Gymcats seek to redeem themselves in the Metroplex
Redemption: That’s the word Arizona gymnastics head coach Bill Ryden has been using with his team all week.
Ryden said that the team needs to use last week’s mediocre performance at No. 4 Utah as motivation to compete well this weekend.
“We don’t want to keep it in the back of our heads to the point of bringing us down,” Ryden said, “but it would be foolish of us not to take a lesson from it. So take that lesson, keep that lesson and [what it] felt like with you, and use that to spur an improvement.”
The No. 17 Gymcats will have the perfect opportunity for redemption this Saturday. They will travel to Fort Worth, Texas to take on No. 2 Oklahoma, No. 3 LSU and Kentucky in a quad meet.
Junior all-around Allison Flores perform's her bars routine during Arizona's 196.500-195.175 win against Washington at McKale Center on Saturday Feb. 1.
The Gymcats have already seen Oklahoma earlier this season on Jan. 25, in which they lost 197.575-196.925, but competed very well against the then-top-ranked team in the country.
“Like [Ryden] said in our team meeting, this weekend is all about redemption,” sophomore Lexi Mills said. “Last week was a tough meet for everyone, but we’ve talked about it and we’re all feeling strong and ready to come back and show everyone what we can do.”
Sophomore Allison Flores agreed that renewed focus will be a key to success this weekend.
“If we really buckle down and get our minds right, then we’ll do really well this weekend,” said Flores, the Gymcats’ only all-around competitor last week. “We have the potential to be one of the top teams in the country, and we’re competing against some of the best schools. This weekend will be really important for us.”
One element Arizona will have to adjust to is that this week’s meet will take place on a podium floor, similar to the style of the Olympics and NCAA Championships. This style can add a different element of springiness that the competitors will have to account for.
“We will have to adjust, but so will everyone else,” Ryden said. “It’s just another one of those things you have to deal with. But if we have our focus, we’ll take care of business.”
—Follow Katie McCallister @katiemacsports