Arizona gymnast Aubree Cristello’s collegiate career is over.
After failing to reach the finals of the NCAA National Championships on Friday in Los Angeles, one of the most successful gymnasts in UA history is a Wildcat no more.
Yet, there is no question she made her mark on the Arizona program and her final performance Friday wasn’t any different.
Despite failing to reach her goals of becoming an All-American and making it to the finals, she finished her career with 2,000 total points, making her the second gymnast in program history to do so. Add that to the four first-team All-Pac-12 honors and Cristello’s career is one to be remembered.
“I knew I had a really good career,” Cristello said. “I wasn’t upset … I just got pretty emotional after beam because it hit me that I was done.”
When Cristello realized she wasn’t moving onto finals, with her all-around score of 39.075 just failing to qualifying by a quarter of a tenth of a point, she knew there was more to be happy about than sad.
“I set a goal for myself that I wanted to try and never get below a 39 overall in my meets and I accomplished that this year,” she said. “I think my lowest was a 39.075 but I think it’s cool that I’ve never actually fallen [below that] this whole year.”
For one of the only two Arizona gymnasts to ever reach the 2,000 point mark, contined success was part of what made Cristello great.
“I know she left a few goals unfulfilled or whatever,” head coach Bill Ryden said, “but in reality she’s done so much more than most gymnasts ever do at most programs.”
Cristello was paired with the No. 1 seeded team, Florida, who later went on to win the National title on Saturday.
She started the afternoon on floor where her routine was consistent like it has been all year. She scored a 9.85 which ended up being the fifth highest score for that event.
The one event she faltered on was vault, where she executed the movement in the air but botched her landing. She ran out of her vault when she hit the ground, resulting in a score of 9.6.
“She missed her vault because she was a little over aggressive,” Ryden said. “It’s not like she wasn’t going hard or whatever, sometimes those things just happen in sports.”
As Cristello warmed up for bars she said she felt confident and her coaches were impressed with her swing. She carried her positive warm-up into the routine, but it wasn’t enough as she missed her dismount. Still, she posted a 9.8 which was the seventh-highest score session.
Her record breaking career came to a close on the beam. Cristello, though, didn’t end with a whimper, earning the fifth-highest score at Nationals with a 9.825 and pushing her score over the 39-point mark she set for each event.
“Beam I think was one of the best routines I’ve done all year,” Cristello said. “Because at that point, I just wanted to have fun, since it was probably the last routine I’ll ever do.”
As Cristello switches her focus from gymnastics to school and her upcoming internships, Cristello said she’ll miss the sport that’s been such a crucial part of her life.
“I’m definitely going to miss competing,” she said. “The feeling you get before you compete, like the nerves and excitement and all that — just the adrenaline. Just competing for the fans and being with my teammates all the time and my coaches.”
Said Ryden: “She will never complain, she will never back down. As a coach you almost have to force her to ease off. Talking about total commitment to her athletics, her sport, her program, as a coach you couldn’t ask for more than having Aubree Cristello on your team.”