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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Fighting back

Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat

The Wildcat gymnastics team took fourth overall at the Pac-10 Championships Saturday in McKale. Deanna Graham was the only Wildcat gymnast to place individually in any event.
Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat The Wildcat gymnastics team took fourth overall at the Pac-10 Championships Saturday in McKale. Deanna Graham was the only Wildcat gymnast to place individually in any event.

Katie Matusik should not have been able to compete at all for the Arizona gymnastics team this year.

She suffered an ankle fracture in December and had to have surgery to place pins in it for a faster recovery. Even with rapid recovery time, she should have been done for the 2010 season.

But she completed her first routine in mid-February in a meet against Alabama, eventually battling her way into the competition rotation and becoming a vital part of the squad by the end of the season.

In practice, there is a small sign of pain in Matusik’s face as she lands from her bar routine. A slight grimace on her face, although it is scarcely detectable.

That slight grimacing is immediately replaced by a smile that has the ability to expunge any memory of an ankle fracture.

“”Her heart is so big, and she wants it so badly, and she is so dedicated to it,”” said head coach Bill Ryden. “”I knew she would keep herself in shape. I had no doubts that, as soon as they released her, she would be able to do something.””

Although Ryden felt confident that Matusik would come back this year, she didn’t share the same sentiments.

“”For the amount of pain that I was in, in the beginning I felt like there was no way I could come back this season,”” Matusik said.

In her two years at Arizona, Matusik has had to deal with injuries that have stunted her growth as a gymnast. During her freshman year, she suffered a shoulder injury, which hampered her until this year.

“”I originally just felt bad for her because she worked so hard to come back from her shoulder,”” Ryden said. “”She is getting ready to come back from that, and she gets hurt again. She hung tough, that’s for sure.””

Matusik is excited for this off-season because it will be the first time she goes into the summer healthy. Due to her shoulder injury during her freshman year, Matusik was not able to expand on her skills and was forced to use routines that she used her freshman year.

“”I am super excited because I am actually healthy,”” Matusik said. “”I get to train all new skills, and I have goals on every single event that I want to accomplish.””

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