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Gymnasts host No. 3 Utah

By Arlie Rahn
Arizona Daily Wildcat
February 12, 1999
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At this point in the season, the UA gymnastics team's toughest opponent has been the flu. But the UA coaching staff is hoping for a healthier group tonight when the Wildcats (4-2 overall, 2-1 Pacific 10 Conference) host No. 3 Utah at 7:30 at McKale Center.

"We have really had a tough time with the flu," UA head coach Bill Ryden said. "Because it's not really something that we can control, it gets a little frustrating. A lot of the girls seem to be getting through it this week so hopefully we will have some healthy bodies on Friday."

The largest impact of the illness has been in the floor event. In the preseason, the Wildcats were viewed as having one of the top floor teams in the conference. Yet through the first four meets, Arizona has recorded low scores of 46.300 and 47.975 in the floor.

"When you're sick, you don't have much endurance. And because we often perform the floor as the last event, many girls can hardly breathe when they reach that event," Ryden said. "While we haven't really displayed it yet, we do have the personnel that could make us a great floor team."

Even though freshman Brooke Stan and senior Maureen Kealey were still recovering from illness, last weekend's win against California appears to have set Arizona back on the right track. The Wildcats scored a season-high 47.925 on beam and broke 192 for the second time this season.

Another key for Arizona was the performance of senior Kristin McDermott. McDermott had her best all around meet of the season, scoring a 38.950 in the all-around.

"We are starting to show signs of improvement and have received a big boost from some of the freshmen," Ryden said. "I don't think anyone is surprised by Kristin's performance. This is the way we know she can perform. It's like a return to business as usual in her mind."