Rags to mats
Mykle Douglas has steadily made her presence known on the gymnastics team.
The sophomore from Plano, Texas, has worked her way up from just competing during the floor event last year to now being a consistent member of the vault squad.
""She has progressed quite a bit,"" said head coach Bill Ryden. ""It's part of that ‘learning the game' that all freshmen have a difficult time to figure out what is going on. She had to figure how we trained and collegiate competition. Certainly, she is having a far better year this year.""
According to Ryden, it took him some time to be able to trust Douglas, who came to Arizona as a floor specialist. Ryden needed time to know how Douglas would perform under pressure, as he does with all freshmen.
""If you go to war with someone for a long time, you know what is going to happen, you know how they will handle stress,"" Ryden said. ""With all new freshmen, it takes a while to really get to know what makes them tick and when they will have problems.""
Along with Ryden's trust, Douglas said she believes that the experience she gained last year has helped her make progress this season.
""I honestly do feel like I have gotten more of a shot, especially for our vault team,"" Douglas said. ""I feel like I am a big part of our vault line up.""
Douglas was a fixture on the floor team last year but has been in the lineup on and off this year. This year, she has competed in vault during every meet for the Wildcats.
""She just needs to beat the six ahead of her,"" Ryden said. ""The competition happens in (practice) before we get out (to the meets). She has plenty of difficulty (in her routine). It's just about consistency and attention to the fine details.""
Although Douglas has competed primarily in the vault competition, she has impressed the coaching staff with the ability to compete in other events.
""She's not where we want her to be yet, but she is certainly more of the gymnast that we recruited,"" said assistant coach John Court. ""She has gone out there on balance beam for us before already this year. She is always ready to go.""
Douglas realizes that she still needs to work on her floor routine and go back to what helped her get to Arizona.
""I just need a higher confidence on floor,"" Douglas said. ""If I have a higher confidence, it might be better for me just in general and maybe even help me score higher, it will also be better for the team.""