DENVER, Colo. – Arkansas knocked off No. 1 Florida for the second time this season and won the NCAA North Central Regional in Denver on Saturday to advance to the NCAA Gymnastics Championship.
Arkansas is headed to the NCAA Championship for the fourth straight season. The championship is April 15-17 in Cleveland.
The top two teams in each of six regionals advance.
In its ninth season, Arkansas’ program has earned a spot in a regional eight straight years and earned a spot as one of the top 12 teams in the NCAA Championship five times, all in the last six years.
"That meet was kind of insane," co-head coach Rene Cook said. "About halfway through, I was looking at the scores thinking anyone could win. We focused on what we had to do. We kept our energy level up and hit our routines. We got to the last rotation and I knew we were right there to win. We knew it, but the girls didn’t know it."
Arkansas, which beat No. 1 Florida in Fayetteville on Feb. 25, 196.70-196.10, won the regional with a 196.55, which is the school’s second-best score for a regional.
No. 1 Florida was second with a 196.425, followed by No. 13 Boise State with 196.40, No. 19 Denver 195.625, No. 20 Arizona 195.40 and No. 27 Brigham Young 194.65.
"I’m very proud of the girls," co-head coach Mark Cook said. "They were really tough and kept fighting. Our goal is to get back to the Super Six. We were there a couple years ago (2009). That’s the next step."
The regional title is the second for Arkansas. The Razorbacks won the South Central Regional in Fayetteville in 2009.
Arkansas had scores of 48.90 on beam, 49.30 on floor, 49.175 on vault and 49.175 on bars.
Individually, Jaime Pisani won floor with a 9.95, Katherine Grable tied for the vault title with a 9.90, Mariah Howdeshell tied for third on bars with a 9.90, Pisani was fourth on vault with a 9.875 and Grable fourth on beam with a 9.85.
In the all-around, Grable was second with a 39.475 and Pisani third with a 39.375.
"Katherine was exceptional," Rene Cook said. "Jaime wasn’t happy with her beam, but she was outstanding on the other three events. And we had a lot of role people step up."
Arkansas opened on beam and scored a 48.90.
Grable posted a 9.85, followed by Jordan Salsberg with a 9.825, Stacy Bartlett a 9.775, Scarlett Williams a 9.75 and Shelby Salmon a 9.725.
Arkansas’ 48.90 is its fifth-best ever in an NCAA Regional. Grable’s 9.85 tied for the fifth-best individual mark.
After one rotation, and with Boise State and Arizona in a bye, Arkansas sat in third, behind Florida’s 49.225 and BYU’s 48.95.
Arkansas had a bye after beam, then moved to floor, where the Razorbacks set a school regional record with a 49.30.
Pisani tied the school record, which she already shared, with a 9.95. That was her third 9.95 of the season. Grable had a 9.90, Amy Borsellino a 9.85, and Bailee Zumwalde, Jordan Salsberg and Kelci Lewis all had a 9.80.
Salsberg’s 9.80 matched her season high while Zumwalde’s 9.80 was just short of her season best of 9.825, Borsellino’s 9.85 just short of her best of 9.875 and Grable’s 9.90 just short of her best of 9.925.
Pisani’s 9.95 was also a school record for a regional while Grable’s 9.90 tied the previous record and now ties for second.
Through three rotations, Arkansas had a 98.20 and trailed Florida’s 98.525 and Boise State’s 98.25.
For the fourth rotation, Arkansas was on vault. The Razorbacks had a 49.175.
Grable led with a 9.90, which matched her season high, followed by Pisani with a 9.875, Borsellino with a career-high 9.85, Michelle Stout a 9.80, and Amanda Siebert and Salsberg a 9.75 each.
The team total tied for the third-best mark in school history in a regional. Grable’s 9.90 tied the school record for a regional.
Following its second bye, Arkansas closed the meet on bars and scored a 49.00, the school’s third-best score in a regional.
Going into the final event, Arkansas and Boise State were tied with a 147.375 while Florida and Denver were finished for the day with a 196.425 and a 195.625, respectively.
Howdeshell led with a career-high 9.90, followed by Stout and Pisani with a 9.85, Grable a 9.825, Genny Salvatore a 9.75 and Salsberg a 9.725.
Teams from other regionals advancing to the NCAA Championship are UCLA and Georgia from Athens, Ga.; Oklahoma and Utah from Norman, Okla.; Alabama and Illinois from Tuscaloosa, Ala.; Michigan and Kent State from Ann Arbor, Mich.; and Oregon State and Nebraska from Corvalis, Ore.
NCAA North Central RegionalDenver, Colo.University of DenverApril 2, 2011
Team Standings:No. 12 Arkansas 196.55No. 1 Florida 196.425No. 13 Boise State 196.40No. 19 Denver 195.625No. 20 Arizona 195.40No. 27 Brigham Young 194.65
Beam: 48.90Scarlett Williams 9.75, Jaime Pisani 9.70, Jordan Salsberg 9.825, Shelby Salmon 9.725, Katherine Grable 9.85, Stacy Bartlett 9.775
Floor: 49.30Bailee Zumwalde 9.80, Jordan Salsberg 9.80, Amy Borsellino 9.85, Kelci Lewis 9.80, Katherine Grable 9.90, Jaime Pisani 9.95
Vault: 49.175Amanda Siebert 9.75, Jordan Salsberg 9.75, Amy Borsellino 9.85, Katherine Grable 9.90, Jaime Pisani 9.875, Michelle Stout 9.80.
Bars: 49.175Jordan Salsberg 9.725, Genny Salvatore 9.75, Katherine Grable 9.825, Jaime Pisani 9.85, Michelle Stout 9.85, Mariah Howdeshell 9.90