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Women's Gymnastics Set for a Showdown with Stanford
Courtesy: Stanford Athletics  
Release: 06/21/1999

February 24, 1999

What's Coming Up
The Arizona women's gymnastics team returns for a brief single-meet homestand when it hosts the 10th-ranked Stanford Cardinal--the defending Pac-10 champions-- on Friday, Feb. 26, at 7:30 p.m., in the McKale Center. The Wildcats are 6-4 overall and 2-2 in the Pac-10, and Arizona will face its seventh top-25 opponent of the season.

The Cats followed up its top performance against Utah two weeks ago with another impressive overall meet last weekend at the UCLA Invitational, where the Cats, who finished second behind No. 8 UCLA, defeated No. 11 Florida and Cal State Fullerton. Arizona is prepared to build upon its success from the last two meets and continue to come together as a team. The Wildcats scored their third-highest meet score of the season at UCLA, 192.575, and they won the floor event, with a 48.475.

Arizona once again will depend upon the talents of All-Americans Heidi Hornbeek, Maureen Kealey and Kristin McDermott to lead the team against Stanford (8-2 overall, 2-1 Pac-10). After posting four season-high scores on vault, bars, floor and the all-around two weeks ago against Utah, sophomore Kara Fry continues to emerge in her role as one of the team's leaders. Head coach Bill Ryden is confident that freshmen Randi Liljenquist and Brooke Stan will continue to post impressive scores and challenge the veterans for position in all four events.

'Although we had to count a fall on both bars and beam, it was one of our best performances overall at that competition (UCLA Invitational) in quite a while,' Ryden said. 'I am sure that the routines will come together, and the scores will follow in the upcoming meets.'

Last season, the Cats fell to the Cardinal on the road, 192.850-192.025, and at the 1998 Pac-10 Championships, Stanford won its first-ever conference title, with a score of 195.275, while Arizona finished in sixth place with a 192.800. Stanford, UCLA and Oregon State are the only schools to win the Pac-10 crown.

Arizona's Last Time Out
The Cats traveled to the 'City of Angels' last weekend to compete in the 22nd annual UCLA Invitational, and although the Wildcats fell to the No. 11 UCLA Bruins, 194.275-192.575, they finished in second place, topping the 13th-ranked Florida Gators (190.475) and the Cal State Fullerton Titans (187.375), in UCLA's Pauley Pavilion.

UCLA, who won its eighth consecutive and 13th overall title, took three of the four events. The Bruins, who never trailed in the meet, posted a season-high score of 48.975 on vault. Arizona posted the top score on floor, with a 48.475, and the Cats' overall team score of 192.575 is currently the team's third-highest score of the season.

Individually, redshirt junior Heidi Hornbeek posted a season-high score of 38.975 in the all-around, finishing in third place, and she also tied for third place on floor, with a 9.775. On beam, freshman Randi Liljenquist and sophomore Kara Fry tied for third place (9.725), and Maureen Kealey was Arizona's highest finisher on bars in fourth place (9.775).

Junior Kiernan Andrews posted a season-high 9.625 on vault, and she also handed in a season-high and personal-best score of 9.200 on beam. For the second week in a row, Fry recorded a season-high on bars (9.600), and Kealey tied her season-high score on vault (9.550).

About the Stanford Cardinal
No. 10 Stanford ( 8-2 overall, 4-1 Pac-10) is coming off an impressive 195.775-194.250 upset over seventh-ranked Arizona State last weekend. The Cardinal took three out of the four events--vault (48.675), bars (49.275) and beam (48.925), in front of a crowd of 496 in Stanford's Burnham Pavilion. A Stanford gymnast also grabbed the top spot in each event, including the all-around.

The Cardinal swept the bars competition with senior Amy Murakami leading the way with a first-place 9.900. Freshman Jennifer Exaltacion, who set a personal best with a 9.875, tied for second place with fellow freshman Becky Meldrum. On beam, Exaltacion grabbed first place and set a new team record with a personal-best score of 9.975. Murakami and Keri Monahan previously held the record at a 9.900.

Murakami also won the floor title (9.925), while Exaltacion took first place on vault (9.800). The Cardinal swept the top-three spots in the all-around: Murakami finished in first place (39.275), freshman Jenny Wilson took second (39.225), and Exaltacion finished in third (38.975).

Stanford head coach Mark Cook (Chico State University, 1977) has a 16-6 mark in two seasons at the helm of the Cardinal program. Stanford began the season with eight letterwinners and one All-American from the 1998 squad.

Cats in the Polls
Arizona is ranked 23rd nationally on bars, with an average score of 48.145. Individually, redshirt junior Heidi Hornbeek is the only Wildcat in the national rankings and is tied for the No. 17 spot on vault, with an average score of 9.800 and a high score of 9.900.

The Cats are listed at No. 7 overall in Region III, which consists of 11 teams, and they are also fifth on vault and bars. Hornbeek is first in the region on vault, senior Kristin McDermott is ninth, and freshman Brooke Stan is listed in the No. 12 spot. On bars, redshirt junior Maureen Kealey is in eighth place, Stan is fifth on floor, and McDermott is 10th in the all-around.

The Wildcats This Season
Feb. 12 vs. Utah: The Arizona women's gymnastics team kept the competition tight through four rotations against third-ranked Utah on Feb. 12, posting a season-high team score of 193.250, but it wasn't enough to defeat the Utes, who finished ahead of the Cats by only four tenths of a point, with a 193.625. After three weeks on the road, the Wildcats returned to the sweet confines of the McKale Center and handed in its best overall team performance of the season, registering season-high team scores on vault (48.400), bars (48.575) and floor (49.150) in front of a crowd of 1,297.

The Wildcats finished strong on vault and bars, but during the third rotation, they once again experienced problems on beam, counting two falls. Arizona trailed Utah by almost two points entering the final rotation, but the Cats came back to win the floor event, 49.150-48.450, and tied the fourth-highest floor score in UA gymnastics history. Utah took the vault (48.700), bars (48.750) and beam (47.725) events.

Individually, redshirt junior Heidi Hornbeek landed in first place on vault with a 9.875, and freshman Randi Liljenquist tied for second place on bars with a new personal-best score of 9.775. Senior Kristin McDermott and redshirt junior Maureen Kealey tied for fourth place on bars with a 9.750, and although the team continued its problems on beam, freshman Emily Peterman finished in third place with a 9.625.

The Wildcats finished the meet with impressive performances on floor, led by McDermott who tied with Utah's Angie Leonard for the floor title and matched her personal-best score of 9.900. Freshman sensation Brooke Stan scored a personal-best 9.850 and landed in third place on floor, and in the all-around, McDermott was Arizona's top finisher in fourth place with a 38.575.

Sophomore Kara Fry posted four season-high scores: vault (9.575), bars (9.575), floor (9.750) and all-around (38.425). Junior Gretchen Diaz posted a new season-high score of 9.550 on vault, Kealey recorded a season-high 9.825 on floor, and McDermott had a season-high 9.725 on vault.

Utah swept the top spots on bars, beam and floor. Angie Leonard won the bars title with a 9.850 and tied with McDermott on floor with a 9.900, and Shannon Bowles took beam honors with a 9.850. Utah also grabbed the top-three spots in the all-around, with Theresa Wolf in first place (38.925), Bowles in second (38.775), and Leonard in third (38.650).

Utah now leads the 23-year-old series with Arizona, 43-0, and the Utes are 7-0 in Tucson.

Feb. 6 at California: The University of Arizona women's gymnastics team defeated California, 192.050-190.200, on Feb. 6 in front of a crowd of 552 in Cal's Reacreational Facility. Arizona posted a season-high beam score of 47.925, and it looks as though the Wildcats are on the road to recovery after some problems on beam in past weeks. Arizona captured the vault (48.100), bars (48.050) and beam (47.925), while Cal took the floor competition (48.125).

The Wildcats once again traveled with only nine gymnasts, but Arizona took the top spot in three of the four events and the all-around. After scoring a 48.100 on vault in the second rotation, the Wildcats held their biggest lead of the night by almost two full points. With a season-high beam score of 47.925, Arizona held on to edge California, who posted its best overall score of the season.

Individually, senior All-American Kristin McDermott was the top finisher for the Cats, taking the all-around title with a season-high score of 38.950. She also posted a first-place finish on floor (9.800), a second-place finish on bars (9.775) and a third-place finish on beam (9.775). In her single competition for the meet, redshirt junior Maureen Kealey took the top spot on bars with a season-high 9.875, and fellow All-American Heidi Hornbeek handed in a season-high first-place score of 9.900 on vault. Freshman Randi Liljenquist also led Arizona with a personal-best score of 9.850 on beam (second place), and she finished with another personal-best score of 9.750 on bars (third place). In only her second career performance on floor, sophomore Mary Reiss scored a personal-best 9.525, and fellow sophomore Kara Fry posted a third-place finish in the all-around with a 37.775.

Jan. 31 at Boise State: The No. 21 University of Arizona women's gymnastics geam defeated Cal State Fullerton, 188.600-184.575, in its second tri-meet of the season on Jan. 31, but the Wildcats fell to Boise State, who posted a season-high score of 192.575. Arizona had only nine gymnasts compete, but the team won the bars event with a team score of 47.825, while Boise State captured the vault, beam and floor events. Individually, redshirt junior Maureen Kealey grabbed third place in the all-around with a season-high 37.925, she also tied for third place on bars with a 9.700, and she scored a season-high 9.550 on vault. But the news for Kealey was her return to the vault for the first time since she broke her leg on the apparatus at last year's Utah meet on Jan. 16.

Senior Kristin McDermott--who had been down with the flu last week--did not compete in the all-around for the first time all season, but she tied for second on vault with a 9.700, matching her season-high score in the event.

Redshirt junior Heidi Hornbeek and freshman Randi Liljenquist tied for fifth place on bars (9.650), with Liljenquist scoring a personal best in the event. On floor, Liljenquist tied for fourth place with Kealey (9.575). Freshman Emily Peterman landed in third place on beam (9.700--a personal best), and freshman Brooke Stan tied for second on vault (9.700--a personal best).

Sophomore Mary Reiss made her collegiate debut on floor, scoring a personal-best 9.025, and sophomore Kara Fry tied her season high on vault with a 9.525.

Arizona defeated Boise State last season, 189.200-188.375, in McKale Center on Jan. 9, 1998, and leads the series 4-2. In their previous meeting on Feb. 10, 1996, the Wildcats topped Cal State Fullerton, 191.525-191.125. Jan. 22 at Washington and Nebraska: The Wildcats traveled to the Pacific Northwest on Friday, Jan. 22 and finished in second place, with a 190.325, behind Pac-10 foe Washington, who scored a 193.000. Arizona topped No. 8 Nebraska, who finished in third place, with a 190.250.

Arizona began the meet on bars with a strong performance, but the Wildcats faultered on beam, counting four sub-par performances, including three falls, in the final team score. After the beam rotation, the Wildcats trailed Nebraska by three points, but they responded to the challenge and came back strong on floor with a season-high team score of 48.550. In the final rotation of the evening, Arizona regrouped and passed Nebraska--the Big 12 defending national champions--in the final standings.

Individually, redshirt junior Heidi Hornbeek grabbed second place on vault (9.625), and senior Kristin McDermott and freshman Brooke Stan tied for third place on vault (9.600). On bars, freshman Randi Liljenquist tied her personal best of 9.525, and fellow freshman Emily Peterman set a new personal best on bars with a 9.675.

Hornbeek was Arizona's top finisher on bars in fifth place (9.725), and she tied for first place on floor with a season-high score of 9.850. Hornbeek also posted a third-place finish in the all-around with a season-high 38.375--almost three points higher than her previous score of 38.125 against Oregon State.

Jan. 15 vs. Oregon State: The Arizona Wildcats began a new era under first-year head coach Bill Ryden, defeating the No. 15 Oregon State Beavers, 192.275-189.725, in their 1999 Pac-10 season home opener on Jan. 15 in McKale Center in front of a crowd of 952.

The Wildcats trailed the Beavers by .050 going into the second rotation, but Arizona quickly regained the lead after the uneven bars rotation and never looked back. Arizona went into the final rotation, with a two-point advantage.

Arizona and Oregon State split the four events, with the Wildcats taking the bars and floor events. Led by a strong corp of veteran gymnasts, the meet marked the return of redshirt juniors Heidi Hornbeek and Maureen Kealey, who sat out last year following season-ending injuries. Arizona was also led by senior All-American Kristin McDermott and sophomore Kara Fry. Freshmen Brooke Stan, Randi Liljenquist and Emily Peterman also had impressive performances on the night in the their collegiate debuts. Hornbeek capped off the night with a first-place finish on vault (9.800), and a tie for first place on bars with McDermott, both posting a 9.800. Fry grabbed the beam title with a 9.750 and vaulted to third place on floor with a 9.725. Kealey returned with a second-place finish on beam (9.725) and fourth-place on bars (9.725).

On floor, Stan and Liljenquist led Arizona with impressive first and second place finishes in their collegiate debuts. Stan posted a personal-best 9.825, and Liljenquist finished with a personal-best 9.750 in the event. Stan also finished in third-place on beam (9.675--a personal best) and fifth place on vault (9.675--a personal best).

Liljenquist finished in sixth place on bars (9.525--a personal best), and Peterman tied for seventh place on bars (9.325--a personal best) and posted an impressive 9.675 score in a beam exhibition performance.

In the all-around, McDermott vaulted to a first-place finish with a 38.475, Fry landed in second with a 38.325, and Hornbeek finished in third with a 38.125.

A Look Ahead:
The Wildcats hit the road for the fifth time in eight meets on Saturday, March 6 for a 4 p.m. (CST) contest against the Michigan Wolverines before returning to the McKale Center on Friday, March 12 for a showdown with the Oklahoma Sooners, at 7:30 p.m.

1999 Arizona Team Scores----Meet by Meet

Date    Opponents              VT        UB         BB        FX    Total
1-15    Oregon State        48.150    48.175    47.725*   48.225    192.275
1-22    Washington          47.800    48.100    45.900    48.550    190.350
        Nebraska
1-31    Boise State         47.950    47.825    46.525    46.300    188.600
        Cal State Fullerton
2-6     California          48.100    48.050    47.925*   47.975    192.050
2-12    Utah                48.400*   48.575*   47.125    49.150*   193.250*
2-20    UCLA                48.050    48.150    47.900    48.475    192.575
        Florida
        Cal State Fullerton

*denotes season-high score

1999 Arizona Gymnastics Collegiate Bests

GymCats              Vault      Bars     Beam      Floor    All-Around    
Kiernan Andrews      9.925      -------  -------    9.750    -------
Lindsay Compitello   -------    -------  -------    -------  -------
Gretchen Diaz        9.800      -------  9.725      9.250    -------
Nicci Filchner       -------    9.675    -------    -------  -------
Kara Fry             9.725      9.875    9.875      9.850    39.250
Lisa Heckel          -------    -------  -------    -------  -------
Heidi Hornbeek      10.000      9.950    9.950      9.850    39.700
Maureen Kealey       9.900      9.950    9.850      9.925    39.275
Randi Liljenquist    -------    9.775    9.850      9.750    -------
Kristin McDermott    9.775      9.925    9.925      9.900    39.150
Alex Moss            -------    -------  -------    -------  -------
Emily Peterman       -------    9.675    9.700      -------  -------
Mary Reiss           9.750      -------  -------    9.525    -------
Brooke Stan          9.700      -------  9.675      9.850    -------
Lisha Stone          -------    9.625    -------    9.625    -------
Heather Straccia     -------    9.575    -------    9.775    -------

Arizona's 1999 Individual Event Top Scores

Event       Wildcat              Score    Meet
Vault:      Heidi Hornbeek       9.900    California/2-6-99
Bars:       Maureen Kealey       9.875    California/2-6-99
Beam:       Randi Liljenquist    9.850    California/2-6-99
Floor:      Kristin McDermott    9.900    Utah/2-12-99
All-Around: Kristin McDermott   38.975    UCLA/2-20-99

1998-99 Quick Facts

University/Nickname:       The University of Arizona Wildcats
Colors:                         Cardinal/Navy
Location:                       Tucson, Ariz.
Founded:                        1885
Enrollment:                     33,504
Conference:                     Pacific-10
President:                      Dr. Peter Likins
Director of Athletics:          Jim Livengood
Home Arena:                     McKale Center (14,489)

Head Coach: Bill Ryden (Arizona State, 1983), first year Overall Record: First year Record at School: Same Assistant Coaches: Karen Tierney (Arizona, 1997), second year John Court (Johnson & Wales, 1993), first year Manager: Stacey Walski Team National Championships: none Individual National Champions: two

1998 Record: 6-9 overall 1998 Pac-10 Record/Finish: 1-54/sixth 1998 Regionals: Fourth 1998 NCAAs: n/a 1998 Final NCAA Ranking: 14

Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 10/4 All-American Returning/lost: 3/1

Seniors: 2 Juniors: 6 Sophomores: 4 Freshman: 4

1999 National Rankings

February 16, 1999

1-Georgia; 2-Alabama; 3-LSU; 4-Utah; 5-Michigan; 6-Penn State; 7-Arizona State; 8-Minnesota; 9-Nebraska; 10-Stanford; 11-UCLA; 12-Oklahoma; 13-Denver; 14-Oregon State; 15-West Virginia.

February 9, 1999
1-Alabama; 2-Georgia; 3-Utah; 4-LSU; 5-Michigan; 6-Penn State; 7-Stanford; 8-Minnesota; 9-Arizona State; 10-Nebraska; 11-UCLA; 12-West Virginia; 13-Florida; 14-Oklahoma; 15-Oregon State.

February 2, 1999
1-Alabama; 2-Georgia; 3-Utah; 4-LSU; 5-Penn State; 6-Michigan; 7-Minnesota; 8-Stanford; 9-Arizona State; 10-UCLA; 11-Oklahoma; 12-Iowa State; 13-Nebraska; 14-Oregon State; 15-Ohio State.

January 26, 1999
1-Alabama; 2-Georgia; 3-Utah; 4-LSU; 5-Arizona State; 6-Michigan; 7-Penn State; 8-Minnesota; 9-UCLA; 10-Stanford; 11-Ohio State; 12-Illinois-Chicago; 13-Oregon State; 14-Iowa State; 15-Washington; 21-ARIZONA.

January 18, 1999
1-Georgia; 2-Utah; 3-Alabama; 4-Penn State; 5-LSU; 6-Ohio State; 7-Nebraska; 8-Florida; 9-Minnesota; 10-UCLA; 11-Illinois-Chicago; 12-Michigan; 13-Arizona State; 14-Ball State; 15-Southeast Missouri; 18-ARIZONA.

Preseason Top-25 Coaches Poll
1-Georgia; 2-Florida; 3-UCLA; 4-Utah; 5-Alabama; 6-Arizona State; 7-Michigan; 8-Washington; 9-LSU; 10-Stanford; 11-Nebraska; 12-BYU; 13-Penn State; 14-West Virginia; 15-Oregon State; 16-ARIZONA.


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