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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Gymcats take on the Pac-10

The Pacific 10 Conference is no laughing matter for the Arizona gymnastics team, which now must compete virtually without mistakes in order to keep pace in its competitive league.

Out of the 10 schools in the Pac-10, seven have gymnastics programs. Of those seven, five are ranked in the nation’s top 25.

The Gymcats are now ranked No. 19, gaining two spots after their meet against Washington last weekend, where they scored a 195.750.

“”You have to show up every weekend or else you will get beat,”” said head coach Bill Ryden. “”We wouldn’t want it any other way, but it definitely keeps you on your toes. Sometimes it would be nice to have a weekend off, so to speak, from a mental stress standpoint, but we don’t get that luxury.””

Pac-10 gymnastics is well-represented nationally. UCLA, Stanford and Oregon State are ranked No. 3, No. 6 and No. 8, respectively.

Having such strenuous competition benefits the young Gymcats, who are able to measure their skills against the stiff conference foes week in and week out.

“”When we are competing we are competing against the best all the time,”” said sophomore Deanna Graham. “”We are always competing against teams that are either just as good as or a lot better than us. I think it just keeps us strong mentally. I think no matter what sport you are in, you always work harder when you have something to always look at.””

Senior Sarah Tomczyk has seen this level of competition for her entire career. She believes that the Pac-10 is one of the toughest conferences to compete in and serves as a measuring stick for the team.

“”I think it makes you aware of how good you are in comparison to the nation,”” she said.

The Pac-10 helps tremendously from a coaching standpoint as well. Ryden believes that being in a demanding conference helps with recruiting and also can move performers along with their development.

“”You immediately know what you need to be to be successful,”” Ryden said. “”It’s not like there is an illusion, when you are competing against the best in the country that’s what you are striving for. You emulate them because beating a weaker team doesn’t really teach you anything.””


Pac-10 vs. SEC

Women’s collegiate gymnastics is dominated by the Pacific 10 and Southeastern Conferences.

The two conferences account for 12 of the top 25 teams in the country as well as 19 of the 28 national championships. In fact, the last 14 national championships have been won by a team in the SEC or Pac-10. The only other school that has won a national championship is the University of Utah, which has won nine titles.

The Pac-10 is currently losing the season series 5-0. Stanford has lost to Georgia, and UA has lost to Arkansas and Alabama.

Bragging rights were on the line last weekend for both conferences as the No. 3 UCLA Bruins took on the No. 5 Georgia Bulldogs, and the

No. 8 Oregon St. Beavers faced the No. 10 LSU Tigers. The Bulldogs edged by the Bruins 197.9-197.875, and the Beavers fell to LSU 195.525-196.925.

This season, once again, the two conferences battle over national supremacy.


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