FAYETTEVILLE – Arkansas senior All-American gymnast Jaime Pisani is one of 26 student-athletes across the country to earn an Ethnic Minority and Women’s Enhancement Scholarship from the NCAA.
The scholarships are worth $6,000 with 13 ethnic minorities and 13 female recipients selected. The scholarships were developed to increase opportunities for qualified minority and female candidates who are entering their first year of post-graduate studies.
"Jaime represents the very best the University of Arkansas and intercollegiate athletics has to offer," Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long says. "An accomplished performer in the classroom and at the elite level of collegiate gymnastics, she also is committed to helping serve her fellow student-athletes and those in need in her community."
Pisani is also a candidate for the NCAA’s Walter Byers Post-Graduate scholarship to be awarded later this month.
"Jaime is worthy of any award and especially a post-graduate scholarship," co-head coach René Cook says. "She’s a great student, athlete and role model. She’s looking to continue her education and get her master’s, and at this point she’s looking at becoming a college coach."
To qualify, each must have been accepted or seeking admission into a sports administration or similar program.
"We are so proud of Jaime," co-head coach Mark Cook says. "She exemplifies the best of the title ‘student-athlete.’ We look forward to seeing the amazing things she will do in her future."
Pisani, from Ringwood, N.J., has a 3.664 cumulative grade point average in kinesiology – applied exercise science.
"I have been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to be involved in athletics my entire life," Pisani says. "Due to this intense background in sports performance and the fundamental knowledge of how the body responds to physical activity, I am confident I am prepared for these future endeavors."
Pisani has had a huge season for the Razorbacks. She is ranked No. 1 in the nation in the all-around, No. 2 on floor, tied for No. 5 on bars, tied for No. 16 on vault and tied for No. 20 on beam. She is the only Southeastern Conference gymnast ranked in the top 20 in all five events and she and teammate Katherine Grable are the only SEC gymnasts with three top five rankings.
Pisani’s No. 1 ranking in the all-around is her second of the year. She was No. 1 on floor for five weeks earlier in the season.
She has 26 individual event titles this year, including nine in the last two weeks, and 85 for her career.
The 2011 South Central Region Gymnast of the Year has season highs of 9.925 on vault, 9.95 on bars, 9.95 on beam, 9.975 on floor and 39.725 in the all-around. Her 9.975 on floor and 39.725 in the all-around tie for the best marks in the nation this year while her 9.95 beam ties for second.
Her 39.725 in the all-around, 9.975 on floor, 9.95 on bars and 9.95 on beam are school records.
Arkansas’ school record-holder with nine career All-America selections, she received the Spirit of the Razorback Award earlier this year at the annual Red Tie Salute to Excellence Dinner. The award goes to a Razorback student-athlete whose athletic performance lifts up their sport and team, and whose character exemplifies the goals of the athletic department and contributes to the community.
Pisani has earned multiple SEC and UA academic honor roll honors, and she’s earned Scholar-Athlete honors from the National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches for Women. A member of Arkansas’ Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, she has attended the Razorback Leadership Academy. In the community, she has participated with the Sweat Hawgs program to encourage physical fitness to elementary students, the Book Hogs program to encourage reading to elementary students, the Southeastern Conference’s Together We Can food drive, Lift Up America to feed the hungry in Northwest Arkansas, the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program, serving food and helping clean up at the Seven Hills Homeless Shelter, and walking dogs and helping clean up at the Fayetteville Animal Shelter, among many others.
Pisani and South Carolina track jumper Radiance Basden are the only SEC student-athletes to earn scholarships this year.