This season was full of ups and downs for the Arizona gymnastics team, as they struggled to find consistency each meet.
The Wildcats' season came to an end last weekend as they placed fifth in the NCAA Regional Championships. They finished the season ranked No. 20 in the country.
""This was a rough year for me,"" head coach Bill Ryden said. ""We introduced a new coach, we had two gymnasts not on the team that we anticipated would be on the team, we had two gymnasts coming back from major surgeries.""
Talyn Curry and Colleen Fisher chose to retire in the offseason due to injuries suffered throughout their career, leaving Ryden with holes in the roster.
The Wildcats struggled to put together complete meets throughout the season. For the most part, they would have three solid events but struggle in the fourth. The beam was the Achilles heel of Arizona all season, especially during regionals.
""We know that we caused our own (problems),"" Ryden said. ""The fact that we counted so many problems, the fact that some of our veterans had consistency issues, that's what we learned.""
Ryden said that he has spoken to the team about remembering the sting of the season and the bittersweet meets.
Even through the trials and tribulations, Ryden said he would give the team a ‘B' for their performance this year.
""We showed that we have top 12 or top 15 talent but the fact that you didn't get a few of those answers right, well then you don't get the A,"" Ryden said.
Junior Katie Matusik was one of the standouts for the Wildcats and she proved this with a strong showing at regionals. Ryden called her performance one of the highlights of the meet and praised her for the heart that she showed. Matusik will be part of a strong senior class for Arizona next year.
She will be joined next year by fellow seniors Rebecca Cardenas, Britnie Jones and Deanna Graham. The team will lose Miranda Russell, who the team looked at as their ‘mother hen,' but is bringing in four freshmen who could potentially compete all-around.
""We have a really young team. I think next year we're going to be a lot stronger,"" Matusik said. ""All the upperclassmen are experienced, having four seniors that can lead the team will be amazing.
""Next year we are going to Nationals, I don't care. It's not a ‘well we can make it.' We are going to make it.""