Arizona gymnastics records best score of season, still loses

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Some teams seem to play to the level of their competition.

The ninth-ranked UA gymnastics team (10-3 overall, 2-0 in Pacific 10 Conference) reinforced its membership to this club by recording its best score of the season, a 194.075, against fourth-ranked Louisiana State (7-2, 2-2). And even though they lost 195.475-194.075, the Wildcats showed that they can compete with any team in the nation.

"We're real happy overall with our performance, scoring a 194 on the road," UA assistant coach Bill Ryden said.

Right off the bat, the Tigers came out firing. Jennifer Wood recorded her second consecutive perfect 10 on the vault, leading a 49.175 strike by the Tigers in that event.

But the Wildcats were not impressed and they countered with their second-best score in school history on the bars, a 48.925. Arizona's Becky Bowers and redshirt freshman Tenli Poggemeyer led the charge with a 9.975 and 9.850, respectively. And after two rotations, the Wildcats' hopes of an upset were taking form as they led LSU, 97.85 to 97.825.

But Arizona's Cinderella story ended when the Tigers had a successful beam routine while the Wildcats faltered on the floor, halting the comeback.

"We did a great job on the bars and vault, but we couldn't keep up the consistency on the floor," Ryden said. "But it was good to see Jenna (Karadbil) and Nicole (Garrett) score well in their events."

Karadbil scored a 9.8 on the beam and Garrett recorded a 9.9 on the vault and a 9.725 on the floor. The Wildcat all-around was paced by Poggemeyer's 38.95.

"This score will really help our regional qualifying score, which is how teams get ranked," Ryden said.

Arlie Rahn

"Frosted Lucky Wildcats, they're magically delicious!"

The cereal commercial jingle, with a slight variation, best described the weekend performance of the UA track team much to the chagrin of the funny, little leprechaun.

The Wildcats won all three events they entered and set a trio of NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championship provisional qualifying marks at the Notre Dame Alex Wilson Indoor Invitational in South Bend, Ind.

The meet was the last indoor of the season, with the NCAAs in two weeks in Indianapolis, Ind.

Karen Bennett, 1994 NCAA 800-meter runner-up, finally qualified in winning the event with a time of 2:10.18, barely edging out Fighting Irish Erica Peterson.

Suzanne Castruita also set an NCAA provisional qualifying time in winning the 3,000 meters at 9:37.26. Castruita was over two seconds faster than second-place finisher Nicola Karr from the University of Portland.

Joining the women was the men's long-distance medley team, consisting of Luther Kopf (880 meters), Dexter Russel (440), Timur Voitetsky (1320) and Bob Keino (mile). The team beat the Fighting Irish (again) and Stanford with a time of 9.47.99.

The NCAA Indoors will be held March 10-11 in Indianapolis.

Ryan Gray

The Wildcats really made their mark this year. They won more dual meets this season than any other in the school's history. They have the largest team to be competing in the NCAAs and this past weekend, the women's swim team showed Pacific 10 Conference competition what the Wildcats were really made of.

Arizona traveled to Seattle, Washington, and ended up finishing in fifth place, which is a much better finish as opposed to last year. The Wildcats ended with a score of 912 points. Pac-10 powerhouse Stanford won first with a score of 1,646 points.

1992 Olympian Ashley Tappin dominated the competitors in the 200-yard freestyle with an automatic qualifying time of 1:47.32 . Tappin competed again in the 100 free and took second with a time of 49.94.

Other Wildcats that gave impressive performances were freshmen Laurie Kline, Heather Branstetter and Megan Lincoln. Kline and Branstetter finished sixth and seventh in the 1650 free. Lincoln placed sixth in the 200 breast. Romanian Olympian Claudia Stanescu finished seventh in the 200 backstroke.

The Arizona 400 relay team made a grand finish with a third place and an NCAA consideration time of 3:23.58.

Brian Spears was the only UA diver to compete in day three of competition. Spears placed second in the platform event with 425.85 points.

The next competition for the Wildcats is the men's Pac-10s, which will take place this weekend.

Katie Miles

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