The Arizona GymCats needed to score a 196.375 at the Pac-12 Championships if they hoped to lock in a place in NCAA Regionals. They got exactly what they needed. The only question was which region they would travel to.
That question has been answered. The GymCats will travel to Norman, Oklahoma to compete in the Oklahoma regional beginning March 30.
“Our season is still going on,” Arizona head coach John Court said after the Pac-12 Championships.
Arizona finished ranked 32nd in the nation. That means that they are one of the eight teams who will compete in the “play-in” round on the first day of the regional competition. The GymCats will face West Virginia, which finished their season at No. 31 with a 196.315 national qualifying score. Arizona had a 196.300, so there is very little difference between the two teams.
The winners of the four opening-round dual meets advance to join the other seven teams in their respective regions. Those teams compete in two sessions with the top two teams advancing to day three of regionals. The top two teams from that round continue on to the national semifinals. Individual athletes can also advance even if their teams do not.
Arizona is trying to join host Oklahoma, Minnesota, California, Arizona State, Arkansas, Boise State, and Utah State in the quad meets in Norman. The Wildcats have already faced the Sooners, the Golden Bears, the Sun Devils, and the Aggies this season. They were competitive against ASU but were soundly defeated by the other three teams.
Even if the Wildcats lose to West Virginia, several athletes have qualified to compete as individuals. Junior Malia Hargrove, who finished fourth in the Pac-12 all-around competition against a stacked field that included multiple former Olympians, has qualified as an all-arounder. Freshman Alysen Fears will compete on uneven bars, junior Sirena Linton qualified on beam, and sophomore Caroline Herry has a spot on floor exercise.