Arizona gymnasts' goal to spoil Mardi Gras for LSU

By Arlie Rahn

Arizona Daily Wildcat

The UA gymnastics team will travel to Cajun country during the heart of Mardi Gras, hoping to end Louisiana State's celebration a little early.

The No. 9 Wildcats (10-2 overall, 2-0 in the Pacific 10 Conference) will face a fourth-ranked Tiger team (6-2, 2-2 in the Southeast Conference) that is coming off a heartbreaking loss to No. 1 Georgia last week.

"The main concern for us will be to get another good away score," said UA coach Jim Gault. "For regionals, they look at your best two home and away scores, so we'd like to get another 193 or 194."

LSU has shown a great deal of consistency this season by averaging in the 194.4 area for each meet.

"We have had to count a maximum of only one fall so far this season," said LSU coach D-D Pollack. "So we have to keep up this consistency against Arizona."

Leading the Tigers are juniors Jennifer Wood and Aida Canovas. Wood is coming off a perfect-10 performance on the vault last week, and is in the top 10 nationally in the all-around with scores averaging above 39. Canovas has also been placing in the top 10 in the all-around, but because of injuries, she will only be participating in three events.

"We have a very strong junior class, highlighted by Aida and Jennifer," Pollack said. "They usually set the tone for us in scoring."

The Wildcats will hope to counter with redshirt freshman Tenli Poggemeyer, junior Darci Wambsgans and senior Nicole Garrett. Poggemeyer has been the team's rock thus far, and has consistently scored in the 38-39 range in the all-around this season. Wambsgans and Garrett have recently raised their level of play and have picked up some of the slack that junior Karen Tierney's injury caused the team.

And with the amount of depth that the backup performers have provided, the Wildcats are feeling confident about their lineup.

"We pretty much think that we've got things settled in our lineup," Gault said. "There might be a few changes in the beam if somebody doesn't seem to be doing the job, but I'd think the lineup you see this weekend will be the one we use in the regionals."

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