RAZORBACKS CONCLUDE HOME REGULAR SEASONThe Razorbacks wrap up the 2009 home regular season this week hosting No. 18 Minnesota in the final meet Friday. The season, however, continues as Arkansas then travels to Texas Woman’s University for a quad meet, goes to Nashville, Tenn., for the SEC Championships and returns to Barnhill hosting the 2009 NCAA South Central Regional Championship April 4.
SENIOR DAY CELEBRATIONAs it is the final home meet, so too is it Senior Day in Barnhill Arena. The Razorbacks have one senior, Alex LaChance, competing in her final regular season meet at home. Primarily a two-event specialist on vault and floor LaChance has helped Arkansas to three NCAA Regional appearances and a pair of NCAA Championship appearances. That success has continued her senior season with LaChance anchoring the Razorbacks throughout their top 10 run. LaChance has competed on vault and floor in all of Arkansas’ meets this year adding a few beam appearances as well. LaChance broke the 9.90 barrier on the floor this year scoring a career-best to tie for second in an SEC win over No. 9 Alabama earlier this year. She scored a career-best 9.90 on the vault tying for the win against top-ranked Georgia while also posting a season-best on the beam in that meet. LaChance has counted nearly 90 percent of her scores toward team total in her career at Arkansas. In addition to LaChance’s success in the gym, she has found success in the classroom. LaChance was named to the SEC Freshman Academic Honor Roll in 2006 and is a two-time SEC Academic Honor Roll selection. In addition, she is a three-time member of the National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches for Women Academic Team.
RAZORBACKS GO 1-2-3 AT LSUArkansas’ all-arounders went 1-2-3 at LSU last Friday. Junior Casey Jo Magee won her sixth all-around title of the year and the 10th of her career while junior Michelle Stout was second and freshman Jaime Pisani placed third.
DOMINATING ALL-AROUNDERSArkansas has won eight of nine possible all-around titles this year. The lone break in the streak came at Auburn where Arkansas did not win a single individual title. Junior Casey Jo Magee won the all-around title in the first five meets of the season with freshman Jaime Pisani picking up the torch at Kentucky and again against Georgia. Magee was back on top at LSU.
MORE TITLES IN 2009The Razorbacks continue to improve with each season and that is evidenced in the increase in the number of individual titles Arkansas has won. For example, the Razorbacks have won or tied for the win for eight all-around titles this year. That’s up from four in all of 2008 and just one in 2007. Want more? Here it is: Arkansas has won or tied for the win for 11 vault titles, up from three last year and better than the previous best of six in 2007. Arkansas has six bars titles tying last year’s total and better than the previous best of five in 2005. The Razorbacks have five beam wins – one shy of last year’s six total beam wins. The program best is eight set in 2007. The Razorbacks have won or tied for seven floor titles this year up from two last year and better than the previous best of six set in both 2006 and 2004.
WHO IS WINNING?Junior Casey Jo Magee has more individual wins (or ties for wins) than any other Razorback gymnast in program history. Magee has 33 titles; 10 as an all-arounder, 12 on beam, six on bars, four on floor and one on the vault. Junior Michelle Stout has 15 titles, followed by five for freshman Jaime Pisani, four for Amy DeFilippo and three for Alex LaChance.
STEADY EDDY ON THE LINEUPArkansas has made very few adjustments to this year’s line up (see tentative lineup on the right). In fact, it has been the same for the last several meets. But Arkansas does have some flexibility and could put Alex LaChance up on beam or Stacy Bartlett on floor just to name a few options.
ROLE PLAYERS KNOW THEIR….ROLESStacy Bartlett and Molly Lewis compete in one event each while Alex, LaChance, Amy DeFilippo and Mariah Howdeshell perform on two events each. That’s the good and the bad when you have four solid all-arounders. Despite the lack of performance time, each of the aforementioned gymnast have made the most of her opportunities. Bartlett is averaging 9.657 on the beam – exactly the same mark she finished her freshman year at and she’s counted six of seven routines this year. Lewis posted a career-best 9.825 on floor twice this year and is averaging 9.761 for Arkansas. DeFilippo tied her career mark on the beam this year with a 9.90 at No. 8 Oklahoma and LaChance broke the 9.90 mark on the floor for a career-high in 2009.
RQS RANKINGS IN EFFECTThis week’s poll is based on RQS or regional qualifying score. Qualification for regional competition is based on a team’s and an all-around competitor’s six best regular-season-meet scores, of which three must be away. To obtain the regional qualifying score (RQS), the high score is eliminated and the remaining five scores are averaged.
WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?In Arkansas’ case, the Razorbacks’ six-best scores are:
|1. at Oklahoma||196.900|
|2. vs. Georgia||196.725|
|3. vs. Alabama||196.625|
|4. vs. Florida||196.375|
|5. at Oregon St.||195.925|
|6. at LSU||195.800|
Arkansas made up some ground last week with a 195.800 at LSU which replaced the team’s lower score at Oregon State. If you eliminate the high score at OU, add the remaining five, you get 981.45. Divide that number by five and you get Arkansas’ RQS of 196.290 — up 0.80 from last week.
ARKANSAS AGAINST THE POLLThe Razorbacks are having a great year in the gym and have been in the top 10 since the season began. Co-head coaches Mark and René Cook have always operated under the philosophy that to be the best, you have to compete against the best and Arkansas certainly has done that. According to this week’s poll numbers, Arkansas has faced No. 8 Auburn, No. 5 Alabama, No. 9 Oregon State, No. 7 Oklahoma and No. 19 Ohio State, tNo. 24 Kentucky, No. 11 LSU and top-ranked Georgia. In addition, the Razorbacks still have No. 18 Minnesota on the schedule. Arkansas takes on No. 45 Bowling Green, No. 45 Texas Woman’s and No. 66 Pennsylvania in the final regular season meet of the year.
ABOUT MINNESOTA (from gophersports.com)Minnesota earned its best score since the 2006 season, defeating Northern Illinois 195.85-192.975. The Gophers earned their best scores of the season on vault and bars. Junior all-around competitor Alexis Russell was named the MVP of the meet after setting a personal best in the all around with a 39.45. The Gophers started the meet on vault, where they earned their best score of the season with a 48.80. Carmelina Carabajal won her fourth vault title of the season, earning a score of 9.85 to seal the event win. Alexis Russell was the runner up, earning a 9.825 to tie for second place. Lucy Ennis scored 9.75, Kendra Elm tied her personal best with a 9.70, and Yuri Nagai scored 9.675 to count toward the team score. On bars, the Gophers had their best score of the season with a 49.225.
THE SERIESArkansas is 3-0 lifetime against the Gophers. The teams first met in 2004 in Fayetteville with Arkansas edging Minnesota 195.575-194.725 in dual meet action. The Razorbacks returned the trip in 2005 again winning, 194.250-193.800 in Minneapolis. The most recent meeting came last year when Arkansas was sent to the North Central Regional hosted by the Gophers. Arkansas finished second with a 196.125 while Minnesota was third with a 195.275.
A LOOK AT NUMBERS
|196.900||Team High Score||195.85|
|2 (SC)||Regional Ranking||2 (North Central)|
UP NEXT The Razorbacks have two road meets in a row traveling first to Texas Woman’s University facing TWU, UPenn and Bowling Green for the first time in Denton, Texas. Arkansas next travels to the SEC Championship March 21, in Nashville, Tenn. Arkansas also hosts the 2009 South Central Regional Championship April 4, in Barnhill Arena. For tickets please call the Razorback Ticket Office at 575-5151.