The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

69° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Young team ends season with optimism for future

    Junior gymnast Aubrey Taylor releases the uneven bars during her one-touch warm-up before the competition against Denver, Southeast Missouri and Cal-State Fullerton March 10 in McKale Center. The Gymcats have already started training for next year.
    Junior gymnast Aubrey Taylor releases the uneven bars during her one-touch warm-up before the competition against Denver, Southeast Missouri and Cal-State Fullerton March 10 in McKale Center. The Gymcats have already started training for next year.

    2006 gymcats season recap

    Their season started in Cancun, Mexico, finished in Corvallis, Ore., and will continue in Tucson all summer until next year.

    The No. 13 Arizona gymnastics team (10-9, 4-3 Pacific 10 Conference) might not be competing, but the gymnasts certainly don’t know the meaning of the word “”offseason.””

    Yesterday the McKale Center court was empty of basketball players and nets, and the football team had its last scrimmage of the spring on Saturday, but at the Mary Roby Gymnastics Center, a passer-by would have thought there was a competition on Friday.

    Arizona head coach Bill Ryden said he had to beg the women to take just one week off after the team’s third-place finish in the NCAA Regionals on April 8. The Gymcats finished just .325 points away from advancing to the NCAA Championships with a 195.400, the highest score of any team in the country not to advance.

    The Gymcats shocked many people this year with how well they competed, including their head coach.

    “”In October if someone told me, ‘Here’s 13th in the country, that’s where you’ll finish,’ I would have taken it,”” Ryden said. “”But as a coach, I’m selfish. If you don’t win it, you want more.

    “”We finished ranked 13th, and we had a really good year all around. It really makes me happy how we did this year.””

    With six competing freshmen on the team, Ryden wasn’t certain about a lot of things when the season started, but he did know that sophomores Karin Wurm and Danielle Hicks and junior Aubrey Taylor had to headline the team.

    “”Aubrey and Karin had phenomenal years, and Danielle too,”” Ryden said. “”We knew that if one of them went down with an injury, we were going to be hurting. There was no cavalry coming.””

    Their freshman class of Briana ‘Beamer’ Bergeson, Alexis Greene, Erica Anderson and Bree Workman was impressive all season long, even after Sarah Parsons was lost halfway through the season to injury. Ryden didn’t know if they would compete as well as they did this year, but he hoped so.

    “”Well I wasn’t sure if they would (step up), but I knew they had to,”” he said. “”They really had to live up to everything. They had a lot of learning to do.””

    Taylor and Wurm qualified as individuals for the NCAA Championships, Taylor on the uneven parallel bars and Wurm in the all-around competition. They come into this summer with the experience of knowing what it takes to make the championships and how to compete there. Wurm’s scores were high enough to earn her a place in the top 25 in all four events, while Taylor tied for 17th.

    “”We did really well this year,”” said senior Erin Muirhead. “”This was one of the youngest teams I’ve been on; last year we had six seniors. Everyone thought this would be a rebuilding year, but we did really well.””

    As the lone senior and only captain of this young Arizona team, Muirhead had her hands full this season.

    “”When you’re the only senior and captain on a team with seven freshmen, your life instantly becomes hell,”” Ryden said. “”Erin served as the transition from previous Arizona teams and led this young Arizona squad.””

    Said Muirhead: “”We really came together as a team. I may have been the only senior on the team, but I wasn’t the only leader. Other girls on the team had leadership roles.””

    Without her senior leadership, it will be up to Wurm, Hicks, Taylor and junior Jamie Holton to lead Arizona next year as the Gymcats set their sights on the championships once again.

    “”That’s our goal next year. We know we’re good enough.”” Wurm said. “”With our freshman class of seven coming back as sophomores and being that much stronger, we’re definitely motivated. I know we can do it.””

    The Gymcats will continue to rehabilitate and get healthy all summer, after the grind of the gymnastics season left several Arizona players with injuries. Ryden ran out of fingers when he and Holton counted off the number of injuries and surgeries the team will be |considering over the summer.

    Freshmen Sarah Specht and Sarah Parsons will both have surgery this summer, freshman Alexis Greene is still evaluating her injured ankle, Holton has a decision coming up on whether or not to go under the knife, and the list goes on.

    None of that will stop the Gymcats because, as Arizona assistant coach John Court said yesterday while the gymnasts twirled, flipped and launched themselves around him, “”They’ve had a week off. Gymnastics is a year-round sport.””

    More to Discover
    Activate Search