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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Gymcats’ hope to shake off jitters at home

    The mixture of hopes, nerves and focus is difficult for most athletes to handle in season openers in any college sport.

    The jitters, however, seemed to cling on a little bit longer this past week for the Arizona gymastics team as it suffered its second straight loss of the season. The Gymcats are still looking for their first win of the year and are hopeful as they return home to McKale Center to take on Oregon State Friday night at 7 p.m.

    In a sport that can be decided by fractions of a point, sometimes a single step can make it or break it.

    During Thursday’s practice at the Mary Roby Gymnastics Training Center, UA head coach Bill Ryden said Gymcats are anxious to move on from the two losses so they can show what they’re really made of.

    “”I really believe skill-wise, and what we’ve seen during the fall,this is a really talented team. One of the most talented we’ve had in a while,”” the head coach said.

    The Gymcats themselves are especially eager for their upcoming meet. A relatively young team, fresh faces await their turn to shine and look to seniors like Bree Workman to help lead the team forward. But Workman is confident in the abilities of her younger colleagues.

    “”As long as we go out there and perform like we do in practice, I’m sure it’ll be a very successful meet,”” Workman said.

    Next to ASU, the Gymcats view OSU as their next biggest rival, and there is no better time for the UA athletes to perform to their full potential.

    “”We hosted (NCAA) Regions here last year, and (OSU) went on to Nationals, instead of us, by like .025 or some ridiculous margin,”” Workman said.

    The meet also offers freshman Deanna Graham the opportunity to make a long-awaited dream come true. Growing up in Tuscon, and admiring the team since she was a child, Graham said competing now, “”is the most fun I’ve ever had. I have a whole herd of people coming to support me.””

    The Tucson local said the familiar surroundings could help calm the team’s nerves heading into the home-opener.

    “”We’ve had some first-competition jitters, but we’re getting better every meet,”” she said. “”It’s not that we don’t have the talent. It’s all there, we just have to get mentally prepared.””

    Once the meet begins, the ladies will put it all on the line as they aim to show their true colors in front of their home crowd. Assistant coach Colleen Johnson said the squad will showcase a lot of new routines with “”an immense amount of potential.””

    Home turf for the UA may yield hope to the aspiring athletes and it could be the missing link to a rough 2009 start.

    “”We haven’t peaked yet,”” Johnson said. “”That’s for sure.””

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