FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – An historic floor exercise rotation lifted the No. 12 University of Arkansas gymnastics team to a 196.325-196.175 come-from-behind victory over defending Southeastern Conference champion, and sixth-ranked, Alabama, Friday night at Barnhill Arena.
Trailing by exactly 1.3 points after the third rotation, Arkansas needed a momentous performance on the floor exercise to bypass the Crimson Tide. The Razorbacks delivered, as they recorded three 9.925’s and a 9.950 in the rotation to post a 49.600 and not only surpassed the defending SEC champion, but also broke the school record in the event to capture the 196.325-196.175 comeback win in front of a nationally televised audience on the SEC Network.
A trio of Razorbacks began the comeback as All-American senior, Stephani Canizaro, sophomore Samantha Nelson and junior Heather Elswick each recorded a 9.925 to set up sophomore Amanda Wellick, who needed to post a 9.800 from the anchor slot to give Arkansas the win. The Wheaton, Ill., native delivered the required score to lead her team to victory, and set a career-high during her turn, as she electrified the crowd of 3,164 to a tune of 9.950 to give the Razorbacks their third victory over the Crimson Tide in the program’s history.
Arkansas had three gymnasts win a share of four event titles on the night, as Wellick captured the all-around and floor exercise titles outright with scores of 39.475 and 9.950. She shared the vault title with Elswick, as the duo each scored a 9.950. It was the second-straight all-around title for Wellick this season and her first career win on both the floor and vault, while it was also the first career event title for Elswick. Canizaro also brought home her first career event title, as she tied with Alabama All-American, Lauren Beers, for first on the uneven bars after scoring a career-best 9.875.
|Vault||Amanda Wellick, Heather Elswick (UA)||9.950|
|Bars||Stephani Canizaro (UA), Lauren Beers (Ala)||9.875|
|Beam||Aja Sims (Ala)||9.900|
|Floor||Amanda Wellick (UA)||9.950|
|All-Around||Amanda Wellick (UA)||39.475|
Razorback of the Meet – Sophomore Amanda Wellick
• Captured her second-straight all-around title with a 39.475
• Won her first career vault title with a 9.950
• Won her first career floor exercise title with a 9.950
• Posted a career-high score in the vault, floor exercise and all-around.
9.80 Plus Routines
Vault – Heather Elsiwck: 9.950, Amanda Wellick: 9.950, Leah MacMoyle: 9.900, Samantha Nelson: 9.825
Bars – Stephani Canizaro: 9.875, Paige Zaziski: 9.850, Amanda Wellick: 9.825, Erin Freier: 9.800
Floor Exercise – Amanada Wellick: 9.950, Stephani Canizaro: 9.925, Heather Elswick: 9.925, Samantha Nelson: 9.925, Sydnie Dillard: 9.875
Amanda Wellick: 39.475
Paige Zaziski: 38.350
Post-Meet Sound: Head Coach Mark Cook
On Tonight’s Performance
“Anytime you can beat Alabama it makes you happy. It’s only the third time we’ve beat them in our program’s history, so it’s challenging to beat them. Barnhill is intimidating and it’s hard for teams to come in here and compete. We had a lot of fight and tenacity tonight and we didn’t let our errors get to us mentally. We had some fun with it in the final rotation on floor and we were able to show off our hard work and its encouraging because we’ll just get better as the season progresses.”
On The Comeback
“I told them to go out on the last event and have some fun with it. I told them to flush what just happened in the previous event and go out and show people how good you are. Take it one pass at a time and show it off. Alabama had an unusual final rotation with three falls. It’s a bit nerve-racking going into that last event and you know you have to hit. When teams finish on floor, teams have a bit more energy and show it off a bit more and that was something our girls really capitalized on tonight.”
On Heather Elswick’s Vault Rotation
“Heather Elswick did phenomenal for us tonight. She had a lot of power and a lot of distance and stuck it. When you put those three things together, you get scores like she posted tonight. The 9.950 is one of the highest scores recorded in our program’s history, which is nice that she was able to accomplish that.”
On Amanda Wellick’s Floor Performance to Capture Victory
“I had all the confidence in the world in her going into her turn because she is a gamer. She is very powerful and always performs well in training and I felt she was going to seal the deal.”
• The Razorbacks set the school record in total floor exercise score with a 49.600.
• Tonight’s vault score of 49.375 is tied for the eighth-highest score in team history.
• Tonight’s win is the ninth regular season win over a top 10 team.
• Heather Elswick and Amanda Wellick’s score of 9.950 on the vault ties them for the third-highest vault score in program history.
• Amanda Wellick’s score of 9.950 on the floor exercise ties her for the fourth-highest floor score in program history.
• Arkansas posted a season-high 196.325, it was the first 196.000-plus score this season and the first since April 5, 2014, when they posted a 196.375 at the NCAA Regional.
• Arkansas gymnasts established or tied 12 career-high scores tonight.
• Junior Heather Elswick set a new career-high on the vault (9.950) and floor exercise (9.925).
• Freshman Leah MacMoyle set a career-high on the vault (9.900).
• Sophomore Samantha Nelson set a career-high on the floor exercise (9.925) and tied her career mark of 9.825 on the vault.
• Senior Stephani Canizaro set a career-high on the bars (9.875) and floor exercise (9.925).
• Freshman Paige Zaziski set a career-high on the beam (9.750) and tied her career mark of 9.850 on the bars.
• Sophomore Amanda Wellick set a career-high on the vault (9.950), floor exercise (9.950) and all-around (39.475).
The 12th-ranked team in the nation will be back in action next Friday, as they take on their second SEC opponent in as many weeks, when they travel down to Auburn University. The meet will be broadcasted live on the SEC Network+ and the Watch ESPN App. Meet time is slated for a 7 p.m. start.
For more information on Arkansas gymnastics, follow @RazorbackGym on Twitter.