FAYETTEVILLE - Arkansas senior All-American Jaime Pisani is ranked No. 1 in the nation in the all-around and on floor, and now she's No. 1 in the Southeastern Conference after being named SEC Gymnast of the Year in a vote of the league's coaches.
Pisani, who leads Arkansas into the NCAA South Central Regional in Barnhill Arena on April 7, is the first Razorback to earn the SEC award. She has also earned first-team All-SEC honors.
Pisani is ranked No. 1 in the country in the all-around for the third consecutive week and is No. 1 on floor for the second straight week after earlier leading the nation for a five-week stretch. Combining both events, she's spent a total of nine weeks this year in the top-ranked position in the country.
Pisani has a Regional Qualifying Score (RQS) of 39.590 in the all-around with an average of 39.464. On floor, she's tied for first with an RQS of 9.940 and leads the nation with an average of 9.927. Her school-record highs of 39.725 in the all-around and 9.975 on floor equal the highs in the nation this year.
"It's a really proud moment," co-head coach Mark Cook says. "Our program isn't that old, but to win that award is amazing. Several of the top teams in the country are in our conference, but she's been outstanding all year."
Pisani, who is from Ringwood, N.J., is also tied for seventh on beam, tied for ninth on bars and tied for 15th on vault. She has 31 individual event titles this year and 90 for her career.
Her highs are 9.95 on vault, 9.95 on bars, 9.95 on beam, 9.975 on floor and 39.725 in the all-around. In addition to the school records on floor and in the all-around, her 9.95 on beam and 9.95 on bars tie Arkansas' bests, while her 9.95 on vault ties for second.
"It's not that surprising to me because I know how competitive she is and how talented and focused she is," co-head coach René Cook says. "Her confidence and her will to compete keep us in the ballgame. She's great."
A nine-time All-American, Pisani finished 10th on floor and 12th on vault in the NCAA individual event finals in 2010, and fifth on floor and seventh in the all-around in 2011.
Pisani had a big meet at the SEC Championship on March 24, winning the beam title, and finishing second in the all-around and on floor. Her all-around score of 39.50 is a school record for the SEC meet while her 9.90 on floor and beam tie the school records for the SEC Championship. Pisani is just the second Razorback to win an SEC title. Casey Jo Magee won beam in 2009.
Over the final three weeks of the regular season, in meets against Minnesota, at West Virginia and at Missouri, Pisani won 13 of 15 individual titles.
"She's been the rock of our team this year," Mark says. "She leads by example and her work ethic."
Pisani and the Razorbacks have earned a spot in an NCAA Regional for the ninth straight year, every year the program has existed with the exception of the first season in 2003.
Barnhill Arena is the site of the South Central Regional on April 7 at 4 p.m. Teams competing include No. 3 UCLA, No. 10 Arkansas, No. 15 Boise State, No. 19 Missouri, No. 29 New Hampshire and No. 34 Maryland.
Tickets for the regional are $10 for adults. The first 500 UA students will be admitted free with a valid university ID. For others, 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.