By Cord Smith

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Seeded last in the field of seven teams at the Midwest Regionals, the Arizona gymnastics team surprised its opponents, taking an early lead and finishing in fifth place with a 190.050 score at the University Activity Center in Tempe Friday night.

The Wildcats defeated Oklahoma and Utah State, but were nudged out of fourth place by Nebraska, a difference of only five-hundredths of a point. The Cornhuskers came from behind heading into their last rotation.

No. 2 Utah recaptured the regional title with a 194.100 score, defeating Brigham Young (192.825), the Sun Devils (191.875) and Nebraska (190.100).

The fifth-place finish will cause Arizona to miss the NCAA Championships for the first time since 1987.

"We had a lot of different emotions turned on tonight," said Coach Jim Gault. "I could tell we were ready and determined. We walked onto the floor as if we had a job to do and we gave it a go."

Arizona's hopes looked promising as they moved into first place early with a 48.575 score. Kristi Gunning was able to capture sixth-place honors on the floor with a season-high 9.825 and placed sixth in the all-around with a 38.150 score.

Becky Bowers, who received 1994 Pacific 10 Conference all-conference team honors last week, gave a strong performance on the uneven bars and earned second place with a score of 9.825. Despite struggling on the balance beam, Darci Wambsgans performed well enough to place seventh in the all-around with a 38.075.

"After seeing what happened here tonight, it gives me encouragement for next year," said Gault.

From Staff Reports:

The noises from Spring Fling didn't faze the Arizona women's tennis team's top-seeded singles player, Celine Verdier, during her match against Stanford's Laxmi Poruri on Saturday.

What did bother Verdier was the fact that she lost 6-2, 6-3 to Poruri, the No. 2 player in the Rolex Collegiate rankings.

Also bothersome was the fact that she and her Wildcat teammates (9-12 overall, 2-8 in the Pacific 10 South) lost to the Cardinal 7-1 at the Robson Tennis Center before about 40 onlookers.

"It is really tough on me because every person I play is one of the best," said Verdier, who has faced half of the players in the Rolex Top 10. "But I played a good match."

In the No. 2 singles match, Angela Bernal fell victim to Cardinal Kristine Kurth 6-3, 6-7, 6-2 in a three-set marathon.

Bernal, who was No. 3 behind Michelle Oldham for the better part of the season, seemed pleased with her performance in the No. 2 spot, but said she is somewhat worried about failing to qualify for the NCAAs.

What does Cary, N.C., have in common with Austin, Texas, Tucson, Houston, or Kanoehe, Hawaii?

All these cities have golf courses, and on each of those courses, a bad first round has put the Arizona men's golf team in a hole too big to shoot out of. Just like in the other tournaments, the Wildcats brought home another middle-of-the-pack finish, this time at the PING Intercollegiate, in Cary, N.C.

Arizona fired a 20-over- par 884 over 54 holes on the par-72, 6,776-yard MacGregor Downs Country Club.

Top-ranked Oklahoma State took first place, downing eighth-ranked Florida by two shots in the final round with a three-under 861.

Jason Gore led Arizona, tying for 14th place with a two-over par 218. David Howser was next, in 17th place with a three-over 219. Ted Purdy finished in 29th place at 223, while Jim Zadvorny shot a 12-over 228 and Gary Matthews was at 231, 15 over par..

Next up for the Wildcats is the Thunderbird Intercollegiate in Tempe this weekend.

The only thing that could have prevented the Arizona men's tennis team from losing to No. 1 Stanford on Saturday was an act of God.

The Wildcats almost received a little help from above when Sten Sumberg's singles match against Robert Devens was canceled because of a temporary cloudburst, but every other singles match was played and the Cardinal doused Arizona 4-1 at the Stanford Tennis Stadium.

Sophomore Chris Jenkins provided the Wildcats (8-8) with their only victory, a 6-3, 6-1 win over Ricky Becker.

Stanford's top player, Michael Flanagan, downed Arizona's No. 1 seed, Jan Anderson, in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4. Anderson, ranked 12th in the country, led for much of the second set before ninth-ranked Flanagan rallied to win.

The UA women's golf team finished in a sixth- place tie with UCLA and Oregon yesterday in the PING-ASU Women's Invitational in Tempe.

Leta Lindley led the team with a 73 score in each of the three rounds, putting her in a three-way tie for fourth place.

The Arizona lacrosse club defeated UCLA 13-7 yesterday afternoon to improve to 7-5 and assure itself at least a .500 record.

Derek Clinton scored four goals against the Bruins, while Jeff Wagener and Brett Doogan had three each and Pat Kunz finished with two.

The Laxcats fell to Whittier (Calif.) College on Saturday, losing 11-10 in overtime 11-10.