FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas gymnastics team held its third intrasquad meet of the season last weekend and co-head coach René Cook says her team is making progress in preparing for the 2011 season.
"We’re in our third month of practice and we still have a lot of work to do, but we’re starting to see what we expect during the season," she says.
The Razorbacks open the season Jan. 7 at Oklahoma and open the home schedule on Jan. 14 against Alabama in Barnhill Arena.Arkansas finished No. 11 in the nation last season and was also No. 11 in national attendance average. The Razorbacks have advanced to an NCAA Regional seven straight years and to the NCAA Championship three consecutive seasons.
The Razorbacks are hoping to extend those streaks this season.
"On vault, we have two All-Americans (Jaime Pisani and Michelle Stout) and the Level 10 Junior Olympic all-around national champion (Katherine Grable)," Cook says. "On bars, Michelle was an All-American two years ago and we probably have the most depth we’ve ever had. We have eight really strong, viable beam workers, including a former J.O. national champion (Jordan Salsberg). On floor, Jaime was an All-American last year and we’ve improved the quality of our routines from top to bottom. There’s still work to do, but we’re getting there and getting excited about the season."
Pisani was a first-team All-American on floor and vault last year, and a second-teamer in the all-around. In 2009, she was a second-teamer on vault, bars and floor.
Stout missed the 2010 season with an injury, but was a four-time All-American in 2009. She was a first-teamer on vault, bars and in the all-around, and a second-teamer on floor.
Grable won the Level 10 J.O. all-around national title earlier this year, finishing just ahead of fellow Razorback freshman Bailee Zumwalde. Another freshman, Scarlett Williams, tied for ninth in the all-around.