Gymnastics opens conference season

By Arlie Rahn
Arizona Daily Wildcat
January 19, 1996

Adam F. Jarrold
Arizona Daily Wildcat

UA gymnast Shane Allbritton performs on the floor exercises in last week's season-opening win over Denver.


The No. 7 UA gymnastics team (1-0) opens Pacific 10 Conference play when it squares off with San Jose State, Sacramento and host California tonight at 8:30 Tucson time in Berkeley, Calif.

The Wildcats are coming off a 191.775-186.100 victory over Denver last weekend, when freshman Heidi Hornbeek excelled with an all-around score of 38.975.

"We had a great first meet, but we still have some things we need to work on," UA coach Jim Gault said. "We have to first make sure we stay where we are in the vault and bars competition and gain more confidence on the beam. We've also been working on some positive changes in the floor competition to pick up some bonus points that the judges said we missed."

California looks to be the only threat in this meet. While Arizona has an 8-1 career record against the Golden Bears, they were victorious in their last regular season meeting in 1994.

"I'm not sure if they will be ranked in the top 20, but they should be a lot stronger than they were last season," Gault said. "They are in a bit of a rebuilding year only because they switched coaches."

The Wildcats will make a few changes in their lineup this week with freshman Kristin McDemott competing in the uneven bars. The all-around competition will still feature Hornbeek and senior Shane Allbritton, who finished second last week with a score of 37.725. Junior Tenli Poggemeyer was initially thought to be Arizona's third all-around competitor for Friday, but a recent injury might force her to miss the bars routine.

"We are hoping that Tenli can compete in all four events, but we are not quite sure of whether she can go in the bars competition," Gault said.

The remainder of Arizona's lineup will feature senior Jessica Marshall in the vault and bars, senior Darci Wambsgans in the vault, beam and floor, and senior Karen Tierney in the bars and beam. Junior Becky Bowers will continue as Arizona's bars specialist and junior Cami Banholzer will add depth to the beam and floor exercise. Sophomore Nancy Milberger will compete on beam and freshman Maureen Kealey finishes off the lineup in vault, bars and floor.

"The main thing right now is that we have to be a more confident team and perform like we do in practice," Gault said. "We can't make the conditions of the meet change our focus."