IOWA CITY, Iowa — The Arkansas gymnastics team finished third at the NCAA Iowa City Regional on Friday evening with a score of 195.500. The top two from the six-team regional – No. 1 Oklahoma (197.575) and No. 12 Nebraska (196.550) – will move on to NCAA Session II to join 10 others from across the country.
Although the 2016 season came to a close for the team, Amanda Wellick qualified for Nationals with an all-around score of 39.350. She was the second-highest all-arounder who was not on an advancing team, joining Mollie Drenth of Iowa, who posted a 39.450. Among all competitors, Wellick finished fifth.
Starting out the night on floor exercise, Sydnie Dillard and Stephani Canizaro started out the rotation with back-to-back 9.800’s. Dillard made her 50th career start as a Razorback, having never missed a floor and balance beam rotation.
To cap the lineup, Sydney McGlone highlighted her 9.825 with a well-executed double layout, and then Wellick posted a team-high 9.850 to lead Arkansas to an opening 49.000. Wellick tied for third among all competitors in the event with her score.
On vault, Wellick shined once again, clinching a tie for second on the day with a score of 9.875. She was leading the way until the Sooners came up in the sixth rotation and had scores of 9.900 from Chayse Capps and a tying 9.875 by Haley Scaman. Braie Speed added a vault of 9.800, her 10th of that or higher this season
After a bye, the uneven bars lineup posted a 49.100. Canizaro notched a career-high 9.875 for the seventh time in her career, and Erin Freier matched that same score. Speed put up her second 9.800 of the night at the No. 5 spot in the lineup.
Moving on to beam, the Razorbacks’ last event of the evening, Dillard got things started with a 9.800 in her final performance. Paige Zaziski and Wellick followed with back-to-back 9.850’s; it was Wellick’s seventh score of that or better, with Zaziski reaching the mark for the fourth time this season.
Arkansas rounded off the last event with a 49.025. Since beginning the season with a 48.225 in the Cancun Classic, the Razorbacks scored at least a 49.000 on beam in the final dozen meets. Arkansas finished ahead of host No. 19 Iowa (195.450), Central Michigan (194.675) and Kent State (194.525) in the meet overall.
“Although we had some uncharacteristic mistakes early on, we fought all the way through the night. After our first two rotations we could have put our heads down and just done our routines, but we didn’t. We came back out and fought for every little tenth we could get the rest of the way. We learned a lot about ourselves tonight” — Junior Amanda Wellick on the team’s warrior mentality.
“It’s really a bittersweet thing to make Nationals as an individual. I wish so badly I could go with my team and be fighting for a top spot with them by my side. However, I’m excited to be able to represent my coaches, my teammates and the University of Arkansas.” — Junior Amanda Wellick on advancing to Nationals.
By qualifying for Nationals, Wellick will compete alongside one of the final 12 teams Friday, April 15. She also made nationals as a freshman, advancing to Birmingham, Alabama, with Katherine Grable in 2014.