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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    All-around confidence

    Arizona senior Aubrey Kelly performs on bars - the first time since breaking her foot - at the Pacific 10 Conference Championships March 31 in Tempe. She and the rest of the Gymcats will compete in NCAA regionals tomorrow in McKale Center.
    Arizona senior Aubrey Kelly performs on bars – the first time since breaking her foot – at the Pacific 10 Conference Championships March 31 in Tempe. She and the rest of the Gymcats will compete in NCAA regionals tomorrow in McKale Center.

    Confidence is the key for the Arizona gymnastics team, which will appear in its 21st consecutive NCAA regional showing at 6 p.m. tomorrow in McKale Center.

    To advance to the NCAA Championships in Salt Lake City, the No. 15 Gymcats must finish in first or second place against No. 4 Stanford, No. 8 Oregon State, No. 20 Illinois, ASU and Illinois-Chicago.

    “”I don’t even think we’re aiming for top two – we’re aiming to win this meet,”” said junior Karin Wurm. “”I don’t think it’s even in our minds to do anything less.””

    OSU and Stanford will be the toughest teams to beat, Wurm said, but they’re also the most familiar.

    Arizona beat OSU 196.325-194.600 Jan. 26 and narrowly lost to Stanford, 196.400-195.375, Feb. 16 after counting two falls on beam.

    At the Pacific 10 Conference Championships held by ASU March 31, Arizona trailed the Cardinal and the Beavers – who came in second and third, respectively – but all three teams were within a point of each other.

    “”It’s anybody’s game, and we’re excited because we know that we have such a good chance that it makes us that much more motivated,”” said senior Aubrey Kelly. “”I’ve never felt this confident going into regionals, ever since I’ve been here.””

    “”It’s our last meet in McKale, but it could also be the last week I do gymnastics. I mean, I don’t think that will happen
    because I believe we’re going to win, but I have that thought in the back of my head.””

    – Jamie Holton,
    senior

    Arizona must hit all of its routines to win, said UA head coach Bill Ryden.

    The team had three falls at Pac-10s, and although all three low scores were dropped, each fall brought down a potentially high-scoring routine.

    “”I like our chances if we hit all our stuff,”” Ryden said. “”We’re looking as good now as we’ve looked all season, but we just don’t want to beat ourselves.””

    The team has also had plenty of time to rest and heal since Pac-10s, Ryden said. Kelly, who posted a 9.800 on bars at Pac-10s in her first competition since breaking her foot Feb. 12, will be back in the lineup again tomorrow.

    Freshman Miranda Russell, who injured her knee during her floor routine in Tempe, is also healthy enough to compete, although Ryden said he might replace her on floor with sophomore Bree Workman.

    Arizona is taking full advantage of being at home, as well. The team took a day off yesterday – while its competitors were traveling – and is sure to gain energy from the home crowd, Ryden said.

    “”Whether being at our place is a little bit harder for the other teams or not, you don’t know, but it definitely is going to be good for us,”” he said.

    Senior Jamie Holton said the meet might be bittersweet for her because it could be the last time she competes for Arizona.

    “”It’s our last meet in McKale but it could also be the last week I do gymnastics,”” she said. “”I mean, I don’t think that will happen because I believe we’re going to win, but I have that thought in the back of my head.””

    Arizona has never finished first in an NCAA regional, but the team has had five second-place finishes. Its last trip to the NCAA Championships was in 2002.

    Last year Wurm and Kelly competed as individuals at the Championships in Corvallis, Ore.

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