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Randi Liljenquist

Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday Feb. 22, 2002

Gymcats face Huskies on Senior Night

By Brett Fera

The No. 12 Arizona Gymnastics team takes on Pacific 10 Conference opponent Washington tonight at 7:30 p.m. in McKale Center.

The Huskies come to Tucson for "Senior Night" following an upset victory over Arizona State last Friday, with a record of 3-3 overall and 2-2 in Pac-10 competition.

"The Pac-10 is the top conference in the country, and we always expect a tough competition," head coach Bill Ryden said. "Their victory against ASU might be considered an upset, but they have enough talent to compete with anyone in the conference."

Tonight's match will be dedicated to the seniors on the team, along with all the Arizona gymnastics alumni who have stepped onto the mats.

The Wildcats currently have three seniors on the roster, including Lindsay Compitello, a native of Downington, Pa. The other two to be honored tonight are Nicci Filchner, of Northhampton, Pa., and All-American Randi Liljenquist, a Tucson native from nearby Canyon Del Oro High School.

Despite posting the eighth highest team score in school history, the Gymcats (7-3, 2-2) were defeated in the overall competition last Friday by No. 21 Oregon State on the road.

Liljenquist and sophomore Andi McCabe each claimed individual titles against the Beavers, while junior Nikki Beyschau and freshman Monica Bisordi each posted season-high marks during the meet.

However, because of the unique scoring system for NCAA gymnastics, the close loss to OSU could actually help Arizona in the overall standings. The NCAA rankings are based on total team scores for the entire season to date, not wins and losses.

Senior captain Compitello said she is looking forward to tonight's meeting.

"Senior Night will be really exciting," Compitello said. "It is great to see that when we lose a close meet like (in Corvallis) that it can still be taken as a positive because of the NCAA's scoring system."

Whi Kim

Men's tennis welcomes L.A. schools to Tucson

By Brian Penso

After coming off a tough loss to Rice last weekend, the Arizona men's tennis team is set to bounce back with the opening of Pacific 10 Conference play this weekend. However, that will be easier said than done as the Wildcats play host to Southern California and UCLA, both national tennis powerhouses. The Trojans and Bruins enter the weekend ranked No. 4 and No. 5 respectively, and UA realizes the tough challenge that lies ahead.

The No. 47 Wildcats (6-1 overall) realize this is an opportunity for them to shake up the conference standings early in the season. So far this season, UA has lacked consistency in its doubles play, and it has caused the Wildcats to get off to a slow start in the majority of their matches. Arizona sophomore Whi Kim said it is crucial for the Wildcats to come out and try to win the doubles point against the Bruins and Trojans.

"Winning the doubles point really sets the tempo for the match," Kim said. "UCLA and USC are both good teams and winning the doubles point may be the difference. Winning the doubles point gives the team confidence, and that carries over into singles play."

In today's match with USC, the Wildcats look to do something that only one other UA men's tennis team has been able to do since 1934: defeat USC. The Trojans hold an all-time record of 78-1 against the Wildcats. In order to overcome history and pull off the upset, UA is going to have to have improved play from its top player, senior Steven Capriati, who has lost two of his last three matches.

"Steven has just as much talent as any player in the country," UA head coach Bill Wright said. "He needs to come out and just play his game. He has the ability to overpower any of his opponents."

Kim said he likes UA's chances this weekend as he thinks they match up well with both teams.

"We need to come out ready to go. We can't afford to come out flat against these teams," he said.

Junior Tom Lloyd said the key this weekend will be UA's ability to battle for every point, as the Bruins and Trojans rarely give any points away.

"These are two of the best teams in the nation," Lloyd said. "We can't afford to give them anything. But at the same time, we have to play our game. Our mentality is going to play our game and not worry about who is on the other side of the net. You are playing the ball and not the jersey your opponent is wearing."

First serve is set to begin at 1:30 p.m. today at the Robson Tennis Center.

Brianna Glenn

Track enters final prep in Flagstaff before NCAA Championships

By Brian Savitch

Arizona's men's and women's track and field teams return to Flagstaff this weekend for the Mountain Pacific Conference Championships.

The Wildcats will play host to this annual tournament, which offers competition from 11 other schools.

Arizona State, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Cal State Northridge, Long Beach State, Oregon, Stanford, University of California Irvine, UCLA, University of California Riverside, Utah State and Washington State will make up the rest of the bunch.

Since the Pac-10 doesn't have a conference championship, it is important for the Wildcats to do well this week.

On the men's side, the latest Trackwire 25 report has the Stanford men at No. 6 and the Oregon men at No. 25. On the women's side, Arizona is ranked No. 2 while UCLA comes in ranked No. 5, Stanford at No. 8 and Washington State at No. 21.

Although the Cats have high hopes for this weekend, their fate will lie once again in the hands of their top performers, seniors Brianna Glenn and Mike Kenyon.

"We need top performances out of our major performers," head coach Dave Murray said. "Brianna is competing in four events. That's 40 points right there, so she has to do well."

"Kenyon is the favorite in the 400m and the 200m and will definitely be a major factor in the 4-by-400m relay," Murray said. "He needs to run well."

Murray said the distance runners will also be the key on the women's side.

"With the likes of Tara Chaplin, Beth Hoge and Amy Peters, these people are capable of scoring a lot of points," Murray said.

With the focus on top performers this week, freshman pole vaulter Amy Linnen will also have to bring her "A" game. Murray feels the pole vault will be the highlight of the meet.

"With people like Tracy O'Hara from UCLA, the top six pole vaulters in the nation could be there, and that's just outstanding."

Murray said he is looking forward to the meet because his team will be faced with its toughest competition of the year.

"We need to do the best we possibly can this week, and our major people need to improve for the NCAA Championships," said Murray.

"If we do that, we should definitely finish in the top three."


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