GymCats look to rebound

Despite several key injuries, Arizona gymnastics aims to recover on Senior Night

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Emily Gauci | The Daily Wildcat

Arizona gymnast Allie Flores performs her floor routine during Arizona's 196.425-196.100 win against California in McKale Center on Feb. 28. The Wildcats end their home portion of the schedule with Senior Night against Denver on Saturday.

No. 17 Arizona gymnastics has a lot on its plate moving forward after scoring the third-highest team score in program history. The GymCats will finish their regular season on Saturday against No. 18 Denver during Senior Night in McKale Center.

Senior Night has brought its ups and downs for Arizona. Seniors Allie Flores, Shay Fox and Amber Wobma will be honored for their work with the Arizona program. But the honors come with sad news for the Wildcats.

Arizona Athletics confirmed that Flores would not compete for the “duration of the season” due to the injury she sustained against Texas Women’s University.

“When we came back to Tucson, Allie did consult with our team physicians immediately,” Arizona gymnastics head coach Bill Ryden said during The Ryden Show. “Unfortunately, she did sustain a season-ending injury and in fact had surgery to repair. But this, in essence, means it was a career-ending injury. Not the way any of us or she wanted to go out, but it’s nice to know how much she meant to the program.”

Flores took to Twitter to express her emotion about the injury.

“I am so thankful for everyone who has sent me their prayers and good vibes,” Flores tweeted. “I am blessed with the greatest friends, family and teammates.”

Flores’ teammate, Gabby Laub, responded to Flores with a tweet of her own.

“Wishing you the fastest healing/recovery,” Laub tweeted. “We would be nowhere near where we are without you. I love you so much!”

Laub’s comment could not be truer, since Flores has anchored the Wildcats in almost every event this season and rarely gets flustered in competition.

All three of the seniors graduating have spent time recovering and fighting off injuries, with the most recent victim being Flores. Wobma was injured during the fall season and has only competed once this season for the Wildcats.

Fox, on the other hand, had no intention of ever competing again after back injuries prevented her from competing during the end of her high school career. She was introduced to Ryden by former Arizona gymnast Katie Matusik during her sophomore year at Arizona and has since become a staple for the Wildcats.

“This meet is very special for us every year,” Ryden said on The Ryden Show. “We honor the outgoing seniors who have completed their eligibility or are retiring. It’s great for our home fans and for our team to be able to share their appreciation.”

Also ending her time with Arizona gymnastics is four-year team manager Ahnalee Cristello, sister of former Wildcat gymnast Aubree Cristello.

Arizona has not faced Denver since 2010, and in that season, the Wildcats faced Denver twice and split the pair of meets.

Following the meet against the Pioneers, Arizona will travel to Salt Lake City for the Pac-12 Conference championship on March 21.

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