Arizona gymnastics falls short in NCAA Columbus Regional but Cristello moves on

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Briana Sanchez | Arizona Daily Wildcat

Briana Sanchez / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Gym Cats place first over ASU on Saturday at McKale.

Arizona Gymnastics finished third in the NCAA Columbus Regional with a score of 196.100 – the second highest post season score in program history. However, the Wildcats will not be moving on to the finals because only the top two teams from each Regional advance despite team scores. Arizona actually scored higher than Illinois, who is advancing to the finals.

“We were one of the top teams in the nation last night [Saturday], so it’s hard not to be proud of that,” said Arizona head coach Bill Ryden.

When you look across the board at the Regional scores from Saturday, a 196 and higher was a rarity, so the Cats’ can hold their heads high finishing the season.

With a lot to be proud about, Arizona also has one gymnast moving on to represent the red, white and blue and that is Aubree Cristello. She placed third overall in the all-around scores with 39.375 which was a solid score to carry her on.

With a thumbs up indicating her advancement from her mom in the stands, Cristello’s nerves were calmed as she awaited her fate on Saturday. As her teammate’s season has come to a close for a short while, Cristello will maintain her focus, which isn’t a challenge for the senior.

“I set goals for myself so I still have my head in the game and I have to be really serious about my training if I want to do well at Nationals,” said Cristello. “I’m pretty good at motivating myself and my teammates said they will be in there to cheer me on which is really nice.”

Cristello had a solid night from the start, posting 9.9 back-to-back on vault and floor.

The team scored a 49.100 on floor to begin the evening. Shana Sangston led the line-up posting a 9.8 and Jesse Sisler and Kristin Klarenbach later scored 9.85 to put the Wildcats in a good spot.

After floor came vault, where the team kept up the momentum and posted 49.150. Shelby Edwards and Jordan Williams twinned scores with 9.85.

The next round, Arizona was on bars where they struggled the most, scoring 48.700. The team leader was Allison Flores, who had a solid routine and stuck her landing for a 9.8.

The last event of the night was beam where the team really came through to put them in the third place position over the competitive Ohio State.

They had one fall but did not need to count it. Flores scored her career high with a 9.85 and the next four scored a 9.8 and above to put the team’s score at 49.150.

All in all the team finished the season with a “bang” and due to their performance they should be moving up in the overall NCAA rankings.

“It’s bittersweet. We had a team good enough to move on but it wasn’t meant to be. At least we didn’t just drop the ball. They went out fighting. They did a great job,” said Ryden.

Moving on to finals, Cristello will be in Florida’s rotation for the competition. They are ranked number one currently, so being around great competitors may be a strong factor to push her to victory.

The NCAA Gymnastic Championships will take place in Los Angeles, Calif. at Pauley Pavilion on April 19-21.


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