FAYETTEVILLE – The No. 11 University of Arkansas gymnastics team posted a 196.200 to kick-start the 2014 season with a tri-meet win over Bridgeport (190.975) and Western Michigan (190.650). The team’s score Friday is the second-highest score in a season opener for the Razorbacks.
Senior All-American Katherine Grable
led the Razorbacks with an all-around score of a 39.475 to claim three event titles for the meet on the vault, floor and all-around to make her grand total of her career at 37. Sophomore Sydnie Dillard
nailed her first routine of the 2014 season on the beam to the tune of a 9.90 and set a career best and capture the event title.
“I think a solid score like this for the team is great to start the season,” Grable said. “I think this meet will really build our confidence to start the season.”
Freshmen Samantha Nelson
and Amanda Wellick
each scored routines of 9.80 plus to begin their careers as Razorbacks. Wellick earned three scores better than a 9.80 on the bars (9.875), beam (9.825) and floor (9.825) to earn her first all-around score of a 39.300. Nelson added a 9.825 on the beam.
“I think to start the season off with such a strong score, reiterates how much potential we have on this team,” co-head coach René Lyst said. “This is a phenomenal team and we are really excited for this season. To go out of the gates with such a strong score is really exciting.”
The Razorbacks started the meet in Olympic order on the vault and picked up a 48.975 for the rotation with two scores above a 9.80. Senior Scarlett Williams
recorded a 9.80 in her return to the lineup after missing the 2013 campaign. Grable started off her night by sticking a 9.875 to anchor the rotation.
On the bars, the Razorbacks had a string of three routines in a row to end the rotation of 9.80 plus to score a 49.225 for the event. Sophomore Erin Freier
scored a 9.85 in the second spot in the lineup and then Wellick, Grable and senior Shelby Salmon
finished the lineup strong for the Razorbacks. Wellick recorded a 9.875, Grable a 9.85 and Salmon a 9.875.
On the beam, the Razorbacks recorded the second-highest rotation of the meet with a 49.175 after the last four up scored better than 9.825. Wellick started the strong scores with a 9.825 followed by SEC All-Freshman teamer Dillard who set a career best at 9.90. Nelson added a 9.825 to the rotation and Grable anchored with a 9.85.
“Hopefully myself and the team can continue to get better on the beam this year,” sophomore Dillard said. “The whole team this year is amazing on the beam and we are looking to break some records.”
In the final rotation, the Razorbacks finished strong with a 9.80 from sophomore Heather Elswick
followed by a 9.825 from Wellick. Grable capped the meet with a 9.90 on the floor to win the event and make the Razorbacks final score of 196.200.
The Razorbacks will return to action when the team travels to Columbia, Mo., to compete in the squad’s first road conference meet against Missouri. The meet is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m.
For more information on Arkansas gymnastics, follow @RazorbackGYM on Twitter.