Wildcats confident team can elevate play

By Arlie Rahn

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Home, sweet home.

After finding success last weekend at the Cat Classic in Missouri, a banged-up UA gymnastics team is ready to return to the friendly confines of McKale Center. The No. 7 Wildcats (6-2) will compete against upset-minded Brigham Young ranked No. 13 in the nation Boise State and Denver Friday night at 7:30.

However, Arizona will be a bit short-handed against the Cougars it learned earlier this week that its top all-around performer, junior Karen Tierney, tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee and will be out for the season.

"It's a horrible situation for any athlete to have to go through," said UA coach Jim Gault. "Karen's year is over and, as far as I know, the doctors are setting up a date for surgery."

The Wildcats hope to lessen the blow with a number of improving performers, including Shane Allbritton, Cami Banholzer and freshman Michaela Grigg. Banholzer turned in a strong performance at the Classic last weekend, with scores of 9.7 and 9.8 on the beam and floor exercises.

Senior co-captain Nicole Garrett emerged as the Wildcats top all-arounder at the Cat meet, leading the team in the vault with a 9.8.

"Nicole is coming off a good meet last weekend," Gault said. "She showed some composure and hit on her events."

Tenli Poggemeyer and junior Darci Wambsgans will finish out the all-around team for the Wildcats. And even though Tierney is out, Gault is confident that the rest of the team can pick up the slack.

"I don't know if we expect to score quite as high without Karen, but I think the rest of the team will elevate their play in her absence," Gault said.

Read Next Article