BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — On Thursday, the Southeastern Conference announced its postseason gymnastics honors and named University of Arkansas gymnast, Paige Zaziski, the SEC Co-Freshman of the Year. Zaziski shared the distinction with Florida’s Kennedy Baker, and she became just the second Razorback ever to earn the conference’s top freshman honor.
Zaziski had an outstanding rookie campaign for the Razorbacks, as she won a remarkable seven event titles (4 UB, 1 BB, 2 AA). The Chesterfield Township, Michigan native became the first Arkansas gymnast in program history to be named the SEC Freshman of the Week three times, and she tied the program’s best score on the uneven bars with a personal-best 9.950 against No. 8 UCLA in the regular season finale on March 13.
The 9.950 set by Zaziski also set the Arkansas freshman record on the uneven bars and was the highest score set by a first-year gymnasts in the event in the conference this season. She was the only freshman in the SEC to compete as an all-arounder in every meet for her team and she ended the year scored a 39.125-or-better in the all-around. She capped off the regular season with personal-best 39.450 in the AA, which was the third-highest score by a freshman in the SEC this year.
Zaziski brought out her best performances against some of the nation’s best teams, as she recorded career-bests of 9.925 on the vault and 9.875 on the beam against the co-defending national champion Florida Gators and a personal-best of 9.825 on the floor exercise against No. 8 UCLA.
With this honor, Zaziski becomes just the second gymnast in program history to earn SEC Freshman of the Year honors. She joins teammate, Amanda Wellick, who won the honor last season.
The freshman was one of three Arkansas gymnasts to earn All-SEC honors and was the lone Razorbacks representative on the All-SEC freshman team.
The No. 19-ranked Razorbacks return to action next Saturday, April 4, as they’ll be one of six teams to compete in the NCAA Morgantown Regional in Morgantown, West Virginia. The Razorbacks will be the fourth-seed in the Regional and will need to place inside the top-two to advance to the NCAA Championship Session in Fort Worth, Texas. Joining Arkansas in Morgantown will be co-defending national champion, and second-ranked, Florida, No. 11 Stanford, No. 14 Illinois, No. 25 New Hampshire and host-school West Virginia. Event from the WVU Coliseum begins at 3 p.m. CT.
2015 SEC Gymnastics Awards
Gymnast of the Year: Kytra Hunter, Florida
Event Specialist of the Year: Lloimincia Hall, LSU
Co-Freshmen of the Year: Paige Zaziski, Arkansas and Kennedy Baker, Florida
Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Katelyn Trevino, Missouri
Co-Coaches of the Year: Jeff Graba, Auburn and D-D Breaux, LSU
For more information on the Arkansas women’s gymnastics team follow @RazorbackGym on Twitter.