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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Gymcats shooting for Nationals

    Gymcats shooting for Nationals

    Arizona assistant gymnastics coach Colleen Johnson presented the members of the team with navy blue T-shirts as inspiration on Wednesday. On the back it read, “”If not us, who, and if not now, when?””

    The slogan is a perfect in every way, as the 2008 edition of the No. 14 Gymcats attempt to qualify for nationals from the North Central Regional in Minneapolis tomorrow.

    The Gymcats know they have no excuses for failure as they have drawn the most favorable rotation, and most importantly, none of the top seeds have a home-field advantage.

    “”Being on a neutral playing field is the best situation to be in because there will be no home scoring,”” said UA senior Danielle Hicks. “”Everyone will be coming on the same playing field and … we will know that when we make it, it will be because of fair judging.””

    In addition, the Gymcats drew the Olympic rotation, meaning they will begin the night on vault. Then they’ll have a bye, then bars, beam, and another bye before finishing on floor.

    “”Getting the Olympic rotation is so important,”” UA head coach Bill Ryden said. “”There really are no excuses for us. We just need to stay in the moment, stick our landings and let the scores fall.””

    For the four seniors on the team, this will be their last chance to reach nationals and to erase the bitter memory of last season, when two out-of-bounds penalties -one by then-sophomore Bree Workman and the other by the now-graduated Jamie Holton – on the floor caused the Gymcats to place third behind Oregon State in McKale Center by 1/20th of a point.

    “”We keep reminding ourselves how close we were (last year) and how horrible it felt to be so close, but we are definitely hungrier than ever,”” Hicks said. “”I would love to make it. I know that (senior) Karin (Wurm) has made it individually, and going as a team is just gonna bring (us) that much closer together and hopefully keep everyone motivated for next year.””

    Workman, now a junior, knows better than anyone the heartache of finishing 13th and wants nothing more than finally advancing past regionals.

    “”I can’t really describe to you how much drive we have to do well this year because we came so close last year,”” she said. “”It was in our hands, we fought tooth and nail and it wasn’t good enough.

    “”So this year the emphasis is on the little things,”” she added. “”Because now it’s crunch time and you have to focus on every little aspect of every routine. It’s gymnastics, anything can happen and I think we have everything in our favor to be successful this weekend.””

    In addition, the team has conquered the much adversity they have faced, from beginning the season training in a club gym to overcoming several career-threatening injuries to key gymnasts. After all it’s been through, the team feels it is deserving of a spot in the final 12, if not a major motion feature.

    “”Because of all we’ve overcome, it would be so huge (to make nationals),”” Workman said. “”It would be like the movie ‘Rudy,’ with the whole underdog and to being able to overcome all sorts of obstacles. We’ve been through blood, sweat, tears, happy times and sad times together this year. We are so close to the seniors, we really want to do it for them to give them one more meet in there careers, that would be the best gift we could ever really give them.””

    The Gymcats know what it’s like to finish 13th – they’ve done it two years running – and they are aware what they have to do to finish at least 12th.

    “”We need to keep within ourselves and compete really like it’s our meet to win or lose,”” Wurm said. “”If everyone hits and does what they need to do, we’ll be OK.””

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