By Brett Fera
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday Feb 1, 2002
The UA Gymcats usually depend on the senior leadership of Randi Liljenquist to guide them to victory.
Last week, however, a new girl stepped up and took some pressure off of the All-American.
Her name is Katie Johnson.
Following an upset against two-time defending champion UCLA Jan. 25, the freshman was named Pacific 10 Conference Gymnast of the Week for her performance.
Johnson, a native of Moorhead, Minn., helped pace the Arizona squad with a 9.850 score and third-place finish on beam, a season-high 9.850 (fourth place) on vault, and a 9.975 on floor exercise, good for second in the event. Johnson's career-best score on the floor is the second-highest individual floor mark in University of Arizona gymnastics history.
Johnson and the No. 7 Gymcats (6-1, 1-0 Pac-10) will take on their third straight ranked opponent in as many weeks tonight against No. 12 Stanford (2-1, 2-0), in Stanford, Calif.
"We need to work on the beam, especially after (last week)," said UA head coach Bill Ryden, after an uninspired performance in the event against UCLA. "We see a great meet ahead of us at Stanford and still manage to know that even after a win like (that), we can't take anyone lightly."
The Wildcats currently hold the top ranking in the nation on the vault, along with a No. 4 rank on floor, No. 11 on beam and No. 18 on the bars.
Last season when Stanford and Arizona met, the meet was close.
The Cardinal edged out the Wildcats by the narrow margin of 196.300 to 196.200 last year in McKale. The Gymcats have not won against Stanford since 1999.
Along with Johnson's No. 4 national ranking on floor, Liljenquist is ranked No. 8 nationally on floor. Sophomore Andi McCabe and freshman Monica Bisordi are No. 6 and No. 23 on vault, respectively. Johnson is holding on to a No. 25 on the beam as well.
Johnson currently leads the Pac-10 with a 9.919 meet average on floor, also good for a national ranking of fourth in the event.