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Wildcats take down pack


The Arizona gymnastics team extended its winning streak to four meets this weekend when it outlasted North Carolina State and William and Mary. The Wildcats were effective in all aspects, and totaled a season-high score of 195.550.

In the early part of the season, the Wildcats struggled to stay consistent, but the team cleaned up its act this week.

""I am incredibly proud of the team on how hard they fought,"" head coach Bill Ryden told Arizona Athletics. ""We weren't quite nailing, and every routine we were gritting our teeth, but they never gave up. We went 23 for 24, no fall routines. … But overall I was really proud of the girls.""

The Wildcats have been able to count on Aubree Cristello, Deanna Graham, Molly Quirk and Miranda Russell all season and that continued Saturday night. Arizona placed three gymnasts on three events, sweeping the bars, beam and floor. Graham and Cristello placed first and second, respectively, on the vault event. It was the only time Arizona was unable to get three girls on the podium.

""This meet wasn't necessarily a showcase of our best gymnastics, but it definitely was an example of how tough we can compete,"" Ryden said.

Russell, who continued her already impressive season, ignited the competitive fire for Arizona. One week after scoring a career high of 9.925 during the floor event, Russell earned a 9.900 during the bars event. Russell has scored a 9.900 or higher three times this season as she continues her strong senior campaign.

""Miranda (Russell) drilled her routine; she dropped that dismount and just stood there,"" Ryden said. ""She stuck cold, and it was a great set. She is just in a groove. She is a really great bar worker, and this routine really suits her.""

The Wildcats look to continue their winning ways this week as No. 2 Stanford comes to McKale Center for a Friday night meet.

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