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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Postseason fever

Although the Arizona gymnastics team will first have to host the Pacific 10 Conference Championships in McKale Center this weekend, it will have a 24th-straight postseason appearance to look forward to.

“”There is no way we can fall out even,”” said head coach Bill Ryden. “”Though the season is not over, we know we are going to the postseason, which is nice for the 24th straight year.””

“”The postseason, you just have to go for it, it’s all or nothing,”” said sophomore Katie Matusik. “”You can’t just improve for next week.””

The top 36 teams are picked based on their Regional Qualifying Score, which is the same process that ranks teams throughout the season.

Currently the Gymcats’ RQS is 195.320, which is good enough to give them a No. 23 national ranking.

Arizona will know which region and seed it will receive after the Pac-10 Championships end. Ryden thinks that the team will stay on the West Coast, competing in Los Angeles or Salt Lake City.

“”Right now we are sitting at like four-seed position because right now we are ranked 23rd,”” said assistant coach Colleen Johnson. “”We won’t know until after Pac-10s when the final rankings come out. Then the NCAA committee will start to place people, so we will know Monday morning.””

There are several ways that a competitor can move on to the next round, and Ryden knows that the team can turn some heads if they just get there.

“”At each regional, the top two teams move on to the final competition, plus the top two individual all-arounders move on as well, that aren’t on the winning teams,”” Ryden said. “”If you also win an event at that regional, you move on as well.””

Last year Sarah Tomczyk was able to compete in nationals because she won the floor event during regionals. The senior hopes to do the same this season if the Gymcats don’t make it to nationals as a team. Tomczyk, now a redshirt senior, has been on a hot streak during the floor event lately, scoring 9.900, 9.950 and 9.900 the last three weeks.

“”We have a week off in between, so there will be a lot more practices than there normally are,”” Tomczyk said. “”Next weekend there won’t be a competition, they are making sure we are resting our bodies. Even today we are not doing weights because Bill wants us to be fresh for the meet.””

Tomczyk is just one of the Gymcats who can represent the team.

“”We have many people that can do damage if they got to nationals,”” Ryden said. “”Molly (Quirk) and Britnie (Jones) beam set, both Sarah (Tomczyk) and Deanna (Graham) as all-arounders, and of course either one of them on vault or floor, or Katie (Matusik’s) beam. We have a lot of good routines — really good routines — that would do damage at nationals, we just have to get there.””

The coaching staff has a lot of trust in its young team. Ryden said he will not approach practice differently or pull aside any of the four freshmen who have never participated in postseason competition. Three of those four freshmen play a major part on the team.

“”Molly (Quirk) and Aubree (Cristello) have been competing like veterans all year. It’s been a real blessing to have those two compete with the maturity they have been competing with,”” Johnson said. “”For them it’s just going to be keeping doing what they have been doing all year.””

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