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GymCats aim for high scores and first win against No. 3 Utah

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Jose Toro | The Daily Wildcat

Arizona gymnastics junior Danielle Spencer exhibitions on the balance beam during the meet against Denver on Saturday, Jan. 6 in McKale Center.

After putting up a battle in their first Pac-12 meet of the season against No. 4 UCLA, the No. 21 Arizona gymnastics team is preparing to get back-in action Friday, Jan. 26 to take on the No. 3 Utah Utes at 6 p.m. in McKale Center. 

Utah has been a difficult opponent for the ‘Cats who have been unable to beat the Utes since 1976 (60-0-0). Despite the losses throughout the years, the Wildcats have been persistent and have kept scores relatively close. 

“Utah is a fantastic team,” Arizona head coach John Court said. “We certainly need to do better gymnastics we have to turn up the intensity. Keep working on our depth.”

The Utes (2-0, 1-0 Pac-12) come to Arizona with high numbers across the board and is currently sitting in the top 10 in three events: No. 1 on floor with a high of 49.550, No. 2 on vault (49.475) and No. 4 on bars (49.325). 

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The Wildcats will need to aim for high scores and keep an eye out for Ute sophomore MyKayla Skinner who is currently ranked second in the All-Around competition with a high of 39.725, along with vault (9.950) and bars (9.975). Arizona sophomore Maddi Leydin will be one to watch as she earned new season and career highs in All-Around against UCLA and will be a tough competitor for Skinner, but for Leydin and the rest of the GymCats its not about the other team. 

“Its not about who we are against, we are basically against ourselves,” Leydin said. “We are trying to improve each week on our performance, meet our team goals and continue to get better every week, it doesn’t matter who we are against.”

The Utes bring junior MaKenna Merrell-Giles who remains in the top 10 on floor and will be tough competition for GymCat senior Kennady Schneider.

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But Schneider continues to execute perfect routines on floor so far this season and has earned first place for two consecutive weeks. The senior earned a new season high of 9.900 against UCLA and will be looking to continue the momentum against the Utes. 

Although the GymCats have suffered three losses so far this season they are continuing to improve overall scores each meet. During the meet against UCLA the Wildcats posted a new team season high of 195.750 and also reached individual season highs.

The 'Cats will continue to aim for high scores and try to build off of the meet against UCLA, but in order to get their first win of the season and against Utah they will need to bring talent and determination. 



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