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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Gymcats fall to competition

Rodney Haas / Arizona Daily Wildcat
Rodney Haas
Rodney Haas / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Flat. That was the word thrown around by all three Arizona gymnastics coaches when they described Friday night’s meet.

They couldn’t explain why the Gymcats lacked excitement in their 196.725-193.800 loss to No. 6 UCLA in their Flip for the Fight breast cancer awareness meet.

“”I think just the intensity and the excitement (were reasons for the loss Friday),”” said head coach Bill Ryden. “”I don’t know if it’s tiring with the home meets. We just don’t have that intensity even that we had at Stanford, so that’s something certainly we have to work on.””

It was not home, sweet home for Arizona.

The Gymcats had a supportive crowd, but could not convert that into a victory. The team struggled early on vault and bars — twice falling on the bars — effectively signaling the end point of the meet. They did, however, finish strong during the beam and floor events, showing some promise to the coaches.

“”Unfortunately it’s one of those things that just happens,”” said assistant coach John Court. “”The week of practice was really good, there was no pre-indication of what would happen. We just came out a little bit flat or whatever it was.””

The frustration could easily be seen on the entire team’s face for the first two events. That emotion was amplified after the bars event, when redshirt junior Miranda Russell and redshirt senior Sarah Tomczyk fell back-to-back.

Russell and Tomczyk both fell after failing to grasp the bar, plunging and landing on their respective stomach and face with a loud thud. The crowd let out a loud groan and Ryden rushed over to see if they were injured.

Tomczyk, the team captain and usually the most reliable member of the Gymcats, has struggled for the past two weeks on bars, something that is surprising to both the coach and the team.

“”She is not happy,”” Ryden said. “”We will work on it, and she was great all week on practice. But you could just see it in her eyes that something wasn’t quite right with her when we walked from vault to bars.””

The Gymcats were able to turn it around for the last two events, which gave them something they can start with next week. Sophomore Britnie Jones earned a 9.775 on beam, and Tomczyk turned things around during the floor event, earning a 9.875.

“”We started off the first two events, we looked a little tired and flat,”” said assistant coach Colleen Johnson. “”We got it back on beam and floor and finished the meet how we intended to finish it.””

One surprise of the season has been freshman Mykle Douglas, who had another impressive floor routine earning a 9.700. Court said Douglas is filling her role but expects much more for her next year once she gets some experience under her belt.

The women’s visible frustration went away after the beam event. Ryden pulled the entire team together and told them to be more positive and to smile more.

During the beam and floor event, the team was back to normal, cheering and clapping in support of their teammates.

“”They definitely pulled it back together, so I am pretty proud of them,”” Ryden said.


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