Arizona's Randi Liljenquist Travels to the NCAA Championships in Search of National Title
What's Coming Up - After a week off from competition, Arizona gymnast Randi Liljenquist travels to the NCAA Championships this week to represent the University of Arizona gymnastics team in the all-around finals Thursday, April 13. Boise State University is the host institution for the championships, and the three-day competition will take place in the Pavilion Arena, in Boise, Idaho. Liljenquist, who qualified as the No. 4 at-large seed in the all-around finals, is making her first trip to the NCAA Championships. She is set to compete in the afternoon session of the all-around finals, at 1 p.m., and will rotate with the Georgia Bulldogs throughout the session. Liljenquist, a 5-2 sophomore from Tucson, Ariz., qualified as the fourth seed in the all-around after finishing third at the NCAA Region III Championships (April 1) with a score of 39.275. Liljenquist's all-around score was the fourth-highest regional qualifying score out of the 12 at-large competitors who are not members of one of the 12 teams that qualified to the championships. Liljenquist's all-around score is her fifth-best mark this season, and she also won the regional beam title with a 9.900. She ended the regional meet tied for sixth on vault (9.850), tied for 20th on bars (9.700) and tied for seventh on floor (9.825). Liljenquist was named to the All-Pac-10 team for her performance in the balance beam and all-around events, marking the first time in her Wildcat career that she has received all-conference honors.
NCAA Championship Structure - Preliminary team and all-around competition will be conducted in two sessions Thursday, April 13. The top three teams from each session will advance to the Super Six competition Friday, April 14. The top four individuals from each session in each event (plus ties) from the preliminary team and all-around competition will compete in the individual-event competition Saturday, April 15, at 7 p.m. The all-around winner will be announced Thursday following the conclusion of the preliminary team and all-around competition.
Head Coach Bill Ryden on Randi Liljenquist - Randi (Liljenquist) is doing flawless gymnastics at this point in the season, and she has just had a phenomenal sophomore year. She has all-arounded in every meet, and Randi is always trying to improve in every event. She has matured as a gymnast, and now she has to prove this week that she can compete against the best in the country. Randi making it to nationals is just the culmination of a very good season. She has made a lot of sacrifices, and she has worked very hard to get to this point. Randi has a very good chance of doing well at NCAAs because she is one of the best beam and floor workers in the entire country. She has a good draw, considering she will be rotating with Georgia, and I am confident in her abilities as a gymnast.
Arizona's Last Action - The University of Arizona women's gymnastics team finished fourth with a score of 194.100 at the NCAA Region III Championships April 1 in front of a crowd of 1,009, in the McKale Center. The Wildcats made their 14th-consecutive trip to the postseason but missed qualifying for one of the two regional team berths to the NCAA Championships. Fifth-ranked Nebraska (30-5 overall) and seventh-ranked Louisiana State (19-5-1 overall) finished first and second, respectively, and qualified for the NCAA Championships.
Nebraska led the field with a 196.875, LSU posted a 195.650, and No. 18 Arizona State landed in third with a 195.500. Illinois-Chicago (193.650) and Missouri (190.975) rounded out the regional field in fifth and sixth place. Top-seeded Nebraska won the vault and bars team events, and Cornhusker senior Heather Brink took the vault (10.000), bars (9.975) and all-around (39.700) titles. LSU, the regional's No. 2 seed, took the floor team event and tied Nebraska for team honors on beam. Tiger sophomore Nicki Arnstad won the floor crown with a 9.950.
Fourth-seeded Arizona (7-19 overall) experienced some uncharacteristic falls on bars and beam, and the Wildcats found themselves in sixth place after two events. Following a bye during the third rotation, Arizona roared back on floor and vault in the fourth and fifth rotations. The UA scored a season-high 49.175 on vault in Arizona's last event of the meet, and the score is the second-highest mark in school history. Arizona's meet total of 194.100 is the fifth-highest team score of the season.
Individually for the Wildcats, sophomore Randi Liljenquist won the beam title with a 9.900 and will advance to the NCAA Championships to compete in the event. Liljenquist was Arizona's top finisher in the all-around, ending the meet in third with a 39.275her ninth all-around score this season over 39.000. She tied a career-high 9.850 on vault and tied for sixth in the event, and she finished seventh on floor with a 9.825.
Senior Heidi Hornbeek, a seven-time All-Pac-10 and six-time All-America selection, competed in her last meet in McKale Center. Hornbeek finished second on vault with a 9.900, tied for 11th on bars with a 9.750, and closed out the meet tied for sixth in the all-around with a 39.050. Hornbeek has scored over the 39.000 mark in six out of the last seven competitions.
Junior Kara Fry tied for sixth in the all-around (39.050) and finished fourth on beam (9.850). Fry tied a career-high 9.725 on vault and tied for 11th on bars with a 9.750. Freshman Nikki Beyschau scored a career-high 9.875 on vault and finished third in the event, and she tied for 11th in the all-around with a 38.475. Senior Gretchen Diaz set a season-high 9.775 on vault in the final meet of her Wildcat career.
I am really happy with how we came back, said Arizona head coach Bill Ryden. Our four all-arounders (Beyschau, Fry, Hornbeek, Liljenquist) came out fighting, and Heidi (Hornbeek) should not have been competing at all. She has three bulging disks in her back and three permanent back fractures. But, regardless of whether this is Heidi's last meet, she showed why she has defined the sport at Arizona. I am very proud of the entire team because the gymnasts never gave up.
Liljenquist's Leadership Sophomore sensation Randi Liljenquist has paced Arizona with consistent performances throughout the 2000 season... She underwent voluntary elbow surgery last summer because she wanted a chance to compete on vault and in the all-around... Liljenquist has won 17 first-place titles, including six career all-around titles, and she has posted a total of 40 top-five finishes so far this season... As a result of her performances this season, she was named to the All-Pac-10 team on beam and in the all-around... The two-time All-Pac-10 selection holds Arizona's top individual season scores on beam (9.925), floor (10.000) and in the all-around (39.525) and is tied with senior Heidi Hornbeek for the top score on bars (9.925)... Liljenquist has participated in the all-around in all 13 meets this season, and she has scored over the 39.000 mark in nine out of Arizona's 13 competitions... She is ranked No. 14 in the all-around, tied for 20th on floor and is tied for 24th in the nation on beam... Liljenquist's set five career-high scores this season, and her career-high marks in all four events and in the all-around have earned her a place in the Arizona record books... Her career-high score of 39.525 in the all-around (3/3) tied the No. 2 score in school history, and her career-high 10.000 on floor tied Heidi Hornbeek for the school record in the event... Liljenquist's career-best 9.925 on beam places her in a tie for third-best UA beam score... Her career-high 9.925 on bars tied the fifth-highest score in Arizona history, and Liljenquist's career-high 9.850 on vault has moved her into a tie for the eighth-best Wildcat vault score... Liljenquist was Arizona's top finisher at the NCAA Region III Championships, and she closed out the regional meet as the third-place finisher in the all-around with a 39.275her fifth-best mark this season... She also won the beam title with a 9.900, tied for sixth on vault with a career-high 9.850, tied for 20th on bars with a 9.700 and tied for seventh on floor with a 9.825 in the regional competition.
Honored, I'm Sure Sophomore Randi Liljenquist was named to the All-Pac-10 team on beam and in the all-around April 10... Liljenquist, who earned her first all-conference honors this season, was one of only six Pac-10 gymnasts selected to the team in the all-around... Senior All-American Heidi Hornbeek and sophomore Brooke Stan were named to the Pacific-10 Conference's all-academic teams March 15... Hornbeek received first-team honors for the third time in her career (2000, 1999 and 1997)... Stan was an honorable mention selection, receiving all-academic accolades for the first time in her career... Hornbeek was also named to the 2000 GTE Fall/Winter Women's At-Large Academic All-American team for District VIII... This is the third time in Hornbeek's career that she has been selected to the GTE Academic All-District VIII team after previously receiving the honor in 1999 and 1997.
High Marks for the Wildcats Arizona's season highs in all four events and the team total currently rank on the UA's all-time top-10 list... Arizona's season-high 195.675 (3/3) ranks as the fourth-highest meet total in school history... The Wildcats' score of 49.175 on vault (4/1) is the second-highest vault mark in Arizona history... The Wildcats scored a season-high 49.200 against Minnesota (2/20) on bars and tied the No. 5 score on the all-time list... The UA's season-high 49.000 on beam (3/3) also tied the fifth-best beam score... Arizona's season-high 49.375 on floor (2/20) is an all-time team record.
Arizona Gymnasts in the Record Books Randi Liljenquist's score of 39.525 (3/3) tied the second-highest all-around score in school history... Her career-high 10.000 on floor (3/3) tied Heidi Hornbeek for the school record in that event... Liljenquist's career-high 9.925 on beam (2/4) has moved the sophomore gymnast into a tie for the third-highest beam score in the Arizona record books... Her career-high 9.925 on bars (3/3) tied the No. 5 score in UA history... Liljenquist's career-high 9.850 on vault (3/10, 4/1) has moved her into a tie for the eighth-best Arizona vault score... Kara Fry's career-high 9.900 on beam (2/11) has moved her into a tie for the No. 5 beam score in Arizona gymnastics history, and her career-high 9.900 on floor (2/18) puts her in a tie for the fifth-highest UA floor score... Fry's new career-high 39.325 in the all-around (2/20) has pushed her up in the record books after posting Arizona's sixth-highest all-around score... Nikki Beyschau has found a place in Arizona's record books after scoring a career-high 9.900 on bars (1/21) that tied the No. 7 bars mark... She is tied for the No. 8 all-around score after posting a career-high 39.250 against Michigan (3/3)... Heidi Hornbeek's career-high marks of 39.700 in the all-around, a 10.000 on vault, a 9.950 on beam and a 10.000 on floor are the top scores in Arizona history, while her career-high 9.950 on bars is the third-best UA gymnastics score.
Cat Scratches Head coach Bill Ryden has had one gymnast qualify for the all-around finals in his two years at the helm of the program... Senior Heidi Hornbeek qualified as the No. 1 at-large seed in the all-around and earned a berth to the 1999 NCAA Championships where she received All-America accolades in the uneven bars, balance beam and all-around events... Arizona ended the season with a 5-4 regular season home meet record... The UA closed out the regular season without any road victories (0-12) after six away meets... The Wildcats faced 11 ranked opponents this season... Randi Liljenquist, Kara Fry and Heidi Hornbeek are the only Wildcats listed in the Pac-10 rankings as of April 10... Liljenquist is tied for No. 6 in the all-around (39.525), tied for No. 8 on bars (9.925), tied for third on beam (9.925) and tied for first on floor (10.000)... Hornbeek is tied for 10th in the all-around (39.375), tied for sixth on vault (9.950) and tied for eighth on bars (9.925)... Fry is tied for 10th on beam (9.900)... Liljenquist is one of only three Pac-10 gymnasts to score a perfect 10.000 on floor this season... Head coach Bill Ryden has a 21-29-1 career and school record... At least two Wildcat gymnasts set or tied season-high and career-high marks in the last eight meets... The 2000 season marked the first time the Cats opened the conference with an 0-2 record since 1998 when Arizona started the year 0-3 in the Pac-10... The 2000 season marked the second year in a row that the Cats opened competition against a Pac-10 opponent... Arizona had six regular-season home meets, and the Wildcats only had to leave the state four times during the regular season... 11 UA opponents (Michigan, UCLA, Utah, Nebraska, LSU, Stanford, Minnesota, Arizona State, Washington, Denver and Oregon State) were ranked in the March 28 top-25 national poll and the same teams began the season ranked in the women's gymnastics preseason top-25 poll.
Arizona in the Rankings Arizona dropped three spots to No. 31 in the final regular-season national gymnastics poll (March 28)... The Wildcats were ranked No. 14 in the nation on vault as of March 28... Randi Liljenquist and Heidi Hornbeek are the only Wildcats ranked in the national polls... Liljenquist is No. 14 in the all-around, tied for No. 24 on beam and tied for No. 20 on floor... Hornbeek is tied for No. 10 on vault... The UA closed out the regular season as the No. 4 team in Region III, which consists of 11 teams... The Cats were listed at No. 3 on vault, No. 5 on bars, No. 8 on beam and No. 5 on floor heading into the regional meet... Heidi Hornbeek was No. 2 on vault, No. 5 on bars and No. 6 in the all-around... Randi Liljenquist is tied for No. 22 on vault, tied for No. 15 on bars, tied for No. 3 on beam, No. 4 on floor and No. 2 in the all-around... Nikki Beyschau was No. 13 on vault, No. 19 on bars and No. 13 in the all-around... Kara Fry was No. 26 on bars, tied for No. 8 on beam, tied for No. 22 on floor and No. 10 in the all-around... Heather Straccia was the fifth Wildcat gymnast in the regional rankings, coming in at No. 20 on vault... The Wildcats were ranked in the top 30 for seven out of the last eight weeks of competition... Arizona began its second-straight season ranked No. 16 in the women's gymnastics preseason coaches' poll... Women's gymnastics rankings are available at: www.troester.com/gym/WRankings.