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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. –A sellout crowd of 15,075 cheered on the 10th-ranked University of Arkansas as the Gym’Backs scored a season-best 195.95 against the fourth-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide in Southeastern Conference gymnastics action in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Friday.
The Tide won the meet with a season best 196.775-195.95 but Arkansas sophomore Michelle Stout won the all-around title, Arkansas’ first of the year and Stout’s career-best. Sophomore Casey Jo Magee finished third on the all-around and won the beam title with a career-best 9.925.
“It was really a great meet,” said co-head coach Rene Cook. “We didn’t open well on the bars and we’re disappointed that we had to count a fall but we stuck the vault landings and really did a good job of coming back and getting a good away score.”
Arkansas recorded a season-best 49.225 on the vault in the second rotation with two season and two career-bests on the event. The score was also the second-best vault total in school history. In addition, the Gym’Backs added a season-best 49.150 on the beam behind a career-best from sophomore Casey Jo Magee who scored a 9.925 to win the event.
“I’m very pleased,” said co-head coach Mark Cook. “We had great tenacity and did some great things tonight. We were a little jittery in the first rotation but we had some phenomenal performances tonight.”
Arkansas opened the meet on the uneven bars where they rank 12th in the country this week. Sophomore Amy DeFilippo was first up posting a 9.775. A fall in the second position forced Arkansas to be flawless in the rest of the routines.
Senior Emily Peacock answered the call tying her season-best with a 9.825 while Stout, competing for the all-around for the first time this year, added a 9.80. But a second fall put a bit of pressure on the Gym’Backs. Arkansas finished with a 48.525 trailing Alabama who posted a season-best 49.40 on the vault.
Junior Alexandra LaChance opened for Arkansas on the vault with a season-best 9.80. Magee responded with a career-best 9.875 followed by a near-best 9.825 from senior Samantha Cortez as Arkansas began to rock the vault.
The rocking continued with a season-high 9.875 from Stout and Springdale, Ark., native Ashly McPherson capped the event with tying her career-best with a 9.85.
Alabama held the lead after two events, 98.75-97.75, with solid starts for both teams as they moved to the third rotation with the Crimson Tide on beam and Arkansas on the floor exercise.
The Gym’Backs began with McPherson’s career-best 9.75 followed by Stout who tied her season-high with a 9.80 for Arkansas. Magee, one of three Arkansas all-arounders, added a career-best 9.85 on the floor as the Gym’Backs thrived on the enthusiastic crowd. Cortez added a solid 9.80, and Peacock anchored with a 9.85 as Arkansas tallied a 49.05.
Arkansas closed the gap with the Crimson Tide, trailing 147.60-146.80 heading into the final rotation. Alabama moved to the floor exercise where they rank fourth this week while Arkansas finished on the beam, where the Gym’Backs rank 12th in the country.
The final rotation began with a 9.75 from Cortez and Arkansas notched a 9.75 from Stout in her first beam performance of the year. Peacock followed with a season-high 9.85 as the Gym’Backs continued to put together one of the best meets of the season. A career-best 9.875 from freshman Stacy Bartlett was followed by Magee who saved the best for last with career-best 9.925 to win the event. Magee’s score ties the third best beam score in program history. Bartlett finished tied for second on the beam for the Gym’Backs.
The meet will air tape delayed on ESPN2 at 1:30 p.m. central Feb. 17.
Arkansas returns home for back-to-back SEC home meets beginning with Kentucky Feb. 15. The Gym’Backs host Auburn Feb. 22. For more information and tickets, please call the Razorback Ticket Office at 57-LBACK or log on to LADYBACKS.COM.