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Gymnastics preview, Part V (Floor)

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Gymnastics preview, Part V (Floor)

Arkansas’ gymnastics program is in its 10th season. In nine years, the Razorbacks have earned eight NCAA regional bids, won two NCAA regionals, advanced to the NCAA Championship five times, reached the NCAA Super Six, finished in the top 10 in the nation three times, finished ranked in the top 15 seven consecutive seasons, and produced 28 All-America selections and 13 NCAA individual event finals appearances.

In 2011, the Razorbacks tied for the Southeastern Conference regular-season championship, won the NCAA North Central Regional, tied for ninth in the nation, recorded two wins over No. 1-ranked Florida, beat No. 4 Georgia, and set school records with seven dual-meet wins and four road wins.

The season begins in January with the Cancun Classic on Jan. 6. The home-opener is Jan. 13 at 7 p.m. in Barnhill Arena against Kentucky. Barnhill is also the site of the 2012 NCAA South Central Regional on April 7 at 4 p.m.

Tickets are now on sale by calling the Ticket Office at 800-982-HOGS (4647) or 479-575-5151, or by visiting the link below.

We’ll preview the 2012 season with a five-part series. The first is an overall outlook, followed by specific stories on vault, bars, beam and floor. This is the fifth story, which focuses on floor. Be sure to go back for the previous stories.

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TOP FLOOR PERFORMERS:

Amy BorsellinoStephani CanizaroKatherine GrableKelci LewisJaime PisaniJordan SalsbergScarlett WilliamsBailee Zumwalde

The floor group is led by three returning All-Americans in Jaime Pisani, Katherine Grable and Kelci Lewis. Pisani and Grable reached the NCAA event finals where they tied for fifth and placed ninth respectively. Pisani is also the school record-holder with a 9.95, which she matched four times in 2011.

One change is the addition of former Razorback Sam Cortez as assistant coach.

"I’m really happy with the floor team," Cortez says. "In the summer we pushed hard to upgrade the difficulty on everyone’s routine. We spent a lot of time doing drill and prep work. Almost everyone has upgraded their tumbling pass."

Last year, Arkansas had highs of 49.325 at UIC, 49.30 at the NCAA Regional and at Denver, 49.275 at the NCAA Championship, 49.20 against WVU, 49.15 against Florida and 49.125 against Georgia.

Pisani was almost an automatic with 11 individual titles, including the NCAA Session I semifinal, the NCAA Regional, Oklahoma, Alabama, Kentucky, Georgia, LSU, BYU, Florida, UIC and WVU. Grable earned one, tying Pisani against Georgia.

Pisani matched her school record of 9.95 at the NCAA Championship, at the NCAA Regional, and against UIC and West Virginia. Grable had a 9.90 at the NCAA Championship, in the NCAA Regional and against WVU. Amy Borsellino made the lineup for the final five meets and had a 9.875 at Denver, a 9.85 at the regional and a 9.825 at the NCAA Championship. Lewis had a 9.875 at UIC, and a 9.85 at the NCAA Championship and at Denver. Jordan Salsberg had a 9.80 at the regional, and against Georgia, UIC and Denver. Bailee Zumwalde had a 9.825 against Alabama, and three 9.80s.

"Jaime is focused on maintaining what she did last year and upgraded her last floor pass," Cortez says. "Katherine has upgraded her first and middle pass. Kelci has changed her middle pass, which is more difficult. Jordan added a full in to her first pass. Amy has done really well and improved her first pass. Bailee has upgraded with a change to her middle pass, and she loves her new routine. Stephani (Canizaro) is very expressive and a beautiful dancer. We have a lot of depth. I’m also pleased with our music selection and choreography. It’s all coming together."

"We could potentially have everyone in the floor lineup with an e-tumbling pass," co-head coach René Cook says. "Floor has improved immensely since last year. The girls have responded to working with Sam. The routines, choreography and music are outstanding. I’m looking forward to seeing them compete."

Season Preview Part I

Season Preview Part II

Season Preview Part III

Season Preview Part IV



Sports Category : Gymnastics (W)