UA gymnasts upset No. 14 Boise St. with best floor event

Arizona’s gymnastics team just knocked off No. 14 Boise State in what the Cats’ coach called their “strongest performance of the year.”

Arizona, ranked No. 32 going into the match, scored a season-high 195.375 to Boise State’s 194.400.

“We expect to be better than this,” said the program’s head coach, Bill Ryden, “but it is nice that we finally got a score that is indicative of where we should be.  This type of score should be our average.”

The Cats took a narrow 0.275 lead after the vault competition, led by Miranda Russell and Aubree Cristello.

Amy Glass captured the vault title for the Broncos with a 9.850 score and then went on to win the all-around title for the meet.  Russell, a redshirt senior from Wisconsin, and the sophomore, Cristello, posted identical scores of 9.825 for a second-place tie in the opening event.

Glass is ranked No. 4 in the nation in the all-around and is undefeated in that competition this year.

The Cats went 1-2-3 in their second event, the bars, and held a 0.075 lead at that point.  Russell led the way with a 9.850 score, followed by Deanna Graham (9.800), and Molly Quirk (9.775).

Quirk’s mark tied her career best and Graham’s performance was called “the best performance of her career” by Ryden.  Graham is a 5’2″ junior from Tucson who place first on vault at the 2007 and 2008 Nationals.

Junior Katie Matusik stepped up for the Cats in the beam competition, tying for first with a score of 9.850, and teammate Shana Sangston added a career-high 9.775 to the team effort.  Shangston, another diminutive competitor who just tops the 5-foot mark, is a freshman right out of Horizon Honors High School in Phoenix.

The Cats wrapped up a solid performance with a sweep of the top three spots in the floor competition, despite being without two of the team’s top performers.  Traditionally one of the Wildcat program’s strongest events, floor not been up to those lofty standards in the earlier meets this season.

“We decided we needed to rock McKale (Center) and show people what we could do,” admits Ryden.  “The fact that it helped us win the meet was great, but I was happier with how we showed people how to actually view Arizona floor.”

Russell took first place with a 9.850, Graham came in second with a 9.825, and Cristello tied with teammate Rebecca Cardenas for third with identical scores of 9.800.

Arizona had three gymnasts participating in the all-around competition against Boise State.  Cristello took second place overall behind the Broncos’ Glass, scoring a 39.025 to Glass’ 39.250.  Quirk finished with a 38.950 and Graham posted a 38.350.

(Photo: Arizona Athletics)