DULUTH, Ga. - Senior All-American Jaime Pisani won the Southeastern Conference beam title at the gymnastics championship meet on Saturday on the way to setting an Arkansas school meet record in the all-around while tying the records on floor and beam.
The 10th-ranked Razorbacks bounced back after a rough start in the first rotation to post good scores in their last three events.
With all-arounders Katherine Grable and Jordan Salsberg out with injuries, the Razorbacks struggled on floor and had to count two mistakes for a 47.575. Arkansas regrouped and followed with a 49.05 on vault, a 48.85 on bars and a 48.70 on beam for a 194.175 total.
"We're disappointed to come in here and start the first event with three falls," co-head coach René Cook said. "That's not the way you want to start any competition, but we did fight hard on vault and for the rest of the meet."
The vault score is Arkansas' third-best for an SEC meet while the bars score is fourth-best.
No. 1 Florida won the title with 197.15 points, followed by No. 3 Alabama with 196.775, No. 5 Georgia 196.575, No. 8 LSU 196.425, No. 24 Kentucky 194.35, No. 10 Arkansas 194.175 and No. 15 Auburn 194.10.
Pisani was a star, as she's been all year. Ranked No. 1 in the nation on both floor and in the all-around, she had a 9.875 vault, 9.825 on bars, 9.90 on beam and 9.90 on floor for a 39.50 title, breaking the previous school meet record in the all-around of 39.40 by Casey Jo Magee in 2010.
She won the SEC beam title with her 9.90 and finished second on floor with a 9.90.
"Jaime has done a great job all year and it's nice to see her continue to do great," Cook says.
Arkansas opened on floor and Bailee Zumwalde led off with a 9.80, but the next two Razorbacks had mistakes. Stephani Canizaro stumbled on her second pass and Sammy Kolbas fell on her second pass, scoring a 9.125 and 8.90, respectively. Kelci Lewis, who missed the last two weeks with an ankle injury, stumbled on her second pass and couldn't complete her routine, although she tried to fight through it before being told to stop. She scored an 8.30.
Junior All-American Amy Borsellino followed with a 9.85 and senior All-American Jaime Pisani, who is ranked No. 1 in the nation on floor, closed the rotation with a 9.90. Pisani's score ties the school record for the SEC Championship, which she set in 2010 and 2011, and shares with Dana McQuillin from 2004. Borsellino's 9.85 ties the ninth-best mark in school history for the SEC meet.
"Kelci couldn't finish so we had to count those falls," Cook said. "We put ourselves in a hole and it's hard to get out of it. People start to tighten up because they are worried about making their routines and that makes it even harder. We'll get back home and start working harder than we have been."
Arkansas scored a 47.575 as a team. After the first rotation, Alabama led with a 49.275 on bars, followed by Georgia at 49.175 on vault, Florida 49.05 on beam and Arkansas.
The Razorbacks then went to a bye before moving to vault where they put up good numbers.
Canizaro took Lewis' place following the injury and led off with a 9.75. Borsellino, sophomore Scarlett Williams and senior Mariah Howdeshell all followed with a 9.80. Pisani scored a 9.875 and Zumwalde ended the order with a 9.775 for a 49.05, which is Arkansas' third-best for the SEC Championship.
Pisani's score ties the school's third-best in the SEC meet.
The Razorbacks had their second bye before going to bars.
Following three rotations, Georgia led with 98.375 points, followed by Florida with 98.25, Alabama 98.10, Kentucky 97.30, Arkansas 96.625, LSU 49.15 and Kentucky 48.90.
On bars, Arkansas scored a 48.85, the school's fourth-best for an SEC meet. Pisani and sophomore Shelby Salmon led the way with a 9.825, followed by Howdeshell with a 9.80, and Borsellino and Canizaro with a 9.70.
The Razorbacks closed on beam and scored a 48.70. Pisani led the way with a school meet record-tying 9.90, followed by Borsellino and Salmon with a 9.725, and Williams and Kolbas with a 9.675.
Arkansas competes again on April 7 in the NCAA South Central Regional, which the Razorbacks are hosting in Barnhill Arena. NCAA selections are announced on Monday and the other five teams competing in Fayetteville will be released at that time. The regional meet begins at 4 p.m.
Tickets for the regional are $10 for adults. A $5 ticket is available for youth/students, everyone 18 and younger or with a valid UA student ID. A family plan is also available, including two adult and two youth tickets for $25.
Tickets can be purchased at the UA Ticket Center on Razorback Road, by calling 479-575-5151 or 800-982-4647, or online at ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
The SEC Championship will be televised on a tape delay basis on ESPN2. Air date is March 29 at 8 p.m. (central). It also airs on ESPNU on April 2 at 8 p.m.
For more information regarding Razorback soccer or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
March 24, 2012
The Arena of Gwinnett Center
No. 1 Florida 197.15, No. 3 Alabama 196.775, No. 5 Georgia 196.575, No. 8 LSU 196.425, No. 24 Kentucky 194.35, No. 10 Arkansas 194.175, No. 15 Auburn 194.10