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Ryden left sleepless in Seattle

By Maxx Wolfson
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday January 24, 2003

It might be the title of a movie, but every time Bill Ryden has left Seattle it has left him sleepless.

The Gymcat head coach has lost all three of his meets there.

But Ryden is also quick to remind doubters that outside of Seattle he defeated Washington three times last season.

Unfortunately, for his sake, his No. 15 Gymcat team will be back in the Northwest tonight when it takes on the Huskies and San Jose State.

"I really feel good about this weekend," said Ryden, who holds a 4-6 overall record against UW. "Washington is perennially strong in Seattle. Sometimes they are abnormally strong, so we will have a task in front of us, but we are up for the task."

Last year, Arizona beat Washington in Tucson twice, with one win coming in a quad-meet. The Wildcats also defeated the Huskies at the 2002 Pac-10 Championships in Stanford, Calif., where Arizona finished second (197.050) and Washington placed fifth (195.425).

"Last year they were a little bit down, but that's not the norm for Washington," Ryden said.

UA will also take on a San Jose State team that it has become familiar with in recent years. This will be the third match up in five years between the schools. The Wildcats lost to the Spartans in their last match up two years ago.

"(SJSU head coach) Wayne Wright works tireless with them to try to build that program," said Ryden, who is 1-1 against the Spartans. "They have some quality athletes. We basically had like 10 falls against them last time."

Even though the Wildcats (2-0, 1-0) fell once again in the polls this week, falling four spots despite their perfect record, it could change this week with a change in the way the polls are conducted. The rankings in collegiate gymnastics are based on highest scores in the first two weeks of the season, but from Jan. 27 to Feb. 17, teams will be ranked by total season average.

"We're so excited we won, but once again we drop in the rankings," said sophomore Stevie Fanning, who was the All-Pac 10 beam champion last year. "It's kind of disappointing."

Tonight, the Gymcats are looking for the same results they have been getting, just to move in a different direction in the polls.

"We're looking to improve on our overall score (tonight)," said sophomore Monica Bisordi, who has earned five individual titles and nine top-5 finishes in the two meets. "We would like to win but sometimes we forget about the score, which is a good thing too."

The Gymcats have high expectations for tonight.

"We're looking to get over a 196.00," said sophomore Katie Johnson, the 2002 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year.

Arizona scored over 196.00 in its final two matches with UW last year.

UA might be without juniors Andi McCabe and Sheehan Lemley, who were injured practicing on the beam on Tuesday.

"There is blood on top of (McCabe's) foot but we're not sure where its coming from," Ryden said. "So we're holding our breath. One of the two will compete in bars. If not, sophomore Kristine Harper or freshman Jessamyn Salter will replace them."

Both injured gymnasts practiced Wednesday.

"We still have some lineup issues and have injury issues," Ryden said. "We're going to do our best to be successful up there. It's been awhile."


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