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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Gymcats ‘Flipping for the Fight’ vs. Stanford

    UA gymnast Deanna Graham performs her routine on the balance beam during a loss to Oregon State on Jan. 23 in McKale Center. The Gymcats host No. 4 Stanford tonight at 7 for their promotion Flipping for the Fight to raise awareness for breast cancer.
    UA gymnast Deanna Graham performs her routine on the balance beam during a loss to Oregon State on Jan. 23 in McKale Center. The Gymcats host No. 4 Stanford tonight at 7 for their promotion “”Flipping for the Fight”” to raise awareness for breast cancer.

    The No. 24 Arizona women’s gymnastics team will host its second consecutive meet in McKale Center against No. 4 Stanford tonight. The women will be wearing pink as part of their annual “”Flipping for the Fight”” promotion, designed to raise Breast Cancer awareness. The event kicks off at 7 p.m. and in hopes of drawing large crowds, anyone who wears pink will receive $1 off admission.

    The Gymcats may have lost to Oregon State last week, but in posting this season’s highest scores the ladies actually moved up three spots in the rankings. That being said, the Gymcats appear to be heading into the meet against Stanford with a bit more confidence.

    Stanford seems to be a formidable opponent, coming into Wildcat territory with an undefeated record for the 2009 season.

    “”Everyone is mortal,”” UA head coach Bill Ryden said of the Cardinals. “”We’re not intimidated or afraid of them in any way.””

    During the Gymcats pre-meet practice on Thursday, Ryden explained that every meet is a competition against the whole nation and not just the immediate opponent.

    “”We compete against everybody every week. It doesn’t really matter to us who’s on the other side of the gym,”” he said. “”We just want to put up a score that competes nationally.””

    Coming off of last week’s performance, the ladies feel they can do just that.

    Many members of the Gymcats put up career highs against the Beavers and hope to match or better those scores tonight. Ryden feels confident in the routines of Rebecca Cardenas, Katie Matusik, and Colleen Fisher in particular.

    “”When Cardenas is on, her gymnastics is virtually flawless”” Ryden said.

    Fisher notably broke the 39-point barrier last week in her All-Around performance and has consistently put up the Arizona’s highest scores. As one of the Gymcats’ anchors, her routines could be a key factor tonight, Ryden added.

    With the unfortunate loss of junior Miranda Russell – who will be out for the season, although Ryden couldn’t elaborate on the extent of her injury due to NCAA regulations – Fisher admits that the pressure is on to bring in big points in the All-Around.

    “”You feel like you contribute a lot more in the All-Around and that you are really helping the team,”” said Fisher. “”I really feel like we can put up a good fight against Stanford and we definitely have the ability to have a good competition even though they are, like, top of the nation.””

    Assistant Coach Colleen Johnson also weighed in on the loss of Russell, saying, “”We have a really strong team and sometimes (injuries) are the types of things that push people that are maybe in that seventh spot in the lineup to fill in those shoes.

    “”We have the determination and enough depth to fill in that hole,”” Johnson said. “”She will definitely be missed though.””

    Even with the loss of Russell, Ryden is still confident that the remaining athletes are more than capable of putting up an even bigger score than last weekend’s season high.

    “”A score of 197, is not out of the question for this team,”” Ryden said.

    The Gymcats have been known for performing some of the most difficult routines out there, and Ryden assures that tonight will be no different.

    All that is left is execution.

    The ladies have not lost their drive despite the first three losses, that’s for sure.

    “”We’re having fun””, assistant coach John Court said with a smile, “”and happy gymnasts are good gymnasts.””

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