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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Gymcats enter final stretch of regular season

    The next two weeks are crucial for the No. 14 Arizona gymnastics team, which hopes to use tonight’s competition against Brigham Young and Southern Utah in Provo, Utah, as a springboard into its conference meet.

    Arizona has two more chances – tonight’s meet and the Pacific 10 Conference Championship on March 31 – to improve its national ranking before it enters NCAA Regionals on April 14.

    Whether a team or individual qualifies for postseason competition is determined by the regional qualifying score (RQS), an average of the team’s top six scores, three of which must come on the road. The highest score among the six is dropped.

    With an RQS of 195.855, Arizona is safely within the top 36 teams that will advance to regionals, but the team’s seed is at stake. Head coach Bill Ryden said he would like to see Arizona’s RQS rise above 196.000.

    “”This is our last opportunity before we get into our tournament portion,”” Ryden said. “”It’s an opportunity for us to do well, both (from) individual standpoints and as a team.””

    The Pac-10 Championships will count the same as any other away meet for the gymnastics team. And as in any gymnastics meet, it’s the score that counts, not whether the team wins or loses.

    Although Arizona took second place to Penn State in a quadrangular meet March 16, the team’s RQS still rose because its meet score of 196.650 was higher than any other this season.

    The Gymcats have posted higher scores in each of their last four meets, and it’s important they continue to produce through the end of the season, said junior Karin Wurm.

    “”Pretty much all the meets are just practice for the postseason,”” said Wurm, who is ranked No. 25 individually with an RQS of 39.190. “”We try to climax at this point in the year, so we’ve obviously been looking forward to this all year.””

    It’s also possible that an individual could qualify to compete at the NCAA Championships on April 26-28 in Salt Lake City, even if the team doesn’t progress beyond regionals.

    Last year, Wurm and then-junior Aubrey Kelly qualified for the national championships in all-around and bars, respectively, as Arizona fell 0.325 points short of qualifying as a team.

    This year Wurm ranks No. 13 nationally on uneven bars with an RQS of 9.890. Arizona’s other top-ranked individuals include junior Danielle Hicks (No. 22 on balance beam, 9.860 RQS), senior Jamie Holton (No. 30 on floor, 9.865 RQS) and freshman Brittney Morgan (No. 40 on vault, 9.855 RQS). Six team members also met or tied career highs in last week’s Senior Day meet.

    Ryden said the last postseason question on his mind is whether Kelly will be able to compete at Pac-10s or regionals.

    Although she has been out of competition with a broken foot since Feb. 12, Kelly has been working out on bars and performed an exhibition routine at Senior Day last week, scoring a 9.175 with deductions due to not performing the dismount, but “”had she done her normal dismount, it would have been a 9.800-plus routine,”” Ryden said.

    Kelly will undergo X-rays Monday to determine whether her foot is healed enough to return to competition.

    Bars has been Arizona’s weakest event this season, and having Kelly back in the lineup would be invaluable to the team, Ryden said.

    “”That would obviously help, and it would be a nice way for her to go out rather than just sitting on the sidelines,”” he said.

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