FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. Freshman Jaime Pisani won the second all-around title of her career leading the seventh-ranked University of Arkansas gymnastics team to its second-best score in school history in a near-miss against Southeastern Conference leader No. 2 Georgia Friday.
Arkansas (6-3, 3-2 SEC) scored a 196.725 just shy of Georgia’s (9-0, 5-0 SEC) 196.925. Pisani tied her career-best with a 39.350. Junior Sarah Nagashima just missed her career-best with a second-place all-around showing scoring a 39.175.
“Of course, as a coach, I always want more but I couldn’t be more pleased with our effort tonight,” said Arkansas co-head coach Rene Cook. “It’s great to score that score and count it toward our national average. It’s great to be that close and compete that well.”
As with any good meet, it came down to the final rotation. The margin was just 0.125 with Georgia leading heading into the final rotation after the Gym Dogs struggled on the floor.
The Razorbacks headed into the floor exercise while Georgia would finish on beam with both teams ranked fourth in the nation on their respective events.
The door opened for Arkansas after the first two performances in the final rotation as the Gym Dogs struggled to start the beam. Arkansas had a 167.10-166.500 lead with four athletes remaining.
But Georgia rallied with a 9.90 from Tiffany Tolnay, a 9.95 from Grace Taylor and a 9.975 from Courtney Kupets as the All-Americans rallied to lead the Gym Dogs to the win.
“We know Georgia is a great beam team and we were going to have to be nearly perfect on the floor to win,” said Cook. “It was an exciting end to the meet. It feels great to have put some pressure on Georgia and know that anything could happen in the last event. We will see them again at SECs and hopefully in the postseason and tonight’s meet will be something for us to build on.”
Junior All-Americans Casey Jo Magee and Michelle Stout joined Pisani and senior Alex LaChance as seven athletes tied for the vault win with 9.90s.
Magee was back on the awards stand finishing third on bars while Pisani and Stout tied for the win on floor.
Arkansas blasted out of the gates posting a school record 49.450 on the vault in the opening rotation. The Razorbacks got career-bests from Magee and LaChance with 9.90s while Pisani and Stout also posted 9.90s on the event. Nagashima added a 9.85 tying her season-high and freshman Mariah Howdeshell contributed a 9.80 for Arkansas.
The Razorbacks were also solid on the bars scoring a 49.00 trailing Georgia, 98.675-98.450 after two rotations. Magee paced Arkansas while tying her season-high with a 9.875 on the bars.
Arkansas managed a 49.00 on the beam in the third rotation as well and closed the gap with the Gym Dogs as they struggled on the floor counting a 9.425.
The Razorbacks wrap up the SEC regular season next week traveling to No. 10 LSU before returning home to host Minnesota in the final regular season meet of the year. For more information about Arkansas gymnastics log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.
— ADD SCORES —
No. 2 Georgia 196.925, No. 7 Arkansas 196.725
Friday, February 20, 2009
Barnhill Arena, Fayetteville, Ark.
All-Around: Jaime Pisani (Arkansas) 39.350, Sarah Nagashima (Arkansas) 39.175, Courtney Kupets (Georgia) 39.000, Tiffany Tolnay (Georgia) 38.900, Casey Jo Magee (Arkansas) 38.675.
Arkansas: Vault: 49.450 (school record)
Sarah Nagashima 9.85, Mariah Howdeshell 9.80, Alex LaChance 9.90, Casey Jo Magee 9.90, Jaime Pisani 9.90, Michelle Stout 9.90.
Georgia: Bars: 49.350
Marcia Newby 9.775, Kathry Ding 9.775, Gina Nuccio 9.85, Grace Taylor 9.925, Tiffany Tolnay 9.85, Courtney Kupets 9.95.
Arkansas: Bars: 49.00
Amy DeFilippo 9.75, Mariah Howdeshell 9.75, Casey Jo Magee 9.875, Jaime Pisani 9.70, Sarah Nagashima 9.825, Michelle Stout 9.80.
Georgia: Vault: 49.325
Lauren Sessler 9.90, Kathryn Ding 9.75, Cassidy McComb 9.875, Marcia Newby 9.90, Tiffany Tolnay 9.90, Courtney Kupets 9.65.
Arkansas: Beam 49.00
Sarah Nagashima 9.70, Amy DeFilippo 9.85, Stacy Bartlett 9.75, Jaime Pisani 9.85, Alex LaChance 9.725, Casey Jo Magee 9.825.
Georgia: Floor: 48.900
Abby Stack 9.825, Hilary Mauro 9.875, Cassidy McComb 9.875, Grace Taylor 9.90, Tiffany Tolnay 9.25, Courtney Kupets 9.425.
Arkansas: Floor: 49.275
Molly Lewis 9.85, Sarah Nagashima 9.80, Alex LaChance 9.825, Michelle Stout 9.90, Jaime Pisani 9.90, Casey Jo Magee 9.075.
Georgia: Beam: 49.350
Hilary Mauro 9.875, Cassidy McComb 9.050, Tiffany Tolnay 9.90, Grace Taylor 9.95, Courtney Kupets 9.975, Paige Burns 9.65.