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GymCats reach season and career highs despite loss to No. 3 Utah

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Jose Toro | The Daily Wildcat UA gymnast Christina Berg performs her routine on the floor during the UAgymnastics team’s competition against Utah on January 26 in Mckale Center.

Although the Arizona gymnastics team couldn't outscore the No. 3 Utah Utes, the Wildcats were able to outscore themselves and reached a new team season high of 196.325 on Friday, Jan. 26 in McKale Center. 

The Utes brought talent and skill to all four events and was able to take home another win against the GymCats, 197.550 to 196.325. But the GymCats don't feel like they lost due to earning season and career highs on vault, uneven bars and floor. 

"It was a great night for the Wildcats and we came out strong," Arizona head coach John Court said.

Vault: 49.175

Arizona sophomore Courtney Cowles stepped up to the mat, took off running and launched into the air performing a Yurchenko full over the vault earning a new season and career high of 9.800. The high score from Cowles continued to junior Lauryn Mattson and senior Madison Cindric who both earned 9.800. 

Scores were higher than they been, but perfection didn't come until freshman Payton Bellows stepped onto the runway where she then executed a solid vault earning her a season and career high of 9.950. 

"It was such an exciting night," Bellows said. "I have been working really hard for it and to get that high of a score is something I've been working on all season. To stick a vault in a meet was such an exciting moment."



Uneven bars: 49.200

Although the Wildcats hit a season high on vault, the Utes remained ahead with a score of 49.175 to 49.300, but that still didn't stop the GymCats.

The GymCats All-Around competitor Maddi Leydin broke yet another career high on the uneven bars with a 9.850. Arizona was consistent throughout the rotation earning solid scores, until another gymnast hit a season and career high. 

Sophomore Christina Berg owned her spot as anchor on the bars hitting her piked jaeger and finished her routine with a stick earning a 9.900. 

"We had Chrissy get a 9.900 which she earned," Court said. "She has had three 9.875 this year and she really wanted that 9.900."

Balance beam: 48.525

The toughest event of the night for the GymCats was the balance beam, which consisted of low scores, falls and bobbles. But for sophomore Haylie Hendrickson it looked as if it was easy to flip on the beam as she hit a solid routine earning herself a season high of 9.825.

"We ran into a little trouble and it was unfortunate," Court said. "I am disappointed. We need to look at everything we do and always try to get better." 

Floor: 49.425

Arizona stayed behind Utah throughout the meet, but it was a matter of defeating themselves rather than the Utes. The GymCats left the meet how they started it and that was with career highs from three gymnasts.

All-Around competitor and senior Madison Cindric was able to come out with a strong floor routine and broke her career high with a score of 9.875, which also led her to a new All-Around career high of 39.400. 

Bellows was back on the mat during the last rotation and was able to tumble her way to another career high with 9.875. Following Bellows strong performance was Mattson showing her strength, power and tumbling skills on the floor earning her a career high of 9.925.

"Especially after this floor rotation it is great to see everyone go and go after that, I think going fifth is perfect for me and its working out," Mattson said. "This was a win for us." 

Coming together: 

It wasn't just about the competition between Arizona and Utah tonight as both teams wore teal ribbons in their hair in support of the victims of sexual assault. 

The gymnastics community has come together after many gymnasts opened up about being sexually assaulted by the USA Olympic team doctor Larry Nassar. 

"It has been a hard time," Court said. "You feel for everyone and all you can do is try to put your arms around everybody and be there for everybody and that's what both teams [Arizona and Utah] did tonight. This isn't something thats not going away and i love that fact that everyone in the NCAA gymnastics are showing support."

On Wednesday, Jan. 24, Nassar was sentenced to 40-175 years in prison for molesting young gymnast and other athletes. 

"Was justice served? Everyone asks me that," Court said. "Yes, unfortunately it was served 25 years too late."




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