FAYETTEVILLE – Less than a week into official practice, Arkansas’ gymnastics team held its first intrasquad meet on Friday.
The Razorbacks, who are coming off an 11th-place finish in last year’s NCAA Championship, began official team workouts and Tuesday and went through a meet-like workout three days later.
"We have a lot of work to do but we are pleased with the status of the team," co-head coach René Cook says. "We have more depth than last season as well as more difficulty. The team is excited, working hard and is look forward to our next intrasquad on October 8 to measure our progress."
The Razorbacks, who have advanced to an NCAA Regional seven straight years and reached the NCAA Championship in three consecutive seasons, return eight letterwinners from 2010.
Junior Jaime Pisani, an All-American in 2009 and 2010, is back along with senior Stacy Bartlett, juniors Mariah Howdeshell and Genny Salvatore, and sophomores Natalie Bohonsky, Amy Borsellino, Kelci Lewis and Amanda Siebert. Pisani won 18 individual event titles last year and was an NCAA event finalist on floor and vault.
Newcomers are freshmen Katherine Grable, Shelby Salmon, Scarlett Williams and Bailee Zumwalde, and sophomore Jordan Salsberg.
Also returning is senior Michelle Stout, who missed the 2010 season with an injury. Stout earned All-America honors in 2008 and 2009, and was an NCAA event finalist on vault as a sophomore, and on vault and bars as a junior.
"Personally, it was great to see Michelle back out there on three events," Cook says. "She continues to improve and is working hard to have a great senior year of gymnastics."
Arkansas opens its season on Jan. 7 at Oklahoma. The first home meet is Jan. 14 against Alabama in Barnhill Arena.