednesday, March 30 and Arizona will start on the uneven bars. 

"Our goal at Regionals is to hit 24 out of 24 routines like we did at Pac-12 Championships," said head coach John Court. "Our goal is the same Wednesday night as it will be through the whole weekend. I'm excited to see what this team brings to Norman and compete in Regionals."

At Pac-12 Championships, the GymCats posted their third-best score of the season with a 196.375. Malia Hargrove placed first in Session 1 and fourth overall in the all-around with a career high 39.475, and sixth on vault and bars. Sirena Linton placed fifth overall on beam and Alysen Fears finished sixth on bars.  

"I want my team to have the best meet of our season and make it through to the next round," said Hargrove. "If we do the best we can do and hit all of our routines, we can make it through to the second round and keep moving on from there." 

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

NCAA NORMAN REGIONAL: Arizona will face West Virginia in the first round play-in meet of the NCAA Norman Regional on Wednesday at 1 p.m. The winner of the first round will move on to face No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 16 Arizona State, and Arkansas in the second round on Thursday, March 31.

PAC-12 CHAMPIONSHIPS: The GymCats finished third in Session 1 of the Pac-12 Championships, and seventh overall, with a final score of 196.375. Malia Hargrove took home first place in the Session 1 all-around and fourth place overall and three GymCats posted career high scores.   

IN THE RANKINGS: Overall, Arizona is ranked No. 32 heading into the final week of competition. 

  • Vault: No. 45
  • Uneven Bars: No. 33
  • Balance Beam: No. 25
  • Floor Exercise: No. 27

COACHES CHOICE: Sophomore Elena Deets earned her first Pac-12 weekly honor with the Coaches Choice award following her standout performances on bars, beam, and floor against Utah. 

Freshmen Alysen Fears and Emily Mueller have made huge impacts in the lineups for the GymCats. Fears holds season highs 9.80 on vault, 9.85 on beam, 9.90 bars and floor, and 39.350 in the all-around. Mueller has hit every routine so far this season and holds season highs of 9.850 on vault and 9.825 on bars, 9.90 on beam and floor, and 39.350 in the all-around. 

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.