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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


GymCat seniors prepare to close out Arizona careers


Arizona senior gymnasts Krysten Howard (left), Gabrielle Laub (middle) and Selynna Felix-Terrazas (right). 

Arizona women’s gymnastics moved up to No. 23 in the NCAA rankings after last week’s victory against No. 4 UCLA. This weekend, the GymCats are back in McKale Center for their last home meet of the season, where they will take on rival ASU Sun Devils.

It’s senior night for GymCats Krysten Howard, Selynna Felix-Terrazas and Gabrielle Laub, as they will be honored at their final competition in McKale Center.

From competing in one event to three, Howard has always been dedicated and committed to gymnastics at the UA. She has competed in every meet since arriving in Tucson four years ago.

Howard was homeschooled through high school, so attending UA is an experience that she will never forget.

“Being a student athlete in general has been the most rewarding and most challenging thing that I could’ve ever done in my college experience,” Howard said. “I wouldn’t have changed any part of it for the entire world.”

Howard had a good start to her freshman year as she competed on the uneven bars in every meet of the season, earning her then-career high of 9.875. During her sophomore year, Howard starting competing on the floor and beams on top of her uneven bar routine. She continued to prove her versatility, scoring career highs of 9.800 in both events during the season.

Going into her junior and senior years, Howard was named captain and took on a bigger role. Howard learned from her former senior captains on how to motivate and instill confidence in the younger GymCats.

“To come in as a one event specialist and then to leave as a leader on all three events is just a testament to her dedication, her commitment, her hard work and also her passion for the sport,” said Arizona head coach Tabitha Yim. “She has been a captain for two years and she has stepped into that role and keeps inspiring her teammates.”

Howard’s favorite event to practice is the uneven bars, but her passion is on the floor.

“There is just nothing like being out there and being able to express who you are and getting to express that in such a beautiful place like McKale,” Howard said. “It is something that I will remember and treasure forever.”

Howard has reached new heights as a senior, setting new career highs on beam with 9.925, bars with a 9.875 and floor with a 9.900.

After graduating with a degree in physiology and a minor in psychology, Howard plans on attending physical therapy school and hopes to one day become a physical therapist.

There was no doubt in Felix-Terrazas’ mind that she was destined to become a Wildcat. Felix-Terrazas was born in Mexico, but moved to Tucson shortly after and has lived here her whole life. She attended meets in McKale Center for years and dreamed of competing herself.

Now a senior, Felix-Terrazas has had the opportunity to become a part of the GymCats family. Over her four years at UA, Felix-Terrazas focused on family to help her gain strength to be the best she can be.

“Throughout the four years, I think I have grown a lot—not physically but mostly emotionally and mentally,” Felix-Terrazas said. “I’ve always known the capabilities that had to put into the skills to grow as a gymnast.”

During her freshman year, Felix-Terrazas earned a career-high score on the uneven bars with a 9.900; the number is still her career high today.

This season, Felix-Terrazas had to overcome adversity after she broke both of her ankles. She recovered quickly and even posted a season-high score of 9.825 on the uneven bars.

“She has always been fun-loving and brings that calm, cool and collected approach to the floor,” Yim said. “This year she has dedicated herself to be the strongest she can possibly be. Seeing her go down was so hard, but to keep the attitude she had and get back into the lineup so quickly showed tremendous growth.”

Felix-Terrazas is majoring in literacy, leadership and learning in hopes of opening a mainstream gym facility created for everyone, including people with disabilities.

From the first time Laub stepped onto the floor as a Wildcat, nothing has been able to slow her down.

As a sophomore, Laub became one of the GymCats’ most consistent performers, scoring three consecutive 9.825’s on uneven bars, followed by a new career-high 9.900 against the California Golden Bears.

Laub has competed in every meet of her career, and her senior year might be the best season she has had as a GymCat.

“Gabby is a gamer,” Yim said. “She loves to compete. She steps up. The bigger the moment, the bigger Gabby does. She is a steady presence on the floor and someone we can rely on. This year we have struggled with injuries and she stepped up willing to help, and that has shown a lot of who she is as an athlete, as a senior and as a leader.”

This season, Laub had to fill in for her injured teammates and perform on the floor, an event that she hasn’t competed in during her time at the UA. She scored a season-high 9.550 against the University of Washington.

“This sport has taught [me] that true happiness is found when you’re first happy with yourself,” Laub said. “Meaning, I love myself for who I am and not for who other people want me to be or for who other people paint me to be. I know I have a lot more to experience and learn, but I love who I am becoming, and it’s truly the happiest I’ve been in my life. I know I can accomplish anything I set my mind to because of the confidence I have in myself, and it’s important to me that every little girl out there who looks up to me loves herself, too.”

Laub plans on receiving her Bachelor of Science in finance in December 2017. Laub currently has a job lined up after graduation at North Star Resource Group, which is a financial advising firm.

The GymCats look to take down the SunDevils in McKale Center for the last home meet this season on Sunday, March 5, at 1 p.m. MST. The meet will be on the Pac-12 Networks.

Arizona gymnastics wraps up the regular season against BYU on Friday, March 10, at 7 p.m. MST before heading to the Pac-12 Championships in California. 

Follow Syrena Tracy on Twitter

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