FAYETTEVILLE – After opening the season with back-to-back 196s for the first time in program history, Arkansas’ gymnastics team has jumped up to No. 3 in the nation in this week’s GymInfo national rankings.
The ranking matches the highest in program history, most recently midway through the 2010 season.
Arkansas entered the year No. 11 in the preseason poll, but the Razorbacks are 5-0 with wins over No. 12 LSU, No. 17 Auburn, No. 19 Arizona, No. 23 Kentucky and No. 25 Iowa.
Arkansas opened the year by setting a school record for a season opener with a 196.45 in winning the Cancun Classic. That score was the second-best in the nation for the opening weekend. The Razorbacks topped that total with a 196.65 in beating Kentucky on Friday in its home and Southeastern Conference opener in Barnhill Arena. Against UK, Arkansas had a 49.075 on vault, 49.275 on bars, 48.90 on beam and 49.40 on floor. The bars and floor scores match the fourth-best in school history while the team total is 10th-best.
The top 10 teams in the nation are No. 1 Nebraska, No. 2 Utah, No. 3 Arkansas, No. 4 Oregon State, No. 5 Alabama, No. 6 Georgia, No. 7 UCLA, No. 8 Florida, No. 9 Penn State and No. 10 Oklahoma.
On the events, Arkansas is No. 6 on vault, tied for No. 3 on bars, tied for No. 9 on beam and No. 6 on floor.
Individually, senior All-American Jaime Pisani is tied for No. 7 on vault and sophomore All-American Katherine Grable is tied for No. 21. Senior Mariah Howdeshell is tied for No. 3 on bars, Pisani is tied for No. 10 and sophomore Shelby Salmon is tied for No. 15. Grable is No. 5 on beam. On floor, Pisani is tied for No. 2 and Grable is tied for No. 11. In the all-around, Grable is tied for No. 10, Pisani is No. 15 and junior Jordan Salsberg is tied for No. 18.
In the South Central Region rankings, Arkansas is No. 2 overall, No. 2 on vault, bars and floor, and tied for No. 2 on beam.
Pisani is No. 2 on vault, Grable tied for No. 5, Salsberg tied for No. 11 and junior All-American Kelci Lewis tied for No. 15. Howdeshell is tied for No. 1 on bars, Pisani is tied for No. 3, Salmon tied for No. 5 and Salsberg is No. 16. Grable is No. 3 on beam, sophomore Scarlett Williams is No. 13 and Salsberg No. 15. Pisani is No. 1 on floor, Grable No. 4 and Salsberg tied for No. 17. Grable is No. 5, Pisani No. 6 and Salsberg No. 7 in the all-around.
The Razorbacks are home again this weekend, facing No. 25 LSU on Friday at 7 p.m. in Barnhill Arena.
Arkansas’ gymnastics program is in its 10th season. In nine years, the Razorbacks have earned eight NCAA regional bids, won two NCAA regionals, advanced to the NCAA Championship five times, reached the NCAA Super Six, finished in the top 10 in the nation three times, finished ranked in the top 15 seven consecutive seasons, and produced 28 All-America selections and 13 NCAA individual event finals appearances.
In recognition of the 10-year anniversary of the program, members of the inaugural team from 2003 will be introduced during the meet on Friday. Other former Razorbacks are also returning and they will be introduced following the competition.