FAYETTEVILLE – Arkansas’ gymnastics program is making a habit of reaching the NCAA Championship.
The Razorback program has existed for only eight seasons, but Arkansas has earned a spot in an NCAA regional seven times, and advanced out of a regional and into the NCAA Championship four times. The Razorbacks have advanced three straight years and four of the last five.
Arkansas, ranked No.7 in the nation, competes for the national championship this week in Gainesville, Fla.
The Razorbacks are in the second semifinal session on Thursday, which begins at 6 p.m. (central). Arkansas is in the same session with No. 1 Alabama, No. 4 Florida, No. 6 Michigan, No. 6 Stanford and No. 15 Missouri.
The other semifinal session, at noon, includes No. 2 Oklahoma, No. 3 UCLA, No. 8 Oregon State, No. 10 Utah, No. 11 LSU and No. 12 Nebraska.
Arkansas qualified as a team for the first time in 2006. In Corvallis, Ore., the Razorbacks finished sixth in Session II.
Dana McQuillin was Arkansas’ first national qualifier, advancing as an individual in 2005 while senior All-American Casey Jo Magee competed as an individual in 2007.
Arkansas was back in the semifinals in 2008 and the Razorbacks were fifth in Session II in Athens, Ga.
Last year in Lincoln, Neb., Arkansas finished second in Session II, upsetting No. 2 Utah, No. 7 UCLA and No. 6 Oregon State, to advance to the Super Six for the first time. The Razorbacks finished fifth in the Super Six, topping No. 6 LSU.
Magee holds several of Arkansas’ top scores from NCAA Championship action. She is first with a 9.90 on bars in 2008, tied for first with a 9.90 on beam in 2009, and first with a 9.90 on floor in both 2007 and 2009.
Magee and sophomore All-American Jaime Pisani are tied for second with a 9.90 vault, both in 2009. Senior All-American Sarah Nagashima is tied for second with Magee with a 9.90 on beam in 2009. Pisani is third with a 9.875 floor last year and Magee’s 39.450 all-around from 2009 ranks second.