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Practice meet open to public

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Practice meet open to public

FAYETTEVILLE – In continuing to prepare for the 2011 season, Arkansas’ gymnastics team has scheduled a practice meet in Barnhill Arena for Friday at 5 p.m. The meet is free and open to the public.

Judges will be recording scores for all competitors on all four events as the Razorbacks focus on the Jan. 7 opener at No. 4 Oklahoma.

"We will see the Razorbacks perform a preview of optional routines on Friday," co-head coach Mark Cook says. "This is a formal rehearsal for the season with full routines on all four events and officiating. With a lot of new members on the team, it will give them a chance to get their feet wet in a pressure-type situation."

The Razorbacks have had four intrasquad meets in the Huntley Facility, but this will be the first major workout in Barnhill.

"We have had a good fall getting ready for the season," co-head coach René Cook says. "We have a young team, but we have experienced veterans, too, and we have good leadership. Friday will be a good chance for everyone to perform in meet-like conditions. We’re looking forward to seeing how we do and continuing to get ready for the season."

Arkansas is ranked No. 11 in the pre-season GymInfo rankings after finishing the 2010 season No. 11 in the country.

The Razorbacks have earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament seven straight years and advanced to the NCAA Championship the last three. Last year’s club recorded wins over eight teams ranked in the top 25 and finished second in the NCAA West Regional at UCLA to advance to the NCAA Championship for the fourth time in five years.

Two All-Americans lead the Razorbacks in 2011. Junior Jaime Pisani earned three All-America honors last year – first-team on floor and vault, and second-team in the all-around. She also finished 10th on floor and tied for 12th on vault at the NCAA individual event finals. Senior Michelle Stout, who missed 2010 with an injury, is the other returning All-American. She was a first-teamer on vault in 2008, and on vault, bars and in the all-around in 2009. She was also a second-teamer on floor in 2009. The first first-team All-American in school history, she was also the first to qualify for the NCAA individual event finals. She placed fourth on vault in 2008. In 2009, she was fifth on vault and tied for seventh on bars.

Other returnees are senior Stacy Bartlett, juniors Mariah Howdeshell and Genny Salvatore, and sophomores Natalie Bohonsky, Amy Borsellino, Kelci Lewis and Amanda Siebert.

Arkansas welcomes five newcomers this year, including sophomore Jordan Salsberg, a transfer from Southeast Missouri State, and freshmen Katherine Grable, Shelby Salmon, Scarlett Williams and Bailee Zumwalde.



Sports Category : Gymnastics (W)