BIG BUSY WEEK FOR RAZORBACKS
Arkansas opened the “week” hosting No. 1 Florida Friday, Jan. 23. The Razorbacks set a school record on the vault and defeated Florida for the first-time in program history. It was also the program’s first win over the top-ranked team in the country.
Arkansas departed Sunday for a Monday night meet in Norman, Okla., against the Sooners. The Razorbacks again upset a higher-ranked team and broke a school record scoring a 196.90 en route to the win. Arkansas was supposed to depart for Fayetteville after the meet but crippling ice storms gripped the area and forced Arkansas to remain in Norman overnight.
The Razorbacks left Norman around 11 a.m. but poor road conditions forced the team off the road near Henryetta, Okla. Arkansas made do at the Green Country Inn with a truck stop and gas station at the exit. The team hit the road again Wednesday morning to get back to Fayetteville in the late afternoon.
Arkansas gets right back in the gym hosting Alabama Friday, at 7 p.m.
MAGEE GETS IT DONE
Arkansas junior Casey Jo Magee has won four consecutive all-around titles. She set a school record with a 39.525 against No. 1 Florida, led Arkansas to a win over the top-ranked Gators for the first time in school history, led the Razorbacks to a road win at No. 7 Oklahoma two days after the Florida meet and helped the team to a school record with a 196.90 in Norman.
PISANI HONORED BY SEC
Jaime Pisani was named the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week the league office announced Tuesday. Pisani, a 5-2 all-arounder from Ringwood, N.J., posted two career-bests helping the No. 8 Razorbacks to a big SEC win over No. 1 Florida last Friday. Pisani scored a 9.90 on vault tying for the individual title and had a 9.925 on floor to win her second individual floor title. That mark is also the best score for Arkansas on floor this year. Pisani and the Razorbacks are coming off a pair of big meets. Arkansas upset top-ranked Florida getting the program’s first win over the Gators in school history as well as the gymnastics team’s first win over the No. 1 team in the country. The award is the first SEC Freshman of the Week honor for the Razorbacks since the league added it in 2007. She becomes the fifth Razorback to be honored by the SEC in its weekly awards program joining Dana McQuillin (2004), Katie Hardman (2006), Cassie Drew (2007) and Michelle Stout (2008), all of whom were named SEC Gymnast of the Week.
MICHELLE STOUT HAVING GOOD YEAR
Junior Michelle Stout has had a great start to 2009. The All-American has won a share of four consecutive vault titles with season-bests at No. 9 Oregon State and against No. 1 Florida. In addition, she has finished inside the top seven in all of the other events in every meet. Stout posted a career-best 39.400 as an all-arounder finishing second against No. 1 Florida. She also tied for second at No. 7 Oklahoma and was second against No. 21 Ohio State in the opener.
This week’s meet will be televised by ESPN2 on a tape delay basis. The Razorbacks last home meet was a televised event on CST and the meet against Georgia in February will also air on CST. The meet airs Feb. 15, at 5 p.m. on the Deuce.
NORMAN, Okla. Neither snow nor rain nor a tough opponent shall rattle the eighth-ranked University of Arkansas gymnastics team as they battled weather and No. 7 Oklahoma in Norman, Okla., Monday.
In the Razorbacks’ second meet in four days, Arkansas (4-1, 1-0 SEC) scored a school record 196.90 defeating No. 7 OU for the first time in the Razorbacks’ program history, 196.90-195.625. Junior Casey Jo Magee won her fourth consecutive all-around title scoring a 39.425. Freshman Jaime Pisani and junior Michelle Stout tied for second with Pisani posting a career-best. Junior Sarah Nagashima was fourth with a career-best 39.225. Arkansas swept all the individual titles in the meet. Magee, in addition to winning the all-around, tied for the bars and beam title. Stout tied with Pisani in the vault win while junior Amy DeFilippo tied for the beam title.
ARKANSAS IN THE RANKINGS
The Razorbacks remained eighth in the country this week after a solid start to the year. This week’s poll again is determined by season scoring average and does not yet factor in Arkansas’ school record 196.90 at No. 7 Oklahoma Monday.
Arkansas is ranked 11th on the vault this week. That is the second-best ranking in program history. The Razorbacks were ranked 10th for a couple weeks last year and were 11th for eight of the 13 weeks in 2008.
The Razorbacks are second on floor exercise this week. That is the highest ranking in program history. Arkansas was third the first two weeks of the season and sixth one week last year and that was the previous bests. The Razorbacks were in the top 10 on floor all of last season.
Finally, Arkansas is in the top 13 in all five ranking categories. This is the second time this year for the Razorbacks to be that highly ranked across the board. Arkansas spent four consecutive weeks (Feb. 4-Feb. 24) in the 13 in all five areas last year as well.
SEASON AVERAGES GOOD
Arkansas’ season averages are good. The Razorbacks are averaging 49.019 on vault, 49.113 on bars, 48.919 on beam, 49.194 on floor and 196.224 as a team. All those numbers are up from last year’s average except the vault (it was 49.071 last year). The team average last year was just 195.805.
ABOUT ALABAMA (from rolltide.com)
The Alabama Gymnastics team is ninth in the national rankings again this week after putting up its best score of the season, 196.275, last Friday at Georgia. Partially on the strength of its score against the Crimson Tide Friday, Georgia jumped to No. 1 this week, followed by Utah, UCLA, Stanford and Florida. Auburn is sixth this week, followed by Oklahoma at No. 7. Alabama’s next opponent, Arkansas, is eighth while LSU rounds out the top 10. During this portion of the gymnastics season the rankings are determined by overall average. The Tide is also the nation’s No. 1 ranked balance beam team again this week after scoring a season-high 49.25 in Athens Friday. Alabama is seventh on the vault, 10th on the uneven bars and 18th on the floor exercise this week.
Junior Ricki Lebegern is ranked 13th in the all-around and junior Morgan Dennis is ranked fourth on the vault and 20th on the balance beam. Freshman Ashley Priess is 13th on the uneven bars and tied for 20th with Dennis on the balance beam. Freshman Geralen Stack-Eaton is ranked 13th on the balance beam.
Alabama remains on the road this weekend, traveling to Fayetteville, Ark. to take on the Razorbacks in Barnhill Arena at 7 p.m. CT. It will mark the Tide’s fourth meet in a row against SEC competition and its third road meet in its first four meets.
Arkansas is 1-14 lifetime against the Crimson Tide. The lone Razorback win came last year when Arkansas traveled to UCLA for a quad meet with the Bruins, Crimson Tide and CS-Fullerton. Arkansas won the meet defeating both No. 6 Alabama and No. 9 UCLA as well as No. 44 CSF. It is the only win in school history against the Crimson Tide but it did not count as an SEC win. Alabama won that meeting in Tuscaloosa earlier in the year.
THE FIRST TIME
Arkansas faces Alabama as the higher-ranked team for the first time in program history. The Crimson Tide has been ranked as high as No. 2 (2-16-07) and as low as No. 12 (3-9-08) but has almost always been ranked higher than Arkansas. The only exception came Feb. 25, 2005, when Alabama was not ranked due to a snafu in the on-line input process.
The Razorbacks get back into a regular routine as they travel to Kentucky and Auburn on the next two Fridays. Arkansas has never lost to the Wildcats with an 11-0-1 record all-time. Auburn is always tough in their home gym and Arkansas is 7-5 against the Tigers all-time. The Razorbacks are 3-1 in the last four meetings with Auburn finishing ahead of Arkansas at last year’s SEC Championship.