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FAYETTEVILLE – The 11th-ranked University of Arkansas gymnastics team tied a program best scoring a 196.625 narrowly missing the win over Oklahoma in non-conference action in Barnhill Arena Saturday.
Arkansas (7-6, 2-4 SEC) saw the undefeated Sooners slip by in the final rotations for the 196.750-196.625 win.
Sophomore Casey Jo Magee was just shy of her career high finishing second in the all-around competition scoring a 39.425 while sophomore Sarah Nagashima competed for her first all-around title finishing fourth overall.
“Well, of course, we are very happy with the score,” said co-head coach Rene Cook. “We were a little bit tight on beam today. This is like a regional will be. Oklahoma is the type of team that we have to beat to get to the postseason.”
The Gym’Backs opened tying the school record on vault with a 49.300 behind a career-best from junior Alex LaChance while sophomore Magee and Nagashima tied their career-highs. Stout’s 9.90 won the vault title in the opening rotation.
Arkansas moved to bars where they were again strong posting a season-best 49.050. Three 9.825s from Stout, senior Emily Peacock and sophomore Allison Daniels paved the way as Arkansas took the lead through two events, 98.350-98.125. The trio tied for third overall behind a pair of Sooners.
The Gym’Backs moved on to beam where the meet really tightened up for Arkansas. The Gym’Backs scored a solid 48.925 but a 49.275 from Sooners in their final rotation sealed the Oklahoma win. Senior Samantha Cortez tied her season-best with a 9.80 in the first beam routine but Arkansas struggled to break the 9.80 mark until the final competitor in Magee. Magee notched a 9.90 pulled up the Arkansas total to finish tied for second overall.
Arkansas moved on to the final rotation scoring another season-best with a 49.350 – a mark that ranks seventh in program history. Back-to-back 9.825s from Nagashima and Stout followed by a 9.875 from Magee put pressure on Oklahoma.
Cortez scored a career-best 9.925 and Peacock finished out with a 9.90 but three 9.90-plus scores on the beam by OU let the Sooners steal the win.
“This meet was a confidence-builder,” said Cook. “We know we’re as strong as they are but we need to make sure we’re a little more prepared when regionals roll around.”
Arkansas remains at home for the final meet in Barnhill Arena for the 2008 season. The Gym’Backs host No.14 Michigan State at 7:00 p.m. Friday. For more information and tickets for the meet, please call the Razorback Ticket Office at 57-LBACK or log on to LADYBACKS.COM.