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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Gymcats thrill home crowd

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.

The Arizona gymnastics team quieted all doubters with its performance during the Pacific 10 Conference Championships, gaining momentum for the NCAA Regional competition on the horizon.

The No.23 Gymcats’ score of 195.900 was enough to earn them fourth place at the competitive conference. They were unable to catch No. 3 UCLA, No. 6 Stanford and No. 7 Oregon State, all of which had dominant performances.

“”We keep growing, and we keep getting better,”” said head coach Bill Ryden. “”It shows that we can compete with teams that are ranked very highly. We are not afraid of teams ranked very highly.

“”Now we are going to the postseason and it’s new life, so it’s like, bring it on.””

Through two events, the Gymcats had second place secured, but it slipped away with convincing performances from Stanford and Oregon State down the stretch.

Coming out strong in the vault, the Gymcats’ first event of the night after they spent the first rotation on their bye, they earned a 49.050. It was a solid beginning to reach their goal all season: hit 49 on all of their events.

Another goal the Gymcats were able to accomplish was to go 24-for-24 on their routines.

Ryden was proud of his team for their accomplishment and was in high spirits with the total team score.

“”When it’s a four-judge panel … you have nowhere to hide,”” Ryden said. “”They don’t miss anything. For us to be able to get that close to a 196, we are a legitimate threat in the postseason.””

Senior Sarah Tomczyk led the Gymcats throughout the meet. Having been a pillar of consistency throughout the entire season, Tomczyk earned a 9.850 in vault, uneven bars and the floor event.

The arena erupted in applause as Tomczyk took the floor for her last event in McKale Center. After her routine she got a much-deserved standing ovation from all the Gymcat fans in attendance.

“”I didn’t hear them chant my name in the beginning, because I was in the zone,”” Tomczyk said. “”It was cool that they were standing for me. It was a great way to end McKale.””

Sophomore Deanna Graham put up a spectacular performance on vault, earning a 9.875 which was good enough for third place in the event. Graham was the lone Gymcat to place in an event Saturday.

Along with the strong performances, the Gymcats also relished the opportunity to host the Pac-10 Championships.

“”It was really awesome just to hear every chant and stuff. We have never had that before,”” Graham said. “”After your routine and after you salute, you look up and see everyone cheering. It’s something really amazing, something I have never witnessed here before.””

Freshman cool

For four freshmen, Saturday was their first Pac-10 Conference Championships. But they came out like battle-tested veterans.

“”It was really exciting, it was a lot of fun,”” said freshman Aubree Cristello. “”It was really good that we all hit 24-for-24. It was a really good experience.””

Cristello, along with fellow freshman Molly Quirk, competed in the all-around, not an easy task for anyone.

“”I really want to do (well) for my teammates,”” Cristello said. “”We have worked so hard in the gym that I didn’t want to hold back at all.””

Perfect 10

UCLA’s Anna Li recorded a perfect 10 for her uneven parallel bars routine.

It is only the seventh time since 1987 that a perfect score was recorded for a bars routine during a Pac-10 Conference Championship. 

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