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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Gymcats remain upbeat

    UA gymnast Sarah Specht performs on the bars during a March 21 win over Brigham Young and Cal State-Fullerton in McKale Center. Specht and the Gymcats had an up-and-down season which was highlighted by their fourth-place finish at the Pacific 10 Conference Championships in Seattle.
    UA gymnast Sarah Specht performs on the bars during a March 21 win over Brigham Young and Cal State-Fullerton in McKale Center. Specht and the Gymcats had an up-and-down season which was highlighted by their fourth-place finish at the Pacific 10 Conference Championships in Seattle.

    To truly understand the season of the No. 14 Arizona gymnastics team, look no further than the beam and floor rotations during last Saturday’s regional, where it finished fourth and failed to earn a place in the NCAA national championships.

    Three consecutive Gymcats hit the mat prematurely, contributing to one of their lower beam scores of the year.

    But instead of taking the easy way out by folding on the floor rotation and heading home with their tails between their legs, the six floor workers took UA head coach Bill Ryden’s advice and brought the house down.

    Juniors Bree Workman and Beamer Bergeson both notched career highs with a 9.875 and 9.8, respectively, and every gymnast scored at least a 9.8.

    “”That was a befitting tribute to all that this team has gone through,”” Ryden said. “”They did everything they could even though they knew there was no future to the end of a really memorable season.””

    A memorable season indeed ðð- a season that began on a foreign floor in Tumbleweeds Gymnastics, a club in Tucson, a season that started with injuries and ended with injuries.

    “”It was a successful season even though it didn’t end the way we wanted it to,”” Workman said. “”None of us feel that we let anybody down. We have to look at the season as a whole and we came through a lot of trials and tribulations and we gave it our all.””

    The season began on a positive note as junior Alexis Greene won the all-around title in the first two meets after returning from a torn Achilles tendon the year before. Greene had never won the all-around before her injury.

    After struggling in meets against Stanford and Oregon State, the Gymcats had their most memorable meet of the season in Wells Fargo Arena, the home of ASU.

    “”The whole atmosphere of that meet – the (ASU fans) being so negative,”” Workman said. “”None of us had ever experienced that before, and to win there for the first time since 1987 was awesome.””

    On a side-note, the only other UA varsity teams to defeat ASU in a head-to-head competition this school year were the UA national championship men’s and women’s swim and dive teams.

    After the ASU meet, the Gymcats rattled off two consecutive meets in which they bettered 196 points, losing to UCLA and defeating Washington.

    Arizona’s string of good luck ended in Lexington, Ky., when its plane was forced to reroute to Phoenix after losing to Kentucky. The next week in Denver, Workman battled injuries and several of her teammates struggled with the flu. The Gymcats had their worst meet of the season, losing to the then-No. 12 Denver Pioneers.

    Two weeks later, Arizona reached the pinnacle of its season at the Pacific 10 Conference Championships when it did not record a fall.

    “”(Pac-10’s showed) what we (were) all made of,”” Workman said. “”And that there is no one that can’t come through when push comes to shove.””

    Arizona had five gymnasts named to the All-Conference teams and senior All-American Karin Wurm earned the Pac-10 Scholar Athlete of the Year award.

    “”Having five girls All-Conference is a much better gauge of how our season (went) because not only (does it calculate the Regional Qualifying Score), but your Pac-10 as well,”” Wurm said. “”And to have five girls meet that requirement is phenomenal. I don’t think we’ve ever had that before. I couldn’t be more proud of the way we competed and what we accomplished.””

    Ryden just hopes the bad doesn’t overshadow the good.

    “”You wonder why things happen the way they do, to have this bizarreness going on,”” he said. “”But we just have to live with it and move on, and the girls on this team have everything in the world to hold their heads up about.””

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