DULUTH, Ga. – The sixth-seeded University of Arkansas women’s gymnastics team ended the 2015 Southeastern Conference Gymnastics Championship with a pair of 49.200-plus scores on the floor exercise and vault to collect the school’s second-highest score at the SEC Championship, posting a 195.950 to finish second in the afternoon session of the Championship.
After collecting a combined 97.500 in the first two rotations, the Razorback gymnastics team battled back and capitalized on its best two events of the season to close the session with the program’s second-highest score at the SEC Championship with a 195.950. Arkansas collected a 49.200 on the floor and followed that up with a 49.250 on the vault to conclude the afternoon. Both scores mark the second-highest total for Arkansas in both events at the SEC Championship, as the team recorded its 11th-straight 49-plus score on the vault and its 10th-consecutive 49-plus on the floor during the season.
The 195.950 allowed Arkansas to finish second in the afternoon session, as No. 5 seed Georgia, who is ranked ninth nationally, edged out the Razorbacks by posting a 196.000. No. 8-seeded Missouri was able to bypass No. 7 seed Kentucky, as they finished third in the session with a 195.700, while Kentucky posted a 195.025.
On the floor, the Razorbacks were led by junior Heather Elswick, who collected one of the team’s two 9.9’s on the afternoon. Elswick was one of three gymnasts in the afternoon session to post 9.9 on the floor, as it was the highest score recorded on the afternoon on the vault. The score puts her in a seven-way tie for the second-highest floor score recorded by an Arkansas gymnast at the SEC Championship. Junior Sydnie Dillard and sophomores Samantha Nelson and Amanda Wellick each posted a 9.850 to give Arkansas a 49.200 on the floor.
The No. 18-ranked team in the nation followed that performance with another 49-plus on the vault, as the Razorbacks posted a 49.250 on the vault. Wellick captured the vault title during the afternoon session with her 9.900, while freshman Paige Zaziski was just behind her teammate with a 9.875 to place second in the event. Wellick’s score puts her in a four-way tie for the highest vault score by a Razorback gymnast at the SEC Championship.
Wellick also won the all-around during the first session, as she collected a combined score of 39.225. The score ties Wellick with Sarah Nagashima – who scored a 39.225 in 2010 – for the eighth-best all-around score for an Arkansas gymnast at the SEC Championship.
Junior Keara Glover led off the afternoon for Arkansas, and posted the team’s best score on the uneven bars from the leadoff spot with a 9.8. The score to lead the Razorbacks to a 48.825 in the event. It was the second 9.8-plus score on the bars for Glover this season, while the 48.825 tied for the sixth-best score on the bars at the SEC Championship in program history.
In the second rotation, the Razorbacks collected a 48.675 on the balance beam. Dillard continued her streak of counting on every routine in her Arkansas career, as she tied for a team-best 9.775 on the beam with Nelson.
Overall, Arkansas finished sixth at the 2015 SEC Gymnastics Championship. Defending champion, and third-seeded, Alabama, successfully defended its title as they pulled the upset over top-seeded Florida and No. 2 LSU with a 197.525. The Tigers finished second with a 197.450, while the Gators placed third with a 197.400. Auburn came in fourth overall with a 196.925.
Razorback of the Meet – Sophomore Amanda Wellick
• Tied the program’s individual record for a vault score at the SEC Championship with a 9.9
• Collected the highest all-around score of the afternoon session with a 39.225
• Won the vault during the afternoon session with a 9.900
• Today’s 9.9 on the vault marks her seventh-straight 9.9-or-better on the vault
• Her 9.85 on the floor marks the 11th 9.8-or-better in the event this season
• Scored a 9.775 and a 9.700 on the uneven bars and balance beam respectively
Bars – Keara Glover (9.800)
Floor – Sydnie Dillard (9.850), Samantha Nelson (9.850), Heather Elswick (9.900), Amanda Wellick (9.850)
Vault – Samantha Nelson (9.8), Leah MacMoyle (9.85), Heather Elswick (9.825), Cailee Ellsworth (9.8), Paige Zaziski (9.875), Amanda Wellick (9.9)
Arkansas All-Around Scores
Amanda Wellick: 39.225
Paige Zaziski: 39.125
No. 3 Alabama: 197.525
No. 2 LSU: 197.450
No. 1 Florida: 197.400
No. 5 Georgia: 196.000
No. 6 Arkansas: 195.950
No. 8 Missouri: 195.700
No. 7 Kentucky: 195.025
Afternoon Session Event Winners
Vault: Amanda Wellick, Arkansas, 9.900
Bars: Rachel Schick/Brittany Rodgers, Georgia, 9.900
Beam: Mary Beth Box, Georgia, 9.925
Floor: Heather Elswick, Arkansas, Gigi Marino Georgia, Taylor Puryear, Kentucky 9.900
All-Around: Amanda Wellick, 39.225
Post-Meet Sound: Mark Cook
On His Team’s Performance
“Coaches are never satisfied, but I’m proud of the fight our team demonstrated today. We were a bit off on some routines, but we kept fighting through them. We showed a lot of fight and tenacity today and now we have to focus so we don’t make those little errors and can score higher. We had a good score and today will be a learning tool. We’ll take somethings we learned today into Regionals in a couple of weeks.”
On The Narrow Defeat
“We knew we ended the session with our best two events and we had to attack it and we did. We thought we could squeeze out the session win, but Georgia’s last competitor hit, and they narrowly beat us for the second time this year. We’ve had a close loss against them in Athens, and it’s frustrating but at the same time it’s promising because it shows we are not far away and we will continue to get better.
On Amanda Wellick’s Performance
“She is a seasoned-competitor. This is her second SEC Championship and she was a bit off today in warmups, but she refocused and went through the meet with confidence.”
The No. 18-ranked Razorbacks will now wait and see where they will travel for the 2015 NCAA Regional, which will be held on April 4. The 36-team field will be announced this Monday, March 23, at 2 p.m. CT on NCAA.com. The top 18-ranked teams in the Regional Qualifying Score will be assigned to specific locations throughout the nation, while the remaining 18 teams will compete inside their respective region.
Check back with ArkansasRazorbacks.com, or follow @RazorbackGym on Twitter, to find out where Arkansas will compete for the 2015 NCAA Regionals.