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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Upset-minded Gymcats face No. 2 Florida

    Facing tough competition is nothing new for the No. 14 Arizona Gymcats (4-8, 4-2 Pacific 10), as they take on No. 2 Florida (11-2, 3-2 SEC) and Brigham Young (5-5) at 7:30 tonight in McKale Center.

    The Gymcats (4-8, 4-2 Pacific 10 Conference) come off an upset of No. 6 UCLA and, after this weekend, will have faced five of the top eight teams in the country.

    Still, they are not intimidated by harsh competition vaulted in their direction.

    “”It’s not like anything will scare them,”” Arizona head coach Bill Ryden said. “”It’s not like they don’t know what’s out there. It will just be another test.””

    Ryden said his team needs to put together a consistent effort at every meet, despite who the competition may be.

    “”We’re not going to be all that concerned with who else is on the floor with us because we still have some improvement to do,”” he said.

    In the eyes of junior Aubrey Taylor, the Gymcats have proven they can hang with the best teams in the country.

    “”We definitely proved to ourselves last weekend that we are capable of beating a top-six team in the country,”” Taylor said. “”We are all just so close in skill level as soon as you get up to the top-20 that anything is possible.””

    Taylor, who will be trying a new vault with the highest possible start value (10.0), said she would like to see the team score at least a 196.000.

    “”We are working towards that,”” she said. “”We are just creating a little excitement.””

    The Gators (11-2) come into the competition well-rested after taking a weekend off, and Ryden said he knows they will be looking to run up the score.

    “”They’re good,”” he said. “”I think we can certainly keep up with them gymnasticswise, but they are very deep and very talented. They have the potential to put down six great routines on every event.””

    Former All-American and Arizona assistant coach Colleen Johnson may be familiar with the Gators, as she competed for Florida from 1992 to 1995.

    The burden of making sure the Wildcats come out on top falls on Taylor and sophomores Danielle Hicks and Karin Wurm, who compete in the all-around and account for half of the team’s routines.

    “”There’s a lot of weight on their shoulders because the cavalry ain’t coming to save them,”” Ryden said, referring to his team’s lack of depth.

    Hicks disagreed, saying she sees the entire team as motivation for each other.

    “”Everyone is a huge contributor, even people who don’t compete,”” she said.

    Hicks, whose mother is flying to town to watch her compete this weekend, fell during her floor routine against UCLA but was able to overcome it and help support the team on its way to the victory.

    “”No matter how you do, it’s still fun, it’s still enjoyable, it’s just part of the game,”” she said. “”You fall, it’s not a big deal. You get up and the next person goes and hits. It just makes you that much happier.””

    Ryden said he thinks that having BYU (5-5) at the triangular meet might help his team.

    “”The big meets allow us to focus more on ourselves,”” he said. “”When all these things are going on, you can’t really watch it all.””

    Holton wins conference honors

    Junior Jamie Holton earned Pac-10 Gymnast of the Week honors for last week’s performance against the Bruins, in which she set a career high in the balance beam with a score of 9.825 and tied her career high in floor exercise with a 9.800.

    “”It was definitely the best meet I have ever had here,”” Holton said after the meet.

    She became the second Wildcat gymnast to win the award this season, joining Taylor in the category

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