FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Arkansas women’s gymnastics team held its third intrasquad meet of the preseason on Tuesday afternoon. This meet included a unique feature, as head coach Mark Cook brought in judges to evaluate his team to help them prepare for the 2015 season.
Coach Cook and his staff were able to simulate regular season conditions on Tuesday, as a contingency of fans were in attendance at the Bev Lewis Center. The third intrasquad meet featured an Olympic rotation (vault, bars, beam and floor exercise) and marked the first time this preseason the Razorbacks have competed in front of judges.
“Bringing in judges to officiate changes the mindset of the athletes,” said Cook. “They need to be able to ignore (the judges) and focus on their performance not the evaluation. When you haven’t performed in front of a judge since last season, it does put some extra pressure on you, then you start focusing on a having a mistake-free routine. It’s great that we were able to simulate a live scoring situation today and get our team back in the flow of a judge’s evaluation.”
Arkansas had three gymnasts compete in the all-around on Tuesday and had several strong individual showings on the day, sparked by junior Sydnie Dillard, who had an outstanding beam routine. The Razorbacks hit every routine in each rotation on Tuesday and did not count a single fall throughout the entire intrasquad.
“We have our rotations and routines set and now we need to polish them,” said the head coach. “We vaulted very well today as a group. Sydnie did very well on the beam and I thought Paige Zaziski and Braie Speed did a nice set on bars. We had some strong showings from several different gymnasts today and overall everyone did a good job, but we still have to get better.”
The Razorbacks open the season on Jan. 9, when they travel to co-defending NCAA Champion, Oklahoma. Meet time from Norman, Okla., is set for 7 p.m.
For more information on the Arkansas gymnastics team, follow @RazorbackGym on Twitter.