GymCats drop meet against No. 5 Utah

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Emily Gauci | The Daily Wildcat

Arizona gymnast Shelby Edwards (left) speaks with assistant coach Meredith Paulicivic (right) before performing her beam routine during Arizona's 197.850-196.375 loss to Utah in McKale Center on Saturday. Edwards' routine resulted in a 9.825 on the beam portion of the meet.

In what was the highest scoring meet of the season for both teams, No. 18 Arizona gymnastics lost to the No. 5 Utah Utes 197.850-196.375 behind many career highs for the Wildcats. Utah’s score tied the highest in the nation with No. 1 Oklahoma, and the Wildcats countered with the highest score against the Utes this season.

“Every meet this team is growing,” head coach Bill Ryden said. “They don’t give up, and they continue to fight. We could have counted a fall on beam, but we refused to. We could have counted a fall on floor, but we refused to. I just give credit to them and still believe that we have so much growth to [do].”

The GymCats opened the meet on vault in front of a crowd of 2,112 with a total team score of 49.075. Shelby Edwards led all of the Wildcats with a score of 9.875, and Jessie Sisler added a career-high score of 9.825.

“I love competing at McKale [Center],” Edwards said. “It’s my favorite place to be. I always try to do my best, especially in front of the fans.”

Arizona followed up its vault performance with a 49.150 on bars. Krysten Howard scored a 9.850, with Gabby Laub, Allie Flores and Victoria Ortiz following with scores of 9.825.

The Wildcats moved to beam, an event where they had some uncharacteristic errors. Lexi Mills and Flores led the GymCats with scores of 9.850.

On floor, Arizona had its highest team score of the meet with 49.175. Kennady Schneider and Sisler both scored a 9.875, which was Schneider’s career high.

“It felt amazing, especially since I did it at home,” Schneider said. “I think being on our turf helped and gave me more confidence.”

Utah’s Georgia Dabritz won three events in the meet and the all-around. She scored a 10.0 on bars and a 9.975 on both vault and floor.

“You can’t not be a fan of Georgia Debritz,” UA assistant coach Meredith Paulicivic said. “She’s amazing.”

For Paulicivic, the meet was a reunion with Utah head coaches Greg and Megan Marsden. The assistant coach graduated from the University of Utah and was a three-time NCAA All-American for the Utes.

“I try not to think about it too much,” Paulicivic said. “I know that Greg and Megan are really proud of me and are thrilled that I’m doing what I’m doing. I tried not to be nervous. I just tried to stay focused and keep my kids going one [event] at a time.”

Although the GymCats did not come out on top, Paulicivic was impressed at their overall performance ­­— especially against one of the best teams in the country.

“I think they held their own,” Paulicivic said. “It’s honestly quite intimidating to have a team like that come in. It’s hard not to look over your shoulder and see 9.950s and 10.0s.”

Up next, the Wildcats will travel to No. 10 Oregon State, which will be another difficult Pac-12 Conference matchup against a top-10 opponent, but Ryden has confidence in his team.

“Just be consistent,” Ryden said. “Fix the errors that we made here. I feel like we can compete against most people if we just stay consistent.

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