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Razorbacks fifth in NCAA Super Six

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Razorbacks fifth in NCAA Super Six

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LINCOLN, Neb. – To the rest of the world, the 10th-ranked University of Arkansas gymnastics team might have been the Cinderella story but the Razorbacks acted liked they belonged at the 2009 NCAA Super Six Championship in Lincoln, Neb., Friday. The Razorbacks made the program’s first Super Six appearance and might well be the youngest team to reach the second night of competition. The highlights continued as Arkansas scored a 196.475 finishing fifth overall in the final team event of the 2009 season. Arkansas edged SEC-foe No. 4 LSU beating the Tigers for the first time in program history. Arkansas drew nearly the same rotation for the Super Six as the Razorbacks had in their session previous night. They opened the meet in the locker room with a bye in the preliminaries followed by the floor. Friday, the Razorbacks opened the meet on the floor exercise and would end the meet with the final bye. It was difficult to hear the floor music over the roar of the SEC-friendly crowd as they erupted for each competitor on every event. Despite the distractions, All-American Sarah Nagashima knocked it out of the park opening with a 9.8 on the floor. Freshman Molly Lewis followed with a 9.825, tying her career-high mark. Senior All-American Alex LaChance took center stage and posted a 9.85 as the Razorback scores continued to climb. All-American Michelle Stout was fourth in the order for Arkansas and was solid in her tumbling passes earning a 9.80. All-American Casey Jo Magee took it to another level leading the team with a 9.90 – the top Razorback score of the night. All-American Jaime Pisani finished strong with a 9.875 leading the Razorbacks to a 49.25 on the floor – the highest floor score for Arkansas at the NCAA Championships. The leadoff on back-to-back events, Nagashima was up first on the vault and stuck her landing earning a 9.775. The sticky feet continued for Arkansas with freshman Mariah Howdeshell tying her career-best with a 9.85. LaChance added a 9.80 and Magee tallied a 9.875 but Arkansas saved the best for last. Pisani and Stout both finished with 9.90s giving Arkansas a 49.325 for the event. The Razorbacks sat through their second and final bye in the third rotation and when the dust settled and all six teams had two events done, Arkansas was tied with LSU in fourth place. Just as in the preliminaries, Arkansas would finish on bars and beam as the night continued. Arkansas had the task of following third-ranked Alabama on the bars after the Crimson Tide posted a 49.325 on the event. Scores were a bit tighter for the Razorbacks staying in the 9.7s for the first four routines. Nagashima finally broke through with a 9.80 and Stout finished with a team-leading 9.875 for a 48.975. Meanwhile, top-ranked Georgia and No. 2 Utah separated themselves with the Gym Dogs scoring a 49.575 on floor with no score lower than 9.90. The Utes tallied a 49.525 on the vault and after three events and four rotations, Georgia led the field with a 148.200, followed by Utah at 148.150 and Alabama in third with 148.075 in a very close race for the top spots. The Razorbacks closed their evening on the balance beam and scores were again tough to come by for Arkansas. Pisani opened with a 9.75, followed by a 9.65 from LaChance and a 9.775 from junior Amy DeFilippo despite some solid performances. Arkansas’ next performer fell putting a bit of pressure on the final two to stay on the equipment – and they did just that. Nagashima stepped up with a 9.85 and Magee put a cap on the meet with a 9.90 as the Razorbacks’ first Super Six appearance wound down. With one rotation remaining, all Arkansas cold do was waiting for the finally tally and the trophy presentations. With the final numbers in, top-ranked Georgia won its fifth consecutive national title scoring a 197.825. Third-ranked Alabama was second with a 197.575, followed by No. 2 Utah with 197.425. Florida was fourth scoring a 196.725, with No. 10 Arkansas fifth at 196.475. The sixth-ranked Tigers of LSU rounded out the scores in sixth place with 196.375. Stout, Nagashima and LaChance all compete in Saturday’s Individual Finals in Lincoln. Friday’s Super Six will air on CBS May 9 at 3 p.m. Central. Check your local listing for more information. For more information about Arkansas gymnastics, log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.



Sports Category : Gymnastics (W)