Gymcats make it to Big Dance
No. 21 Arizona gymnastics will travel to Baton Rouge, La., for the Baton Rouge Regional on April 5 at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. This is the 28th consecutive year that the Gymcats have made it to regionals.
“We always want to be considered a top-notch, top-20 program and continually getting into the postseason is apart of it,” head coach Bill Ryden said. “It is a responsibility, and we want to be a shining star for the athletic department, so to speak. I’m very proud of the fact that we are able to sustain this high level of athletics for all of these years because certainly we have no plan on stopping.”
After the sixth-place finish at the Pac-12 Championships, the Gymcats are the fourth-seed for regionals and will compete against No. 3 LSU, No. 10 Stanford, No. 13 Auburn, Kent State and Iowa State.
“We really want to make it to Nationals, and I think we can definitely do it,” sophomore Shelby Edwards said. “Our team is talented and everything that we need is there; we just have to do it the day of the meet.”
Junior all-around Kristin Klarenbach was recently named Second Team All-American on the floor. Klarenbach and the other gymcats will head to Baton Rouge, La. for regionals on April 5.
Throughout the season, the Gymcats have struggled going 24-for-24 and finishing well at every rotation.
“We have had a hard time putting it together on the road,” Ryden said. “I feel like we are going in the right direction, so if we can keep building off that momentum, certainly that will help us going into the Regional.”
The Gymcats have competed against LSU and Stanford this season in a quad meet and triangular meet, respectively. Both times, the opposing teams outscored the Gymcats. Yet, coming off of the Pac-12s, the Gymcats said they feel like they are ready for the battle.
“We are excited and ready to go,” junior Shay Fox said. “We have so much potential and talent.”
Junior Kristin Klarenbach was named Second Team All-America for floor exercise. Junior Allison Flores and Edwards are coming off of being tied for the Pac-12 vault title.
“The thing about Pac-12s is that we did really well and we just kept it normal like we do in practice,” Edwards said. “I think if we continue to do what we do and keep that momentum going, we should be good to go.”
The top two teams and top two all-around competitors from each regional receive an automatic berth to the national championships, as well as the event winners. Currently, the Gymcats hold a Regional Qualifying Score of 196.160.
“[I expect] an all-out effort,” Ryden said. “It is new life, but it is also can be one-and-done, so it is basically all or nothing at this point. Everything we got, leave nothing behind — and no what-ifs, no regrets, and see if we can make Regionals even an improvement on the Pac-12 meet.”
—Follow Matt Wall @mwall20