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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Gymcats ready for regionals

There is a whiteboard in the gymnastics practice facility that reads: “”One more practice give it all you got and then a little more!””

The Arizona gymnastics team will begin its regional meet Saturday night at 7 in Los Angeles at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion.

The Gymcats have had two weeks to prepare for this meet with a bye week last week. The team has used that time to work on the details of its routines and to relax.

“”We had some really good days of practice,”” head coach Bill Ryden said. “”I think it was nice to have a weekend off. The girls did a swimming condition on Saturday, but other than that, they had off to relax.””

The Gymcats’ practice on Tuesday addressed the performance aspects of their routines. On Wednesday, for the last practice in Tucson before the team flies out to California, the Gymcats did their full routines.

“”It’s a great team atmosphere,”” sophomore Britnie Jones said of practice. “”We are really supporting each other and just trying to do the best we can.””

Arizona is working on a few changes heading into regionals in hopes of elevating their performance. Ryden discussed that freshman Mykle Douglas might jump back into the floor lineup. Douglas was taken out earlier this year because her routine was too simple and worth too few points.

“”We are at the point where — what do we have to lose?”” said assistant coach Colleen Johnson. “”We wouldn’t put in any upgrades that we would think would be a miss, but we are more willing to take that risk now.””

The entire team seemed upbeat throughout practice. The Gymcats were constantly supporting each other and trying to help each other improve.

“”I feel really good about where the team is at emotionally as well as physically,”” Ryden said. “”We are all ready. We would leave today if we could. This team is as ready as we have been in a long time, even with all the injuries.””

Sizing up the competition

Arizona will have some tough competition heading into the regionals.

Their bracket includes: UCLA, ASU, Arkansas, BYU and Iowa State. The Gymcats have already competed against UCLA, ASU and Arkansas this season, and lost to both UCLA and Arkansas.

Currently, three of the teams in Arizona’s bracket are ranked higher than the Gymcats. UCLA, Arkansas and Iowa State are ranked 3rd, 9th and 17th, respectively. Arizona is currently ranked 21st nationally.

The Gymcats is trying not to let the rankings get to them, and instead, they hope to focus on themselves and what they can control.

“”(The team is) certainly capable,”” Ryden said. “”The Pac-10’s certainly proved to a point that we can compete. The ranking doesn’t matter, if we believe in each other and if we believe in the performance we will take whatever comes.””

“”It’s kind of like the basketball tournament; no one gave Butler a shot, but once you get in there, it doesn’t really matter,”” Ryden added.

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