By James Kelley
CHRIS CODUTO/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Gymcat Erin Muirhead attempts a vault during a meet in McKale Center earlier this season.
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday March 28, 2003
After a spring break that resembled more of the coming of a new ice age than that of sand and sunny beaches, the Arizona gymnastics team will look to bounce back from its up-and-down performances at this week's Pac-10 Championships.
Tomorrow night in Los Angeles, the No. 20 Gymcats (4-11, 1-5) will battle for the Pac-10 championship, coming off their worst meet of the year last week against No. 18 Denver and West Virginia, a meet that initially appeared as if it would be canceled.
"We didn't do well, we missed seven out of 24 routines," said head coach Bill Ryden.
The meet in Denver was nearly postponed because of the severe snowstorm in Colorado.
After it became apparent that the meet would actually go on, it was decided that the meet would move to a local gym after Denver's three-year-old, $70 million Ritchie Wellness Center sustained heavy damage from the snowfall.
The Denver meet came after Arizona posted its highest score ever in its last home meet against Oklahoma, despite losing Katie Johnson, the 2002 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, in warm-ups due to a torn ACL. Ryden expects the team to perform at the championships more like it did at home than at Denver.
"The lowest score is more of a lesson and I'm confident we can bounce back and do well," Ryden said. "We had one of our of best practices on Tuesday. I think they realize the Denver meet was a unique situation."
Against then No. 14 Oklahoma, the Gymcats' record overall mark of 197.375 was accompanied by a team record of 49.500 on beam. The Sooners needed to set a team record as well to win the meet.
In the meet, which started with the activation of a fire alarm that was set off by smoke from the pre-meet introductions, freshman Abby Pearson earned a perfect score of 10.000 on the vault while sophomore Monica Bisordi broke her personal All-Around mark with a score of 39.750. Six other Gymcats tied or set records in the meet.
"Oklahoma was our high point of the year," Ryden said.
Arizona will likely need another top performance on Saturday to win the Pac-10 title, as all seven women's gymnastics teams in the Pac-10 are ranked in the top 20. The Gymcats will have to do so without Johnson, whose injury last week effectively ended her season.
The Gymcats do have the defending conference beam champion, sophomore Stevie Fanning, who hopes to keep UA in the thick of things.