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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona gymnastics to compete at NCAA Regionals

The Arizona gymnastics team will head to Athens, Georgia, to compete in its 30th consecutive postseason NCAA regional competition on Saturday, April 2.

“There’s a strong foundation that’s been built here by coach [Jim] Gault and coach [Bill] Ryden,” Arizona head coach Tabitha Yim said. “To continue that tradition of going into the postseason is a testament to the hard work that they have put in. We always want to challenge that the top two teams make it to the National Championships. That’s our ultimate goal.”

The Wildcats are currently ranked No. 22 in the country and will face top-notch competition in the upcoming regionals.

Joining the GymCats will be No. 3 LSU, No. 10 Georgia, No. 15 Oregon State, George Washington and Michigan State. Ashleigh Gnat of the LSU Tigers is ranked No. 1 nationally on both vault and floor competition, while the Georgia Bulldogs have won 14 of their past 18 regional competitions.

“I think this meet is just a celebration of all the hard work we put in this whole year,” Yim said. “Somebody asked me what’s different about postseason and I think it’s that level of excitement. There’s a lot more teams on the floor. It’s all about looking back on how much you committed and the passion. … All that comes together in the postseason.”

Only the top-two teams in each of the six regionals will advance to the NCAA Championships, a feat the UA has not accomplished since 2002.

Arizona faced two of those opponents already this season, including Michigan State and formidable Pac-12 opponent Oregon State.

The Wildcats recently competed in the Pac-12 Championships, finishing in sixth place overall ahead of Washington and ASU.

“It was exciting because I was so proud of how they responded to adversity,” Yim said. “I mean, when the very first kid in the meet goes down—and Kennady [Schneider] has been such a rock for our team and has had our back so many times this season—for the bars team to step up and have her back in that moment and not only hitting their routines, but having big hit routines, some of them even season highs, it’s a testament to the belief that they have within each other.”

Something unique about Yim is that she has been here many times before both as a gymnast and as an assistant coach at Stanford.

“Our message has been iron out the details and put in every single thing you’ve got in practices the next two weeks and put it all out on the floor,” Yim said.

Despite facing some of the best gymnasts and masterminds in the country, Yim isn’t willing to back down.

“Our goal has always been to peak at the end of the year,” she said. “If you watch March Madness, those rankings don’t really mean anything. It’s who is going to be the best team, who is going to put it out on the floor that day. That’s what we’ve been preparing for the entire year and I think we have as great a shot as anybody. There are amazing teams out on the floor, but I’m proud to say that I think we are one of those amazing teams.”

Win or lose in Athens, the Wildcats have proved they are back on track and hungry to step up against fierce competition.

“When you watch the coverage of the meet, we look like the team who won the meet because the girls are so engaged in what we are doing,” Yim said about the Pac-12 Championships. “They are so invested in the journey, in each other, in this family and what we are trying to do. When I look at them in those moments, I’m so proud to be a part of this family. We are all very cohesive and all on board. They are great ambassadors for the sport and I’m very proud of that.”

The Wildcats will compete at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 2.


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