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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Kelly back in time for Pac-10s

    After missing six competitions with a broken foot, senior Aubrey Kelly finally got a doctor’s blessing to return to the lineup for the No. 15 Arizona gymnastics team – just in time for the Pacific 10 Conference Championships tomorrow in Tempe.

    Since the injury, Kelly has continued to train on bars – even when she wasn’t allowed to walk – with hope of returning to competition even once before she graduates.

    There’s still a chance of refracturing the bone, but Kelly said she is willing to take that risk to help the team.

    “”It feels fine when I’m on the bar, when I’m not using it, and really my ankles are the worst when I land,”” she said, referring to prior ankle injuries. “”But at this point I don’t really care about my ankles.””

    Kelly’s return could be just the spark that Arizona needs to take its first Pac-10 team title, said junior Danielle Hicks.

    “”Her being able to come back and have that final meet – if not three, hopefully- it’s going to be really good,”” Hicks said. “”I’m so happy for her because it’s so hard to end a career with an injury.””

    The team will also be looking for redemption after a disappointing 195.300 showing last week at Brigham Young, Hicks said.

    “”I think we all are better athletes when we go in a little bit mad,”” she said. “”If you have a little chip on your shoulder, you have to go out and prove everyone wrong.””

    The Gymcats’ biggest challenge will be holding their own against No. 5 Stanford, No. 8 UCLA and No. 9 Oregon State. ASU barely makes the list at No. 25, but the Sun Devils’ home-field advantage makes them more formidable, Ryden said.

    Arizona has drawn the ideal rotation, Ryden said. The team begins with a bye followed by vault, then another bye followed by bars and beam, and a third bye before floor.

    “”It’s definitely the best rotation we could have gotten,”” Kelly said.

    Last year’s team finished fifth at Pac-10s in Corvallis, Ore., but a combination of fresh faces and more experienced gymnasts could make the difference this year, Ryden said.

    “”This year we’re a better competing team,”” Ryden said. “”Last year’s freshmen are much better this year as sophomores, and this year’s freshmen are much better than last year’s freshmen.””

    Morgan said she and fellow freshman Miranda Russell, both of whom compete regularly in the all-around, don’t feel any less experienced than the rest of the team.

    “”I don’t even feel like a freshman, honestly,”” she said. “”I don’t really think about classes. I think we’re both just really excited to be contributing to the team this much.””

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