The Red Rocks make their long-awaited return to the Huntsman Center Friday night to face off against the 23rd ranked Arizona Wildcats. With a season average of 195.275, the Wildcats are the second lowest scoring team in the conference, just ahead of Stanford’s 195.269, however an upset victory over the previously 12th ranked Cal Bears last week has shown this young team has plenty of potential.
In the process of completing their upset over Cal, eight Wildcats achieved career high scores, including 9.900’s from junior Christina Berg on the floor, and senior Danielle Spencer on the uneven bars. In fact, the pair of 9.000’s from Berg and Spencer were the first scores for any Wildcat this season to break 9.875, a high-mark set by junior Maddi Leydin on the vault in their first meet of the season.
Despite a bevy of relatively low scores, Arizona has seen steady improvement since the start of the 2019 season, thanks in part to better floor routines. Opening the season with a 48.325, the Wildcats have since managed to climb to 48.700, then 49.025 and finally a 49.200 in last week’s matchup. Outside of Berg’s 9.900, sophomore Sydney Feiden’s 9.850 and senior Haylie Hendrickson’s 9.775 highs have certainly helped this drastic improvement.
As a team, the Wildcats strength comes on the bars, where they average a 48.937, placing them 19th best in the nation, with only one meet scoring below a 49.000 through their first four meets. The generally steady throughout the roster, Leydin has been a solid beacon of consistency for the Wildcats on the beam, claiming scores of 9.725, 9.825, 9.850 and 9.825 on the bars in 2019. In fact, as their lone all-around competitor, all of Leydin’sscores have stayed between a 9.700 and 9.875 this season save for a rare 9.025 on the beam against Cal.
With Utah and UCLA firmly cemented as the top two teams in the PAC-12, it seems unlikely the Red Rocks will be challenged by anyone until the February 23rd matchup with the Bruins (though the February 15th meet featuring the 5th ranked LSU Tigers, along with Missouri and Stanford could be exciting), but the Wildcats seem to have found their footing at just the right time to make for an interesting matchup. The meet kicks off at 7:00 PM MT on Friday (February 1st) with a live stream available through PAC-12.com.