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Hardman leads Arkansas in win at No. 12 Auburn

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Hardman leads Arkansas in win at No. 12 Auburn

AUBURN, Ala. – The 15th-ranked University of Arkansas gymnastics team scored a 194.275 edging 12th-ranked Auburn in Auburn, Ala., Friday. Arkansas, 3-0 overall and 2-0 in the Southeastern Conference, was paced by junior Dana McQuillin on the all-around. McQuillin posted a 38.55 total good for second place. Freshman Samantha Cortez finished with a 37.95 to finish fourth overall. The win is the second during the regular season for Arkansas over Auburn but the Tigers hold the all-time series record at 2-3. “The team did great,” said co-head coach Rene Cook. “We showed a lot of tenacity and heart in a tough environment. I’m proud of the performances. We get better each week.” Junior Katie Hardman had a good meet winning the beam title with a 9.85 and finishing tied for third on floor with a 9.775. Freshman Emily Peacock won bars with a 9.875 while junior Melissa Leigh tied for second with a 9.80. Arkansas’ first rotation was a great starting point with the final three gymnasts throwing nearly perfect routines. Juniors Hardman and Leigh along with freshman Peacock all had flawless landings with Peacock earning a career-best 9.875. The Gym’Backs opened the early lead, 48.725-48.600 heading into the second rotation. Freshman Mallory Machnik stepped up for the Gym’Backs with a career-best 9.75 on vault and was followed by a career-best tying 9.75 from freshman Samantha Cortez. Arkansas posted a 48.375 on the second apparatus and maintained a slim lead over the Tigers after two events. The bars, a traditionally strong event for the Tigers who rank tied for eighth in the country on the event this week, Auburn scored a 48.30 with three scores at 9.60 or lower. “We knew it was close,” said Cook., “but we were just focusing on what we were doing at that point. We just wanted to stay within ourselves and put as much distance between us at the same time.” Sophomore Rachel Barnett opened the floor for the Gym’Backs but stumbled on her first tumbling pass. The Oklahoma City, Okla., native recovered for a 9.45 for Arkansas. Machnik was next up on floor following a wobbly start from Auburn on the beam. The Monroe, La., native posted a 9.525 in a routine that included a straddle jump and back tuck on the first tumbling pass. Peacock followed with an almost perfect floor performance scoring a 9.725 followed by McQuillin with a season-best 9.70 after finishing with a back handspring, layout, layout, full for the Gym’Backs. Cortez’ success was evident by the smile on the Verona, N.J., native’s face as she was awarded a 9.725 and junior crowd please Katie Hardman rounded out the floor for the Gym’Backs. Hardman’s graceful dance moves were peppered with explosive tumbling passes earning the Buda, Texas native a 9.775. Despite the strong floor performances by the Gym’Backs, Arkansas found itself trailing, 145.650 to 145.550 heading into the final rotation. “We were solid on the floor,” said Mark Cook. “We hit our marks and did what we needed to do.” Auburn was quietly putting up solid numbers on the beam finishing with a 48.75 and the Tigers moved on to their final event, the floor, where they are ranked 15th in the nation this week. The back-and-forth battle continued into the final rotation with McQuillin posting a 9.675 followed by a 9.45 from junior Melissa Leigh. Peacock scored a 9.675 after a round-off, double-tuck dismount. Sophomore Cassie Drew tied her season-best with a 9.825 on beam while Cortez added a 9.70 followed by Hardman’s 9.85 in the win. “We can’t wait to return home,” said Cook. “We are so excited to show the home fans what we can do and how far we’ve come.” Arkansas opens at home hosting NCAA runner up Georgia Friday, Jan. 28, at 7:00 p.m., in Barnhill Arena. For more information and tickets please call the Lady Razorback Ticket Office at 57-LBACK or log on to LADYBACKS.COM.T15 Arkansas (2-1, 1-1 SEC) at No. 12 Auburn (2-1, 1-1 SEC)Arkansas 194.275-Auburn 194.225Auburn, AlabamaFriday, January 21, 2005ROTATION 1 Arkansas (Bars): 48.725 (Dana McQuillin 9.625, Samantha Cortez 8.80, Cassie Drew 9.675, Katie Hardman 9.750, Melissa Leigh 9.80, Emily Peacock 9.875). Auburn (Vault): 48.600 (Aimee Goheen 9.650, Rachael Tarantino 9.650, Danielle Holtz 9.70, Karmen Pinckney 9.750, Kayce Stein 9.575, Julie Dwyer 9.850).ROTATION 2 Arkansas (Vault): 48.375 (Cassie Drew 9.60, Dana McQuillin 9.55, Mallory Machnik 9.75, Samantha Cortez 9.75, Audra Loveless 9.725, Melissa Leigh 9.475). Auburn (Bars): 48.300 (Kayce Stein 9.625, Shanna Somero 9.60, Danielle Holtz 9.55, Courtney Puckett 9.725, Julie Dwyer 9.525, Aimee Goheen 9.80).ROTATION 3 Arkansas (Floor): 48.450 (Rachel Barnett 9.45, Mallory Machnik 9.525, Emily Peacock 9.725, Dana McQuillin 9.70, Samantha Cortez 9.725, Katie Hardman 9.75). Auburn (Beam): 48.725 (Sanna Somero 9.725, Aimee Goheen 9.625, Courtney Puckett 9.70, Rachael Tarantino 9.850, Kayce Stein 9.65, Julie Dwyer 9.825).ROTATION 4 Arkansas (Beam): 48.725 (Dana McQuillin 9.675, Melissa Leigh 9.45, Emily Peacock 9.675, Cassie Drew 9.825, Samantha Cortez 9.70, Katie Hardman 9.85). Auburn (Floor): 48.675 (Danielle Holtz 9.35, Kayce Stein 9.65, Karmen Pinckney 9.725, Julie Dwyer 9.80, Courtney Puckett 9.70, Rachael Tarantino 9.80).



Sports Category : Gymnastics (W)