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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Cats place third, fail to advance to nationals”

    The No. 15 Arizona gymnastics team placed third at the NCAA Regionals on Saturday in Ames, Iowa, failing to advance to the NCAA Championships April 20 to 22.

    Arizona (195.400) was edged out by host No. 4 Iowa State (195.725) by 0.325 for second place, behind No. 11 ASU, who won the meet with a score of 196.675.

    “”It certainly stings a little,”” said Arizona head coach Bill Ryden. “”We had a really good meet, not a great meet.””

    After having a bye in the first rotation, the Wildcats opened their meet on the floor in the second rotation with a 49.000, enough to keep them close to the Cyclones (49.350) after their first rotation. Arizona battled with Iowa State throughout the meet for the final qualifying spot after ASU pulled away with four consecutive scores of at least 49.125.

    Misses and slips on the vault and bars led to four bad rotations for the Gymcats, losing points that would prove to be the difference as they trailed Iowa State heading into the last rotation. Arizona came up just short of the 49.250 it needed to secure its first NCAA Championships berth since 2002, scoring a 48.925 and finishing third.

    “”We knew we were still in the game, and we knew we’d have to have a really great beam rotation,”” Ryden said. “”I didn’t tell the team that, but we knew it was going to be close. When we started getting some great scores, I thought ‘Man, maybe this is gonna happen.'””

    Despite the disappointing ending, Ryden said the misses on vault and bars showed the team’s youth, but he was proud of the performance, especially coming off a lackluster performance at the Pac-10 Championships March 25.

    “”We’re proud of finishing third, in what was probably the toughest regional,”” Ryden said. “”I felt we performed like an Arizona team is supposed to (perform). When you have four bad rotations, that hurts, but we’re proud of how we kept fighting.””

    Not all was lost for the Gymcats, as sophomore Karin Wurm and junior Aubrey Taylor will continue their seasons as individuals at the NCAA Championships in Corvallis, Ore., April 20 through 22.

    Wurm tied for third this weekend in the all-around with a 39.300 – her second-best career score – and will perform in the all-around competition, and Taylor will compete on the bars after scoring a 9.900, good for a share of first place.

    “”It’s bittersweet for them,”” Ryden said. “”Both of them were outstanding. If Aubrey hadn’t over-rotated on her vault she might be going for the all-around too, but there’s a difference between going without your team.””

    While Wurm and Taylor continue to practice, Ryden said most of the other Gymcats will tend to surgeries that were postponed due to the season.

    “”We’ve got some girls that need some rest, but for gymnasts there’s really no offseason. They’re not gonna take two months off,”” Ryden said. “”This is the part of the sport that got us addicted to it, trying new things, experimenting.

    “”I might let some of them in the gym if they sweet-talk me. For us, next season starts (yesterday).””

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