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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Top notch competition awaits GymCats in Athens

Munir Tufail
Arizona gymnastics senior Lexi Mills performs on the uneven bars during a meet against Washington on Feb 27 at McKale Center.

With NCAA regionals quickly approaching, Arizona gymnastics has the chance to make a name for itself in the NCAA Championships under first-year head coach Tabitha Yim.

This season, the team has believed in each other and on April 2 all that belief will come to fruition against some of the top teams in the nation.

First off, Arizona will go up to bat against regional host Georgia. The Bulldogs are ranked No. 10 in the nation and are a force to be reckoned with. Georgia competes in the SEC and placed fifth overall in the tournament. Right in front of the Bulldogs were Florida, Alabama, Louisiana State and Auburn.

The Bulldogs are coached by Danna Durante and have three seniors on the roster. Each knows how to compete in high pressure situations. The seniors were all recently named NACGC/W regular season All-Americans. Durante is in her third season as head coach and has taken her team to a top-10 finish three years in a row.

Speaking of the Tigers, LSU is currently ranked No. 3 in the country and features Ashleigh Gnat, the No. 1 competitor nationally on both vault and floor. Myia Hambrick, a teammate of Gnat, is 10th in the all-around national competition and 17th on bars.

The Tigers are coached by Sara “D-D” Breaux, who has coached her team for 39 years — one of the longest in the nation — making her a mastermind in the sport.

Oregon State is a phenom that the Wildcats are very familiar with in the Pac-12 Conference. The Beavers are coached by Tanya Chaplin,who has given the program 19 years of excellence. Chaplin has the most wins in program history — an impressive feat as well. The Beavers have only three seniors total on the roster, which could prove challenging in competition.

The teams competing in Athens, Georgia, are Michigan State and George Washington.

The Spartans faced Arizona in the first meet of the season and fell to the Wildcats 195.700-193.775. MSU is coached by Kathie Klages who has coached the program for 25 straight years.

The Colonials have clinched their first back-to-back regionals appearance in program history. GW has an overall record of 26-6 this season and placed third overall in the EAGL Championships last week.

One thing is certain: Arizona does not have an easy path toward the NCAA Championships, but the team has proven time and time again that it can compete against some of the best in the country. Only time will tell if Arizona can make its way to the top.

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