FAYETTEVILLE - All-Americans Casey Jo Magee and Jaime Pisani were recognized as the co-Most Outstanding Gymnasts award winners as the University of Arkansas gymnastics team closed the year with its annual awards banquet on Sunday.
Arkansas finished 11th in the nation in 2010. The Razorbacks advanced to the NCAA Championship for the fourth time in their eight-year history, for the fourth time in five years and for the third time in four years. Arkansas earned an NCAA regional bid for the seventh straight season and finished second in the West Regional at UCLA.
Magee finished second in the nation in the all-around, fourth on beam, tied for fifth on bars and 12th on floor. She was a first-team All-American in the all-around, on bars, on beam and on floor. Pisani was 10th in the nation on floor and tied for 12th on vault. She was a first-team All-American on floor and vault, and second-team in the all-around.
"They contributed significantly in every meet to the success of the team," co-head coach René Cook says. "Their routines counted almost every time as well as usually being the highest score on each event."
Magee won 31 individual event titles over the season while Pisani had 18.
Magee and fellow seniors Amy DeFilippo and Sarah Nagashima shared the Samantha Cortez Leadership award.
"The reason we went with all three is because they are leaders in three very different ways," Cook says. "Casey Jo by example, Sarah by motivation and holding others accountable, and Amy is a servant leader by always putting the needs of others above hers."
Nagashima and DeFilippo shared the Katie Hardman GymBack Pride award.
"GymBack Pride is pushing through difficult times for the good of the team, and never thinking about yourself and the difficulties you are facing," Cook says. "Both Sarah and Amy suffered minor to not-so-minor injuries throughout the course of the season. They never gave up and never had a bad attitude. They both did anything and everything they could do to help the team be successful."
DeFilippo set career highs this year on bars, floor and in the all-around. Nagashima won three event titles and set career highs on bars, beam, floor and in the all-around.
Freshman Kelci Lewis received the Dana McQuillin Coaches award and sophomore Mariah Howdeshell was named Most Improved.
"The Coaches award is based on overall coachability," Cook says. "It also includes areas outside of the gym, such as was this person a good representative of the program, are they a good citizen and teammate, were they open-minded and grew as a person and a teammate."
At the NCAA Session II semifinal, Lewis tied for 16th on vault and tied for 21st on floor. She also competed as an all-arounder during the season.
"Mariah improved in every area of her life," Cook says. "She competed beam this year and was consistently training on floor. She matured as a teammate, and her approach to her studies and her responsibilities were greatly improved."
Howdeshell set career highs on vault, bars and beam.
Sophomore Genny Salvatore won the Scholastic award and manager Ashley Binns the Binns/Conroy Service award.