LOS ANGELES – For the third straight year and the fourth time in five seasons, Arkansas’ gymnastics team has advanced out of an NCAA regional and into the NCAA Championship.
The No. 9 Razorbacks finished second in the six-team NCAA West Regional at UCLA on Saturday. The top two teams from each of the six regionals advance to the NCAA Championship, which is set for April 22-24 in Gainesville, Fla.
"It’s important to have consistency and sustainability in your program," co-head coach Mark Cook said. "We want to compete for a national championship. Our program has strived for that. We’re going to the national championship and going to give it our best."
No. 3 UCLA won the West Regional with a 197.825, followed by Arkansas (196.675), No. 21 Arizona (195.100), No. 17 Iowa State (194.325), No. 32 Arizona State (193.900) and No. 26 Brigham Young (193.400).
Arkansas’ 196.675 is a school record for an NCAA regional and the second-best overall in NCAA competition.
"We told the girls they didn’t have to be perfect tonight, they just had to be very good and very good they were," Cook said. "We were 23-of-24 (successfully completing events) on routines. The Gym’Backs were tremendous tonight."
Arkansas advanced with a rotation of floors, vault, bye, bars, beam and bye. The Razorbacks had scores of 49.125 on floor, 49.10 on vault, a 49.40 on bars and a 49.05 on beam.
The 49.40 on bars is a school record.
Arkansas opened on floor with a lineup of senior All-American Sarah Nagashima, freshman Amanda Siebert who was back from an injury and competing for the first time since March 12 against Pittsburgh, senior Amy DeFilippo, freshman Kelci Lewis, senior All-American Casey Jo Magee and sophomore All-American Jaime Pisani.
The 49.125 is the third-best ever for the Razorbacks in a regional.
Magee and Pisani each had a 9.90, DeFilippo a 9.80, Lewis a 9.775 and Nagashima a 9.75.
The 9.90 scores by Magee and Pisani each tie the school record in an NCAA regional while DeFilippo competed on floor for just the third time this year.
On vault, the Razorbacks had a lineup of sophomore Mariah Howdeshell, Lewis, freshman Amy Borsellino, Pisani, Magee and Nagashima.
The 49.10 is Arkansas’ fourth-best regional score in the event.
Magee had a 9.90, Pisani a 9.875, Lewis a 9.85, Borsellino a 9.80 and Howdeshell a 9.675.
Magee’s 9.90 ties the school record for a regional meet while Pisani’s 9.875 ties for fifth-best. Lewis’ 9.85 matches her season best mark.
Following a bye, Arkansas’ lineup on bars was Nagashima, Howdeshell, Pisani, DeFilippo, Magee and freshman Natalie Bohonsky.
DeFilippo and Magee had a 9.90, Nagashima and Pisani a 9.875, and Howdeshell a 9.85.
DeFilippo, Howdeshell, Pisani and Nagashima all tied their career high in the event as Arkansas set a school record with a 49.40 in the event.
DeFilippo and Magee each tied the second-best Razorback score in a regional.
The Razorbacks closed on beam with a lineup of Pisani, junior Stacy Bartlett, DeFilippo, Nagashima, Howdeshell and Magee. The 49.05 is Arkansas’ second-best in a regional.
Magee had a 9.90, Nagashima a 9.85, DeFilippo a 9.80, Pisani a 9.775 and Howdeshell a 9.725.
"The girls were in a zone," Cook said. "I attribute that to the heart of the team. This team has heart. All the girls work together."
Arkansas was competing in an NCAA regional for the seventh straight season, every year beginning in 2004.
NCAA West Regional(Top two advance to NCAA Championship, April 22-24, in Gainesville, Fla.)
No. 3 UCLA 197.825No. 9 Arkansas 196.675No. 21 Arizona 195.100No. 17 Iowa State 194.325No. 32 Arizona State 193.900No. 26 Brigham Young 193.400
Floor: 49.125Sarah Nagashima 9.75, Amanda Siebert 9.675, Amy DeFilippo 9.80, Kelci Lewis 9.775, Casey Jo Magee 9.90, Jaime Pisani 9.90
Vault: 49.10Mariah Howdeshell 9.675, Kelci Lewis 9.85, Amy Borsellino 9.80, Jaime Pisani 9.875, Casey Jo Magee 9.90, Sarah Nagashima 9.55
Bars: 49.40Sarah Nagashima 9.875, Mariah Howdeshell 9.85, Jaime Pisani 9.875, Amy DeFilippo 9.90, Casey Jo Magee 9.90, Natalie Bohonsky 9.775
Beam: 49.05Jaime Pisani: 9.775, Stacy Bartlett 8.975, Amy DeFilippo 9.80, Sarah Nagashima 9.85, Mariah Howdeshell 9.725, Casey Jo Magee 9.90