FAYETTEVILLE – The No. 11 University of Arkansas gymnastics team is getting set to start the 2014 season and a run for the NCAA Championships for the eighth time in program history. In the first of a four-part preview series, Arkansas returns three gymnasts from the vault lineup in 2013, welcomes back two gymnasts from injuries and adds a freshman to the 2014 vault lineup.
All-American Katherine Grable
, Heather Elswick
and Bailee Zumwalde
were a part of the 2013 rotation that was featured in the top 25 all season long, including reaching as high as the ninth-ranked rotation. The Razorbacks will also welcome back gymnasts Stephani Canizaro
and Scarlett Williams
to the rotation after missing the 2013 season. Lastly, Arkansas will welcome the edition of the highly recruited freshman all-around performer, Amanda Wellick
“We have more depth in our vault rotation this season and I think we are much stronger,” co-head coach Mark Cook
said. “We are more dynamic on vault this year, Amanda is doing a great job as a freshman right now and it is nice to have Scarlett back as well, her vaults are looking really good to start the season. Bailee will continue to be a consistent performer in the line-up for us this year and we will have Stephani back as well with her vaulting looking better than ever. Finally, we have Katherine Grable
who will be our cleanup batter at the end of the rotation with just a phenomenal vault.”
Each of the gymnasts returning have personal bests of 9.80 plus and will focus on sticking landings throughout the season. Grable will lead the rotation of three seniors with Williams and Zumwalde, junior Canizaro, sophomore Elswick and freshman Wellick.
“I like that we have more depth this year,” sophomore Elswick said. “At the end of our rotation, our vaults get more and more difficult so it will really motivate our lineup to keep getting better as the year goes on. Our goals for the season are to hit six for six vaults with a lot of sticks and to rack up as many points as we can to start out meets.”
Grable owns a personal best of 9.95, which she set this past season to help the team record a season high 49.425 vault rotation when the Razorbacks set a season high score of 197.100 versus Alabama in Barnhill Arena. Zumwalde set her 2013 season high of 9.825 several times, including a stuck landing at the SEC Championships helping the Razorbacks score their best team total in school history. Williams’ career best came at the 2012 NCAA Super Six competition with a 9.925 and Canizaro has earned a 9.80 on several times as a Razorback. Elswick owns a personal best of 9.90, which she scored a couple of times last season along with her earning the first event title of her career on the vault at Kentucky.
The Razorbacks begin the season on Friday, Jan. 10, hosting Western Michigan and Bridgeport in Barnhill Arena. The season opener is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.
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