Most sports in the Pac-12 have a preseason all-conference team. For the first time, Pac-12 gymnastics joins them with its preseason watch lists for returning athletes and newcomers. The Arizona GymCats placed Malia Hargrove and Caroline Herry on the list for returners that was announced by the conference on Monday morning.
Hargrove has been a cornerstone of the team since arriving her freshman year, competing in every meet for the team over her first three seasons. The senior went to nationals on floor exercise as a sophomore two years ago. As a junior, she earned a career-high 39.500 in the all-around competition at last year’s Norman Regional and had a career-best 9.925 on the beam when Arizona defeated then-No. 4 Utah for the first time in program history.
Hargrove will once again be a mainstay for the GymCats. She is expected to compete in the all-around again this season and will be the only member of the team competing a vault with a 10.0 start value to start the year. She holds career highs of 9.900 on vault and uneven bars. On floor exercise and balance beam, her career high is 9.925.
Herry has also competed in every meet since she got to campus. She has career highs of 9.825 on vault, 9.900 on balance beam, and 9.950 on floor exercise, all set during her sophomore season last year. Prior to the team’s showcase on Dec. 10, head coach John Court noted that she is one of the athletes who looks especially good on vault, which has been a weaker event for the program in recent years.
Arizona was picked to finish eighth among the Pac-12’s eight teams that compete in gymnastics, but it is No. 25 in the WCGA preseason rankings. The GymCats finished 26th according to the final national qualifying scores maintained by Road to Nationals last season.
The team will start the year Jan. 8 on the road at No. 19 Ohio State, facing Greenville and No. 11 Kentucky in addition to the Buckeyes. The GymCats will have their home opener on Jan. 14 when they welcome in No. 23 Illinois, Texas Women’s, and Bowling Green.