No. 17 UA GymCats may face final meet without top senior

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                </div>  The University of Arizona women’s gymnastics team was on a roll as the Cats were building momentum with back-to-back wins and ready to roll into Saturday’s final match of the […]<!-- AddThis Sharing Buttons below -->
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The University of Arizona women’s gymnastics team was on a roll as the Cats were building momentum with back-to-back wins and ready to roll into Saturday’s final match of the season at McKale  – until an injury took down one of the team’s top competitors that will be honored on Senior Night.

It’s a psychological speed bump that will test the team’s resolve.

The GymCats are coming off a road trip last weekend through Michigan and Texas in which they first won a quad meet at Michigan State in Lansing on Friday and then headed out again to Denton, Texas, where they secured a place in the UofA record books by scoring a season-high 197.125 points to run away from host Texas Women’s University.

The point total is the third-highest score in the history of the program.

But it came with a price when senior all-around gymnast Allie Flores was injured in the floor routine and could not finish the event.  She and teammate Selynna Felix-Terrazas tied for first place in the bars and then Flores took third in the vault, again in a tie, this time with teammate Jessie Sisler.  Junior Julie Edwards won the event with a score of 9.875.

Flores began her college career competing in the bars, but moved into all-around as a sophomore.  By the time she finished her junior year, she was named to the Pac-12 All-Conference First team.

The wins in Michigan and Texas have enabled the GymCats to continue their climb in the national rankings.  This week’s standings report shows them at No. 17, up a couple of rungs from No. 19 the week before.

They were scheduled to take place in a tri-meet in Michigan, against Michigan State and Eastern Michigan University, but Bowling Green State University was added at the last minute.  Arizona scored 195.450, but had to come back from a slow start to the event, finishing the uneven bars with a disappointing 48.275 score.

But Flores joined with teammates Edwards and Madison Cindric to post scores of 9.825 in the beam to begin rebuilding the team’s confidence. Flores and Sisler led the way on the floor competition with identical scores of 9.850, and then Edwards had her best vault of the season in that event, 9.900, for a second place.  And then Cindric, Edwards, and Flores tied for second place in the balance beam and Flores and Sisler tied for third on the floor.

Flores finished in first place in the all-around competition.

Bill Ryden, in his 17th year as head coach of the Arizona program, found something beyond the final scores that impressed him after the quad meet as he felt it showed “the heart and competitive spirit” of this squad.  “We didn’t have the best start,” he said, “but they were able to come back and beat three teams, all of which performed exceptionally well.”

And, if Flores is unable to compete this Saturday on Senior Night, that heart and competitive spirit will be tested once again.

(Photo: Arizona Athletics)