Ailing Gymcats stumble on beam four times at Utah
Fighting injuries and sickness, No. 13 Arizona gymnastics fell to No. 4 Utah, 197.825-194.425, in Salt Lake City on Friday.
“Everyone knows the potential of this team is so high,” head coach Bill Ryden said. “We should be able to sleep to a 196.000 on any given day. If nothing else, this is a slap to the face, and it’s a wake-up call. You don’t ever want to forget how bad you feel, and use that as the motivation in your training to move forward.”
Senior Jordan Williams was not in the lineup after sustaining an injury on Jan. 25 against Oklahoma. Sophomore Kristin Klarenbach was fighting sickness, but still competed, and sophomore Jessie Sisler did not travel with the team.
Arizona started on bars, where it scored a 48.800 and was led by sophomore Allison Flores with a score of 9.850. Lexi Mills and Selynna Felix-Terrazas followed with twin scores of 9.775. Gabby Laub and Krysten Howard earned scores of 9.725 and 9.675.
“We were rough starting out on bars,” Ryden said. “We had three freshmen in the lineup, and they’ve never seen a crowd that big. That’s tough. But every meet, the freshmen become less like freshmen. It’s a learning experience.”
Arizona then moved to vault, where they earned a score of 49.050 and had five scores of 9.800 or better. Shana Sangston and Mackenzie Valentin led with scores of 9.825, a career-high for Sangston and a season-high for Valentin. They were followed by Flores, Amber Wobma and Shelby Edwards, all with scores of 9.800. After the second rotation, Utah led 98.950-97.850.
The Gymcats then moved to floor, their strongest event as a team. Flores and Wobma led with scores of 9.875, followed by Felix-Terrazas with 9.850, Sangston with 9.800 and Klarenbach with 9.750, for a total of 49.150.
“We did a pretty good job on the floor,” Ryden said. “The thing that hurt us is that Kristin Klarenbach is sick. She couldn’t really land her first pass, which dropped her score below a 9.900, her first score below a 9.900 all year.”
On beam, Arizona recorded a score of 47.425, with four of the six competitors suffering a fall. Mills led with a season-high score of 9.850, followed by Flores with 9.825. Flores was the Gymcats’ first all-around competitor in two weeks and scored a 39.350, which earned her the second place in the all-around.
Ryden said a team can’t recover when four of its six gymnasts fall.
“We definitely need to learn from it and put it behind us, even though this hurts a lot,” Ryden said. “We have to regroup fast. All you can do is just try to take the emotion out of it, try to understand what went wrong, what went right, and get better and learn.”
Arizona will head to Dallas next weekend for a quad meet on Saturday with Kentucky, No. 2 Oklahoma and No. 3 LSU.
—Follow Katie McCallister @katiemacsports