FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The No. 16-ranked University of Arkansas women’s gymnastics team will honor a pair of seniors this Friday while taking on Pac-12 power, and eighth-ranked, UCLA, as All-American Stephani Canizaro and Cailee Ellsworth will be recognized for their Razorback careers on Senior Night at Barnhill Arena. Events are scheduled to begin at 6:45 p.m. CT.
The meet will be webcast live on the SEC Network+ via the ESPN3.com and the Watch ESPN app. The webcast is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. CT.
|No. 16 Arkansas (5-7; 2-5 SEC) vs. No. 8 UCLA (10-1; 7-1 Pac-12)|
|March 13, 2015 | 6:45 p.m.|
|Barnhill Arena | Fayetteville, Ark.|
|Arkansas | UCLA | SEC|
|Twitter | Facebook|
Arkansas will honor a pair of seniors on Friday night, Stephani Canizaro and Cailee Ellsworth. Canizaro, a 2012 second-team All-American is a four-year member of the Razorback program, while Ellsworth, a former walk-on, is a two-year member of the program. Canizaro has been featured in 27 routines this season, counting on 22, while Ellsworth has been featured in four routines and counted on one during the 2015 campaign.
Canizaro is a four-year member of the Razorback program for Nesbit, Miss., and earned NCAA All-American status in the floor exercise her first year on campus. In her time at Arkansas, she has helped the program to its first-ever No. 1 ranking, helped the Razorbacks to their second-ever NCAA Super Six appearance, and helped this year’s floor exercise rotation to post the school’s highest-ever score in the event with a 49.600 against No. 6 Alabama back on Jan. 16, where she scored a career-best 9.925 on the floor that night. The Nesbit, Mississippi native has won two event titles in her career, both coming on the uneven bars this season, as she scored a personal-best 9.875 against No. 6 Alabama and in a tri-meet against Illinois State and Southeast Missouri. The senior has also excelled in the classroom, as she is a three-time SEC Academic Honor Roll member.
Ellsworth is a two-year Arkansas gymnastics member, as she came to Arkansas in the fall of 2014 as a walk-on. Ellsworth demonstrated her grit and hard work during summer and fall works outs this year to earn a scholarship in her final year with the Razorbacks. She has competed in 10 uneven bar routines and made her Arkansas debut on the balance beam last week at No. 10 Georgia. Ellsworth posted a career-best 9.775 on the bars in her 2015 debut at the Metroplex Challenge in her home state of Texas.
Friday will also be 80’s Night at Barnhill Arena. The first 1,000 fans in attendance at Friday’s meet will receive a free 80’s-themed Arkansas gymnastics t-shirt. Fans will travel back in time musically with the Razorbacks, as an assortment of hits from the 80’s will be played throughout the meet.
Arkansas comes into Friday’s finale ranked as the 16th-best team in the RQS with a 196.260. The Razorbacks are currently ranked inside the top-20 in three events, as they are 12th in both the vault (49.260) and floor exercise (49.225) and are tied for 17th on the uneven bars with an RQS of 49.065. Despite posting a season-best 49.100 on the balance beam last week, Arkansas is still in a tie as the 39th-best beam team in the nation.
For UCLA, the Bruins come into Barnhill Arena with an RQS score of 196.895, which is the eighth-best in the nation. UCLA is ranked inside the top-15 in all four events, as the team’s balance beam rotation leads the group with its No. 6 ranking at 49.265. The vault squad (7; 49.375) and floor exercise team (10; 49.270) are also ranked inside the top-10, while the Bruins uneven bars rotation is ranked 12th nationally with a 49.200 RQS.
Regional Qualifying Score
The third Regional Qualifying Score of the 2015 season came out this week, and the Razorbacks moved up two spots to No. 16 with a 196.260. The RQS is used to determine which 36 teams will qualify for the 2015 NCAA Regional. The top 18 teams will be assigned to specific locations throughout the nation, while the remaining 18 will compete within their respective region.
Last Time Out
The Razorbacks tied a season-best score with a 196.650 at No. 10 Georgia. Arkansas posted a 49-plus on all four events, including a season-best 49.100 on the balance beam. Sophomore Amanda Wellick captured her fifth all-around title of the year, as she scored a career-best 39.500. Wellick has now won 14 event titles this season.
Like Arkansas, UCLA comes into Friday’s meet off of a season-best performance against No. 11 Stanford, as the Bruins posted a 197.950 at home against the Cardinal. UCLA had 10 scores of 9.9-or-higher, including a near perfect 10 from Sadiqua Bynum on floor.
Closing The Regular Season At Barnhill
Arkansas will conclude the 2015 regular season this Friday at Barnhill Arena. It will be the sixth time in program history that the Razorbacks have ended the year at home. They are 5-5 all-time in regular season finales in Barnhill with an average score of 196.046.
The Bruins hold a 10-3 lead in the all-time series. This will be the eighth-straight season these two teams have met and the second-consecutive year they’ve met in Fayetteville. UCLA holds a 3-1 advantage over Arkansas in Barnhill Arena. The last Razorback win in the series came in 2009, when Arkansas won 196.950-196.625 at the NCAA Championships.
Facing The Nation’s Best
Friday’s meet will yet again pit Arkansas against a top-10 team. The Razorbacks have faced six teams that were at the time ranked inside the top-10. Arkansas is 1-5 against these six teams, with the lone win coming in the home-opener against No. 6 Alabama.
A Top-20 Gymnast
Sophomore Amanda Wellick currently ranks inside the top-20 in the RQS in three events. She is tied for 10h in the vault with an RQS of 9.920. She is also 14th in the all-around with a 39.385 and tied for 20th in the floor exercise with a 9.900.
A Career-Best All-Around
Sophomore Amanda Wellick put together her most complete meet of her Arkansas career last Saturday at No. 10 Georgia, as she set a new personal-best in the all-around with a 39.500. The score enabled Wellick to win her 14th event title of 2015, as she captured the all-around title. Wellick posted a pair of 9.9’s in the vault and floor, a 9.825 on the bars and tied a career-best 9.875 on the balance beam to put together the 39.500.
A Season-Best Beam
The Razorbacks were able to put together a clean routine on the balance beam last Saturday to score a season-best 49.100 in the event. Junior Sydnie Dillard tied her career-best score of 9.9 to anchor the event. Sophomore Amanda Wellick also tied her career-best on the beam at Georgia, posting a 9.875 from the second spot in the rotation.
Sophomore Amanda Wellick has been racking up the event titles in a rapid pace this season, as she has won 14 event titles through eight meets this season. The Wheaton, Illinois, native has captured five vault and all-around titles and four floor exercise crowns. Last week, Wellick has won multiple event titles in four meets this season, and had a three-week streak where she won multiple events.
She’s Also Vaulting Hard
Wellick is on a remarkable streak over the past five meets, as she has scored a 9.900-or-higher on the vault. Last week, the sophomore posted a 9.900 at No. 10 Georgia. Wellick has averaged 9.911 on the vault and has won five event titles.
A Strong Vault Duo
Sophomore Amanda Wellick and freshman Paige Zaziski have sparked the Arkansas vault rotation to a No. 12 ranking in the nation. Wellick, who performs from the anchor spot is currently tied for 10th in the nation with an average score of 9.920, while Zaziski is ranked 36th with a 9.885. The pair have posted a 9.850-plus score in 16 of their combined 18 routines this season, and have twice scored a 9.9 or better in the same meet.
Consistent Bar Performance
Last Saturday, the quartet of Erin Freier, Stephani Canizaro, Amanda Wellick and Paige Zaziski each posted a 9.825 on the uneven bars to lead the Razorbacks to a 49.075.
For more information on the Arkansas women’s gymnastics team, follow @RazorbackGym on Twitter.