Arizona gymnast Aubree Cristello will compete today at 1 p.m. in the NCAA National Championships in Los Angeles.
If Cristello places in the top four of any of the four events, she will compete on Sunday after the other qualifying teams compete on Saturday.
“I’m really excited for this weekend,” said Cristello. “I feel like I’m really ready to go out there and try to become All-American.”
Cristello thinks her best chance of moving on will be with floor, but she will be performing that event first and judges are usually tougher towards the beginning of the meet. Because she ends her night on beam, she thinks that may be her best bet as the scores often get higher.
Cristello qualified last year and was just shy of moving on to the finals. She is hopeful that having a year of experience under her belt will help her move on to the next round.
“I don’t think I’m really nervous for anything. I mean last year I was nervous to go out there by myself but I feel like I did it once, I’m used to it now and I know what to expect.”
This year, Cristello isn’t going into the meet alone; she will have her sister, Ahnalee, to support her. Ahnalee, who is a manager for the team, is used to helping her sister out with bars, and because the meet is much closer to home this year, there is no way she is going to miss it.
“She does a lot for me, so I’m really excited. You know, she’s my sister and it’s my last meet. So it definitely means a lot that she is going to be out there and cheering me on and helping me out,” said Cristello.
At the Nationals last year, Cristello was paired to rotate with Utah, who was very welcoming to her. This year, she will be rotating with Florida, who is ranked number one, so Cristello thinks the pairing could go either way in terms of her scoring.
“I think it will either be to my advantage or disadvantage. I mean the scores are going to be really high in front of me, so that could work in my favor. But also she could bring out my flaws technically,” said Cristello.
Overall, Cristello feels that she has prepared the best she can and is ready to compete.
“It’s my last meet ever, so I’m just really excited to end my career,” said Cristello. “I’m just looking forward to ending on a high note.”