Arizona gymnastics improving
The Arizona gymnastics team worked out some of its kinks with a win over the University of Illinois at Chicago but still struggled during the beam event after having two gymnasts fall.
Even with a season high score of 195.400-193.450, the coaching staff was only slightly impressed with the team's performance.
""I like that we are getting better every weekend,"" said head coach Bill Ryden. ""I don't like that we are not putting together a complete meet.""
Some of the team's struggles began before the meet even started since all-around performer, Molly Quirk, came down with an illness and could only participate in two events. Ryden also said he felt the ladies were a bit lackadaisical warming up for their first event.
""I was kind of worried about the team,"" Ryden said after his team improved to 4-1. ""Not a whole lot of energy, and I really got after them in the locker room. I told them that we had to show up, and they came out with fire.""
Despite the lack of energy, the Wildcats came out strong in the first two events, never having to count a score below a 9.700. However, their struggles on beam continue to plague them.
Deanna Graham and Jordan Williams fell off the beam during their routines and there were some slight wobbles.
""We just couldn't put it down, we were without Molly (Quirk) tonight and we couldn't make up for it,"" said assistant coach John Court. ""We want Molly back. Molly hasn't missed a floor routine all year.""
Court did add that he was happy with Ellen Pitluck's beam routine, who was subbed in for Quirk. Pitluck earned a career high of 9.775 during her set.
Things took a turn for the better toward the end of the night as the three Wildcats earned career-high scores. Katie Matusik scored a 9.900 on the beam and Aubree Cristello matched her with the same score during her floor routine.
""It was such a good feeling,"" Matusik said. ""The second I landed my routine, I was just happy.""
The highlight of the night, though, came from redshirt senior Miranda Russell. Russell earned a career high of 9.925 during her floor routine to end the night for Arizona. Everybody in the arena erupted when the judges revealed her score, as Russell basked in the moment with her teammates.
""She is having a great senior campaign,"" Ryden said. ""Very proud of her. I wouldn't want it any different.""
The Wildcats will be on the road this week as they head to North Carolina State for a Saturday meet.