Arizona gymnastics falls short in Yim's return to Palo Alto
UA's Krysten Howard poses after her floor routine on Jan 21.
The Arizona women’s gymnastics team traveled to the Maples Pavilion in Palo Alto, California as they put up a battle against Stanford in the first Pac-12 Conference meet of the season. The GymCats fought through the four rotations but came in second with a score of 195.650 and the Cardinal with 195.900.
The GymCats started the first rotation on the uneven bars where senior Krysten Howard earned a season high of 9.825 followed by Haylie Hendrickson with a 9.800, ending with an Arizona Stick.
Freshman Christina Berg performed her pike jaeger ending with an Arizona Stick, earning a 9.800. Anchor Victoria Ortiz kept the scores high for the Wildcats as she soared over the high bar, performing her famous tkatchev ending with an Arizona Stick to earn the high score of 9.850.
During the second rotation Arizona brought the heat on vault with sophomore Lauryn Mattson’s solid landing which earned a 9.825. Sophomore Skyler Sheppard flew high over the vault ending with a small hop, but was able to keep the scores high with a 9.825.
The GymCats took the lead with a score of 97.900, but Stanford stayed close behind with 97.750 heading into the third rotation.
Arizona tumbled their way through the third rotation on the floor with Mattson who showed off her skills earning a 9.825.
Sheppard didn’t hesitate to bring the heat to the floor with her triple full and a solid landing, earning a high score of 9.875. The scores remained high with Howard earning a 9.850 and junior Kennady Schneider with a high of 9.875. Arizona continued to stay in the lead going into the final rotation.
The balance beam was a little unbalanced for the GymCats as they were unable to hold their lead. Freshman Courtney Cowles connected her layout series but lost her balance on her standing layout step out.
With a few balance errors, Howard’s routine came out strong and ended with an Arizona Stick earning a 9.725.
Ortiz and Sheppard ended their routines strong with Arizona Sticks, giving the Wildcats a 195.650 overall.
Arizona head coach Tabitha Yim was very familiar with the atmosphere in Maples Pavilion at Stanford University, where she served as an athlete from 2005-2008 and an assistant coach for five years. Yim was a 14-time All-American during her time at Stanford.
Yim helped coach Stanford to its two highest team scores for the NCAA Championship in the program’s history.
Yim showed nothing but happiness after the meet, tears falling and a smile on her face.
“This is home, and for me to share that with my athletes, a piece of me, is very special,” said Yim in an interview with a Pac-12 Network.
The GymCats will make their way back home for their next meet on Saturday, Feb. 4 at 7 p.m. in McKale Center against the Oregon State Beavers.
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