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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Weary Wildcats welcome homestand against UCLA

    If you walked into practice this week, you would notice the tired eyes and travel-weary bodies of the No. 14 Arizona gymnastics team.

    “”I am really excited to be home for a month,”” said sophomore Danielle Hicks in reference to the next three competitions in McKale Center, including tonight’s 7:30 matchup against No. 6 UCLA.

    “”(Traveling is) tiring. It takes a lot out of you,”” Hicks added. “”Plus you have so much homework to catch up on.””

    The Wildcats (3-8, 3-3 Pacific-10 Conference) will have little time to rest with the Bruins (13-2, 5-0) coming off their highest score of the season, 196.675, from a victory in a four-team tournament in Los Angeles last weekend.

    Arizona head coach Bill Ryden said he knows that UCLA will bring a powerful punch to the desert, as the Bruins have won the national championship four of the past six years.

    “”I expect them to be good,”” he said. “”On paper, they are amazing. They’ve got people with Olympic credentials.””

    Ryden said he hopes that the team can put together an energy-filled performance.

    “”A lackluster effort is just gonna kill us at this point,”” he said.

    Hicks said she sees the team stepping up to the challenge.

    “”I feel really confident about this weekend,”” she said. “”We were really close to them at one point this year, so obviously we are just as good as they are.””

    Junior Jamie Holton said that the Gymcats just have to keep pushing their bodies and reminding themselves that these last few weeks are all they’ve got, despite the nagging injuries that some of them have endured throughout the course of the season.

    “”We know we are halfway through the season, and we only have two months left,”” she said. “”We know we have the whole offseason to heal up.””

    Hicks said that going on and competing with the aches and pains is just instinct kicking in.

    “”You just do it,”” she said. “”It’s part of your job.””

    Ryden said that he must perform a balancing act at this time of the season to keep the women mentally sane while also making sure their bodies do not give out.

    “”Our sport is so dangerous that with nagging injuries it becomes more dangerous,”” he said. “”That can add sort of a mental burden.””

    All-star Gymcats

    With the conclusion of the National Basketball Association’s All-Star weekend, Ryden weighed in on which of the Wildcats would take home the crown in several events, if gymnastics also had an all-star break:

    3-point contest (Most Clutch Player) – Hicks, sophomore Karin Wurm and junior Aubrey Taylor.

    “”Those girls do half the routine every week without a break,”” Ryden said. “”The success goes through those three.””

    Dunk contest (Most Entertaining) – freshman Alexis Greene

    “”She has that dynamic explosion to her,”” Ryden said.

    Skills competition (Most Skillful) – Taylor

    “”She’s a very technically perfect gymnast,”” he said.

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