Gymcats look to build from last week’s win

Michael Fitzpatrick

When the No. 20 Arizona gymnastics team boards a plane today en route to cold and snowy Chicago for a meeting with Illinois-Chicago (1-4) tomorrow, they will be hoping to shake off their road woes.

They just have to get there first.

“”I guarantee we’re gonna get stuck somewhere,”” said senior Karin Wurm, with a hint of dread in her voice. “”It happened last year and I can foresee it happening again.””

For the Gymcats (3-2, 1-2 Pacific 10 Conference) this will be their third attempt to win away from McKale Center this season. Although, if someone were to look in the stands they might think they were in the Old Pueblo, where the sun is shinning and there is absolutely no snow in sight.

“”We’re going to have quite a bit of support,”” said UA head coach Bill Ryden. “”We have a Chicago girl (Sarah Specht) on our team, as well as a Wisconsin girl (Miranda Russell) and a Michigan girl (Bree Workman). (They) will have quite a few people showing up, and the Chicago-based UA alumni group will be attending, so it should be a pretty good crowd.””

Specht, a junior from Naperville, Ill., will have about 20 friends and family in attendance.

“”It’s really going to be exciting,”” she said. “”I won’t be able to go home, but having friends in the stands can really motivate you to do well.””

Russell’s whole high school team is coming down from Wisconsin; Workman is having several family members in attendance – including her dad who just had knee surgery.

In addition, Wurm is also going to have nine supporters coming from her home state of Pennsylvania.

“”My teammates were asking if my dad was still going to be able to come because he’s loud and really supportive,”” Workman said, “”but since a lot of the team isn’t from Arizona, or even the West, it’s always extra motivation when family can attend.””

Despite achieving a season-high score of 194.350 last Friday against California, Ryden said his team left that meet feeling unsatisfied, especially after a poor beam rotation.

“”I honestly believe we left between 1.2 and 1.5 points on the floor (just on the beam), which would’ve been a 196,”” he said. “”We have the potential to be one of the top teams in the country, but it doesn’t matter what your potential is. It means nothing if you don’t show it to the judges.””

Workman added that the team’s main goal is to not only reach the benchmark from last week, but to exceed it.

“”We can all do better,”” she said. “”Our goal is to always improve, and to do that little bit extra.””