GymCats tumble their way into 2017-2018 season
The Arizona gymnastics team is tumbling their way into McKale Center on Tuesday, Dec. 5 at 6 p.m. for their annual GymCat Showcase to give fans a sneak peak of what to expect for the upcoming 2017-18 season.
Arizona looks to build on last season’s fifth place NCAA Regional finish with 11 returning GymCats and four freshmen . The Cats faced another coaching change after the 2016-17 season and welcomed previous assistant coach John Court as interim head coach.
Court was assistant coach for the gymnastics team for 19 seasons and took place of coach Tabitha Yim going into the 2017-18 season. Court adjusted to the head coaching position quickly and is optimistic for the season.
The Wildcats’ 2017-18 schedule is unlike others in the past as they will take on more difficult teams. Despite the difficulty in competitors the Cats have this upcoming season, the team has been preparing for all events: uneven bars, beam, vault and floor.
“It is exciting, it is nice to compete against people that are challenging,” senior Madison Cindric said. “It brings more energy to the team and brings a higher level of motivation to all of us.”
The team will rely on the experience from seniors Kennady Schneider, Victoria Ortiz and Cindric. The three GymCats have been a powerful trio since their freshman year and impacted the program greatly from the moment they came to Arizona.
“They have had a good run here and have accomplished a lot,” Court said of the trio. “They want to see the team do better than it has in the past. When they were freshmen, the team finished 17th in the country, and they would love to get that back to end their four-year legacy.”
Junior GymCats include Haylie Hendrickson, who has improved her skill set; Lauryn Mattson, who dominates on floor; and Danielle Spencer who is the gymnast that the team can count on for competing on bars.
“The junior and sophomores are advancing in skills and getting better and better,” Court said.
Court has seen improvements from the sophomore GymCats: Christina Berg, Courtney Cowles, Jenny Leung, Maddi Leydin and Heather Swanson. As a class, the gymnasts have practiced and made strides to improve their skills all around for the season.
For freshman Payton Bellows, Sydney Freidin, Laura Leigh Horton and Adra Parks, the GymCat Showcase will be the first time they will be under the lights at McKale Center.
“Freshman don’t know much about competing in college gymnastics because club gymnastics is very focused on individuals rather than a team,” Cindric said. “This is such a team sport and focused on what we need to do to succeed.”
Fans will get a sneak peak of the upcoming season at the GymCat Showcase before they flip into the season with a quad meet against Denver, Rutgers and New Hampshire on Saturday, Jan. 6, at 4 p.m. at McKale Center.
Arizona Gymnastics 2017-2018 schedule
Denver, Rutgers, New Hampshire
Tuesday, Jan. 6 at 4 p.m.
@ Iowa State
Saturday, Jan. 13: Time TBD
Saturday, Jan. 20 at 4 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 26 at 6 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 4 at 3 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 11 at 12 p.m.
@ Oregon State
Saturday, Feb. 17 at 1:30 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 24 at 4 p.m.
Friday, March 2: Time TBD
UNC, SJSU, Air Force
Friday, March 9 at 6:30 p.m.
Monday, March 12: Time TBD
Saturday, March 24: All Day
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