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Gym’Backs conclude 2007 with team awards banquet

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Gym’Backs conclude 2007 with team awards banquet

FAYETTEVILLE — The University of Arkansas gymnastics team officially closed the 2007 season with a team awards banquet Monday. The Gym’Backs, in their fifth season of competition, reached the NCAA Regional Championship and finished the year ranked 15th in the country. Arkansas freshman Casey Jo Magee earned a trip to the NCAA Championship as an individual and turned in several solid performances in her first appearance at the biggest meet of the season. Each year the season concludes with the team’s annual awards banquet held at the Embassy Suites this year. Six athletes were honored with five different awards this year. Senior Rachel Barnett and freshman Allison Daniels both earned the Arkansas Scholar-Athlete of the Year award for posting perfect 4.0 grade point averages this year. Barnett has earned several other academic honors throughout her career including selection to the Women’s Athletic Department Honor Roll, selection to the Southeastern Conference Honor Roll and to the National Association for Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches for Women All-Scholar team. It is Daniels’ first award. Sophomore Alexandra LaChance was honored with the Dana McQuillin Coaches Award this year. This award is issued to the team member who represents the Gym’Backs above and beyond normal expectations. LaChance battled injury last year but returned this season becoming a major contributor on vault and floor exercise. She also competed on the beam in several meets throughout the season. Senior Cassie Drew earned the Katie Hardman Gym’Back Pride Award. Drew is the second Gym’Back to earn this award after emerging as a team leader in and out of the gym. Freshman Casey Jo Magee was honored with the Most Improved Gymnast award Monday. Magee was an unknown to the Gym’Back coaches but Mark and Rene Cook took a chance on her and she on the program. The relationship that resulted was one that grew throughout the season as did Magee’s level of performance. A second-place finish on a non-qualifying team earned Magee a trip to the NCAA Championship just last week. Finally, junior Emily Peacock earned the Most Outstanding Gymnast award. One of the most consistent performers in 2007, Peacock was a go-to gymnast in the close meets. Arkansas graduates Barnett and Drew but returns a talented group of Gym’Backs for the 2008 season. For more information about the Gym’Backs, please log on to LADYBACKS.COM.
Arkansas Scholar-Athlete of the Year
Annual award given to the team member with the highest grade point average for the year2003 — Whitney Cashwell, Valerie Conroy, Kim Harris, Brooke Lawrence, Hannah McLeod, Dana McQuillin, Kylee Small2004 — Valerie Conroy2005 — Melissa Leigh2006 — Audra Loveless2007 — Rachel Barnett and Allison Daniels
Dana McQuillin Coaches Award
Annual award given to the team member who represents the team above and beyond normal expectations2003 — Dana McQuillin2004 — Dana McQuillin2005 — Katie Hardman2006 — Dana McQuillin2007 — Alexandra LaChance
Katie Hardman Gym’Back Pride Award
New award created in 2006 for gymnast who displays great pride in the program and the Gym’Back experience2006 — Katie Hardman2007 — Cassie Drew
Most Consistent Performer
Only awarded in 20052005 — Emily Peacock
Most Improved Gymnast
Annual award for most improved gymnast for that season2003 — Brooke Lawrence2004 — Cassie Drew2005 — Rachel Barnett2006 — Alexandra LaChance2007 — Casey Jo Magee
Most Outstanding Gymnast
Annual award for most outstanding gymnast of the season2004 — Dana McQuillin2005 — Dana McQuillin2006 — Emily Peacock2007 — Emily Peacock
Spirit Award
Only awarded in 20052005 — Mallory Machnik
Valerie Conroy Service Award
New award created in 2006 for gymnast who makes an impact in Northwest Arkansas through community service2006 — Valerie Conroy



Sports Category : Gymnastics (W)