MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – The No. 19-ranked University of Arkansas women’s gymnastics team overcame a slow start at the NCAA Morgantown Regional on Saturday, but it wouldn’t be enough to advance them to the NCAA Championship Session, as they scored a 196.500 to finish fourth at the NCAA Regional.
The Razorbacks started out with a 48.850 on the floor exercise, but recovered from that to post the program’s best score on the vault at the NCAA Regional with a 49.375. Arkansas ended the day with a season-best on the balance beam with a 49.150, to post a 196.500. Today’s total was the fifth-highest score for Arkansas at the NCAA Regional meet.
Sophomore All-American Amanda Wellick led Arkansas’ historic vault rotation, as she got a perfect 10 from one judge on her attempt to score a 9.925. The Wheaton, Illinois native finished in a tie for fifth at the meet, and extended her streak of 9.9-or-better on the vault to eight-straight meets. Wellick’s 9.925 is the third-highest score by an Arkansas gymnast on the vault in NCAA Regional history.
The 9.925 was one of two 9.9’s during the vault rotation for Arkansas, as junior All-SEC gymnast Heather Elswick scored a 9.9 from the third spot. Elswick’s total on the vault is the only eighth 9.9 scored by an Arkansas gymnast at the NCAA Regional and ties her for the fourth-best score on the vault in program history at Regionals. The Razorbacks also got a trio of 9.8-plus scores from sophomore Samantha Nelson (9.825) and freshmen Leah MacMoyle (9.850) and Paige Zaziski (9.875).
Arkansas collected a season-best 49.150 on the balance beam to end the afternoon. The Razorbacks concluded the rotation with four-straight 9.8-or-better scores, led by junior Sydnie Dillard’s 9.875. Dillard’s score allowed her to finish in a tie for sixth at the NCAA Regional. Senior Cailee Ellsworth ended her Arkansas career on a high-note, by posting a career-best 9.850 from the anchor slot. Zaziski matched Ellsworth score and Nelson scored a 9.800 to round out the quartet of 9.8-plus scores.
The bar rotation posted its seventh 49-plus score of the season with a 49.125. Zaziski, the Southeastern Conference Co-Freshman of the Year, earned a perfect 10 from one judge, as she scored a team-best 9.900. It was her third 9.9-plus of the season, as she finished in a tie for third in the event. The Razorbacks had a trio of 9.8-plus scores as senior Stephani Canizaro scored a 9.850 to finish in a tie for fifth and juniors Erin Freier finished with a 9.8.
After a bye to start the day, Arkansas took the floor exercise and posted a 48.850 thanks to a trio of 9.850’s from Elswick, Dillard and Nelson. For Dillard, it was the fourth-straight meet she has scores a 9.850, while Elswick posted her third-consecutive 9.850-or-higher in the event.
Co-defending national champion, Florida and No. 11 Stanford advanced to the NCAA Championship session with their 197.475 and 197.000 to finish first and second respectively. No. 14 Illinois finished third with 196.675. Host-school West Virginia finished fifth with a 195.650, while No. 25 New Hampshire rounded out the event with a 194.825.
Razorback of the Meet – Sophomore Amanda Wellick
• Scored the third-highest vault score in Arkansas history with a 9.925.
• Recorded a perfect 10 from one judge on the vault.
• Extended her streak of 9.9-plus scores on the vault to eight weeks.
• Scored a 9.825 on the floor exercise.
• Finished with a team-best 38.925 in the all-around.
Floor – Dillard (9.850), Nelson (9.850), Elswick (9.850), Wellick (9.825)
Vault – Nelson (9.825), MacMoyle (9.850), Elswick (9.900), Zaziski (9.875), Wellick (9.925)
Bars – Glover (9.800), Freier (9.800), Canizaro (9.850), Zaziski (9.900)
Beam – Zaziski (9.850), Nelson (9.800), Dillard (9.875), Ellsworth (9.850)
Amanda Wellick: 38.925
Paige Zaziski: 38.825
No. 1 Florida: 197.475
No. 2 Stanford: 197.000
No. 3 Illinois: 196.675
No. 4 Arkansas: 196.500
No. 6 West Virginia: 195.650
No. 5 New Hampshire: 194.825
Vault: Bridget Sloan, Florida, 9.975
Bars: Sunny Kato, Illinois/Bridget Sloan, Florida, 9.950
Beam: Ivana Hong, Stanford, 9.950
Floor: Bridget Sloan, Florida, 9.950
All-Around: Bridget Sloan, Florida, 39.800
Post-Meet Sound: Mark Cook
On His Team’s Performance
“Our warmups today were awesome, then we came out and had a couple of mishaps on the floor, but it was nothing that we couldn’t get out of. The final three events really rocked, we did a great job. We came in as the four seed and that’s how we came out. We needed a perfect meet in order to advance and we didn’t do that. We learned a lot, this is a young team, and I told them to think of the positive and we’ll learn from this. We competed hard and they never gave up so I’m happy that they left it all out on the floor.”
On Bouncing Back on the Vault
“We told them to move on from the first event. Other teams were having some issues as well, so we didn’t get into a funk over how we started. We remained positive and focused on our technic for the vault. We told them to go out and attack, that we had three events remaining, and they did that and we scored well.”
On Wellick’s and Zaziski’s Perfect 10’s
“Getting 10’s here shows that those routines are really well done and it builds for the future. This is a team sport, and we need a few more of those, but we are really proud of the girls. Both shown huge improvements over the season on those events and it is just something to improve upon going into next year.”
On The Upcoming Offseason
“We need to spend more time on detail and fix those corrections, but this is a really good group of girls. They give it their all and they’ve bought into everything we’ve done, we just have to take that next step in developing the team. I’m very proud of them. They’ve done well in the classroom and help out in the community and have a strong team bond, so they’ve really been a great team to have this year.”
For more information on the Arkansas women’s gymnastics team, follow @RazorbackGym on Twitter.