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FAYETTEVILLE – University of Arkansas seniors Samantha Cortez and Emily Peacock took the Gym’Backs out in style with a win over Michigan State, 196.0075-194.725, in Barnhill Arena Friday.
The 11th-ranked Gym’Backs benefited from a final routine 9.90 from Peacock who won the event. Sophomore Casey Jo Magee finished as the all-around winner scoring a 39.350 and winning the beam with a 9.85. Magee added a second-place finish on vault and tied for second on the floor.
“There is just a whole bunch of emotions right now,” said Peacock. “It’s hard to describe. I have no regrets. This experience has been everything I could have hoped for.”
“It was a great meet,” echoed Cortez. “I tried to enjoy each moment and I really did that tonight. I’m sad to let Barnhill go but I’m excited to have been a part of this. We’re not done yet. We have a lot of the season left and we still have several goals to accomplish.”
The meet was a somewhat subdued affair with Arkansas coming out of gate with a solid 49.075 on the vault. But a pair of scores in the high 48 range on bars and beam dampened the overall energy. The Gym’Backs, however, got it back on floor finishing with their second-highest floor score of the year at 49.225.
“We were really focused on getting a 196 and keeping those scores consistent,” said co-head coach Rene Cook. “That’s important at this point in the season. We’re pleased with the win and happy we could send the seniors out on a high note tonight.”
Magee had a quietly solid night in the all-around victory. The win is her third of the year.
The opening rotation for Arkansas saw the Gym’Backs post three 9.825s from Magee, Cortez and sophomore Michelle Stout.
Sophomore Allison Daniels won the bar title, the first of her career, with a 9.85. Stout and Magee added 9.80s as Arkansas opened a 98.025-97.40 lead over the Spartans.
Magee won the beam title and Peacock chipped in with a 9.825 to tie for second on the event. Arkansas had a fall and a wobble counting a 9.575 but still clung to the lead through three rotations.
Unbeknownst to the crowd or gymnasts, Magee and Spartan Rochelle Robinson were tied heading into the final rotation for the all-around title.
Magee finished with a 9.875 on the floor bettering Robinson’s 9.775 on the beam to secure the win.
The victory sends Arkansas into the Southeastern Conference Championship next week in Duluth, Ga., where they face some of the nation’s best teams.
For more information about Arkansas gymnastics, please log on to LADYBACKS.COM.