CLEVELAND – Junior All-American Jaime Pisani won floor and sophomore Amy Borsellino tied for third on vault to lead Arkansas’ gymnastics team to a tie for fourth in the NCAA Championship Session I Semifinal on Friday.
Arkansas missed advancing to Saturday’s Super Six by one spot with the top three teams from each of the semifinal sessions advancing, but the Razorbacks tied No. 7 Georgia and beat No. 11 Illinois.
Oklahoma won the meet with a 196.775, followed by Michigan with a 196.70, UCLA 196.50, Arkansas and Georgia with a 195.45, and Illinois 195.10.
"We tied Georgia for fourth, which is good," co-head coach Mark Cook said. "Razorbacks are tenacious. We kept fighting and that’s the attitude we want to see. We have a lot of young kids and had a lot of highlights this year with the SEC regular-season title, beating Georgia for the first time, beating No. 1 Florida twice and winning the regional."
Individually, Pisani matched her overall school record on floor for the fourth time this year and set a school record for the NCAA Championship with a 9.95. Borsellino had a career-high 9.90 on vault, which is the second-best mark in school history in the championship.
In addition, freshman Katherine Grable tied fourth on floor and for seventh on vault, Pisani tied for seventh on beam and sophomore Kelci Lewis tied for eighth on floor. In the all-around Pisani was fifth with a 39.35, Grable 11th with a 38.80 and sophomore Jordan Salsberg 12th with a 38.60.
Arkansas had the traditional Olympic order rotation of vault, bye, bars, beam, bye and floor.
The Razorbacks opened with a 49.15 on vault and finished with a 49.275 on floor, but had a 48.575 on bars and a 48.45 on beam.
The 49.15 on vault was the team’s fourth-best score this season. Borsellino had the 9.90, followed by Grable with a 9.875, Amanda Siebert and Jordan Salsberg with a 9.80 each, Pisani a 9.775 and Michelle Stout a 9.65.
The scores for Borsellino and Siebert are career highs. Borsellino’s 9.90 is the second-best in school history in the NCAA Championship to Stout’s overall school record 9.975 in 2009.
Through the first rotation, Arkansas led the meet with its 49.15, followed by Georgia with a 49.075 on bars, Oklahoma’s 49.00 on floor and Michigan’s 48.75 on beam.
After its first bye, Arkansas scored a 48.575 on bars. The Razorbacks had one fall and were forced to count a mistake.
Pisani, Grable and junior Genny Salvatore all had a 9.825 and Mariah Howdeshell a 9.80, followed by Salsberg with a 9.30 and Stout a 9.075. The 9.825s by Salvatore, Pisani and Grable tie for eighth-best in school history in the NCAA Championship.
Through three rotations, UCLA had 98.775, Oklahoma 98.225, Michigan 98.00, Georgia 97.775, Arkansas 97.725 and Illinois 96.775.
The Razorbacks moved to beam and scored a 48.45 after counting a mistake.
Pisani had a 9.80, Salsberg a 9.75, freshman Scarlett Williams and 9.70, senior Stacy Bartlett and freshman Shelby Salmon a 9.60 each, and Grable a 9.20. The 9.80 by Pisani is the ninth-best for Arkansas in the championship.
"On bars, we were a little tight," Cook said. "Then we were pretty good on beam. Katherine fell. She had not done that all year, but this is an unusual meet and it’s high-pressure."
Following a bye, Arkansas closed on floor with a 49.275. Pisani tied her overall school record for the fourth time this season with a 9.95. Grable had a 9.90, Lewis a 9.85, Borsellino a 9.825, and Salsberg and freshman Bailee Zumwalde a 9.75 each.
"On floor, we were awesome," Cook said. "Jaime was outstanding."
The Razorbacks advanced to Cleveland after winning the NCAA North Central Regional in Denver on April 2. Arkansas beat No. 1 Florida for the second time this season in the regional, and also topped No. 13 Boise State, No. 19 Denver, No. 20 Arizona and No. 27 Brigham Young.
Arkansas was making its fourth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Championship and fifth in six years. Arkansas competed for the first time in 2003, but the five championship appearances already rank 18th in the country. Over the nine-year stretch the program has existed, the five appearances rank 12th in the nation. The Razorbacks have earned a spot in an NCAA Regional eight straight years, every year except the first season.
The Session II Semifinal included No. 1 Alabama, No. 4 Oregon State, No. 5 Florida, No. 8 Utah, No. 9 Nebraska and No. 12 Kent State.
The Super Six is Saturday and the NCAA Individual Event Finals are Sunday at noon (central). The Razorbacks are expected to have entries in at least a couple of events, but qualifiers will officially be announced later.
As a team, Arkansas finishes the season 16-10-1. The 10 losses are the fewest in school history and the 16 wins the third-most.
NCAA Gymnastics ChampionshipSession I SemifinalFriday, April 15, 2011 Wolstein CenterCleveland, Ohio
Team Standings:No. 3 Oklahoma 196.775, No. 6 Michigan 196.70, No. 2 UCLA 196.50, No. 10 Arkansas 195.45 and No. 7 Georgia 195.45, No. 11 Illinois 195.10.
Vault: 49.15Amanda Siebert 9.80, Jordan Salsberg 9.80, Amy Borsellino 9.90, Katherine Grable 9.875, Jaime Pisani 9.775, Michelle Stout 9.65
Bars: 48.575Jordan Salsberg 9.30, Genny Salvatore 9.825, Katherine Grable 9.825, Jaime Pisani 9.825, Michelle Stout 9.075, Mariah Howdeshell 9.80
Beam: 48.45Scarlett Williams 9.70, Jaime Pisani 9.80, Jordan Salsberg 9.75, Shelby Salmon 9.60, Katherine Grable 9.20, Stacy Bartlett 9.60
Floor: 49.275Bailee Zumwalde 9.75, Jordan Salsberg 9.75, Amy Borsellino 9.825, Kelci Lewis 9.85, Katherine Grable 9.90, Jaime Pisani 9.95
Download: NCAA Score Sheet Combined.pdf