Gymcats finish sixth at Pac-12 championships
No. 21 Arizona gymnastics finished second in Session II and in sixth place overall at the Pac-12 Championships on Saturday in Berkeley, Calif., with a score of 196.250.
“I’m very pleased with it,” head coach Bill Ryden said. “It was a conservative start on bars, but the team certainly did not let it get them down, and we just kept fighting.”
Sophomore Shelby Edwards led the Gymcats with a score of 9.825 on bars, while sophomore Lexi Mills led with a 9.875 on beam, tying her career high. On floor, junior Kristin Klarenbach scored a 9.900, which was her eighth score of 9.900 or better on the season.
“It is our best road performance of the year so far, so it is a great springboard into the postseason,” Ryden said.
Savannah Douglas/The Daily Wildcat Senior all-around Shana Sangton performs her floor routine during Arizona’s victory against Texas Woman’s, BYU and Bridgeport on March 15 in McKale Center. Senior gymnasts were acknowledged and given framed Gymcat leotards at the meet in honor of senior night.
Finishing off on vault, the Gymcats scored a season-high 49.425. Junior Allison Flores, Edwards and freshman Mackenzie Valentin all scored career highs of 9.950, 9.950 and 9.900, respectively. Their scores earned Flores and Edwards the Pac-12 vault title in a four-way tie.
“We haven’t had a conference champion in the program in many years, so congratulations to both of them,” Ryden said. “It is great for them and great for the program.”
The Gymcats started off spring break with senior night as they took first place in their final home meet against No. 25 BYU, Texas Woman’s and Bridgeport on March 15.
After the meet’s results, Ryden held a ceremony honoring seniors Shana Sangston, Barbara Donaldson and Ali Stakem.
“It’s a really exciting day overall,” Klarenbach said. “We go to lunch and dress the seniors up and parade them around and make them feel that they are appreciated for all that they have done for us.”
Sangston earned a total of more than 1,110 points in her career and participated in every meet since the beginning of her collegiate career.
“I think it is crazy and that is not what I expected coming in,” Sangston said. “Being needed for every meet is an amazing feeling and I am happy that I could do that for the team.”
Leading the Gymcats in the meet were Flores, who earned a 39.225 in the all-around competition for first place, and Klarenbach, who scored a 9.950, tying her career high on her floor routine for the second consecutive week.
The Gymcats also defeated Air Force in Colorado Springs, Colo., 195.775-195.300 on March 17, in their last meet of the regular season. Opening the meet, the Gymcats scored a 49.025 on bars, led by freshman Selynna Felix-Terrazas with a score of 9.875.
Moving on to vault, the Gymcats set the bar high with a 49.375. However, on floor, the team scored 48.225, a season low. Finishing out the meet on beam, the Gymcats scored a 49.150 to secure the victory.
The Gymcats competed in three meets in eight days over the break and finished on a positive note with the season-high score on vault.
“It’s been hard, and they have handled it without complaint,” Ryden said. “The emotion of the senior meet and the immediate turnaround to the elevation of Colorado … and then to come back to the conference championships meet was the best of the three. We have been waiting to put a good all-around meet all year, so this one was the best so far.”
—Follow Matt Wall @mwall20