ST. LOUIS, Mo. – The Arkansas gymnastics team saw its improbable turnaround season come to an end inside Chaifetz Arena in St. Louis, Mo. as the Razorbacks finished sixth in the first session of the NCAA Gymnastics Championships with a score of 196.425. The Razorbacks finished 10th overall at the Championships, securing their first top-10 finish since 2013.
The Razorbacks, who finished last season 27th in the country and saw its 2017 campaign end at the NCAA Fayetteville Regional, rebounded this season despite 17 of 24 competed routines coming from underclassmen. The team was making its first appearance at the NCAA Championships since 2013, and eighth overall.
After starting the meet on a bye, the Razorbacks began the meet on the floor. Senior Amanda Wellick recorded a 9.825 in what would be her final floor routine of her career. After a 9.7875 from sophomore Jessica Yamzon, sophomore Michaela Burton and freshman Sophia Carter posted 9.8625’s each to lead the Razorbacks to a 49.125 on the event.
On the vault, Yamzon began the rotation with a 9.725. The Razorbacks, who stuck 23 of 24 routines, had its only mishap in the two position as sophomore Hailey Garner fell and was scored a 8.8875. The Razorbacks recovered and had three straight scores over 9.800, including a 9.875 from senior Braie Speed. Speed has been one of the more consistent vaulters in program history and will finish her career scoring a 9.8 or higher in 36 of 40 vault routines. Burton, who had vaulted just once in her career before today, was forced into the anchor spot on vault due to injuries and tallied a 9.5125 on a 9.7 start value.
The Razorbacks ended the meet strong, posting a 49.2875 on bars, its highest score on the event in its eight appearances at the NCAA Championships. All six in Arkansas’ rotation scored over a 9.8. The lowest counted score was from freshman Sydney Laird who tallied a 9.8375, while Speed and Garner recorded a 9.850 each. Wellick and freshman Sarah Shaffer posted scores of 9.8875 and 9.8625, respectively, to lead the Hogs on that event.
Beam proved once again to be one of Arkansas’ better events, as they posted four scores over 9.8, including a 9.8875 from Garner. Wellick was just behind Garner with a 9.875 in the two spot while Burton and Yamzon each posted 9.850’s.
Amanda Wellick put up a 39.400 in the all-around in the final meet of her career. Wellick was making her first appearance at the NCAA Championship with the team, as she qualified as an individual all-arounder in 2014 and 2016. She was the first Arkansas freshman all-arounder to make the NCAA Championships in 2014.
The Razorbacks picked up four Second Team All-American honors at the NCAA Championships bringing its program total to 46. Speed became Arkansas’ 11th All-American Vaulter and first since Katherine Grable in 2014, while Wellick took two honors on the uneven bars and in the All-Around. Garner took the seventh All-American award on beam in program history with a 9.8875. Wellick is now a three-time All-American, after picking up second team honors as an individual in 2016.
2nd Team All-American Honors
Vault: Braie Speed- 9.875
Bars: Amanda Wellick- 9.8875
Beam: Hailey Garner- 9.8875
All-Around: Amanda Wellick- 39.400
FINAL RESULTS (Session I)
UCLA- 197.5625 (VT-49.1875, UB- 49.3750, BB- 49.5375, FX- 49.4625)
LSU- 197.4750 (VT-49.3500, UB-49.5000, BB- 29.2250, FX- 49.4000)
Nebraska- 197.0125 (VT-49.2375, UB- 49.0625, BB- 49.3750, FX- 49.3375)
Georgia- 196.6875 (VT-49.1250, UB- 49.3125, BB- 49.2375, FX- 49.0125)
Alabama- 196.6250 (VT-49.1375, UB- 49.1625, BB- 49.0750, FX- 49.2500)
Arkansas- 196.4250 (VT-48.7500, UB- 49.2875, BB- 49.2625, FX- 49.1250)
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