Bob Holt is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Missouri, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy, Biletnikoff Award and AP Top 25 basketball poll. Holt was awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year in 2000 and 2015.
UA’s best effort can’t top Florida
NWA Media/MICHAEL WOODS --02/01/2013-- University of Arkansas gymnast Erin Freier does a flip on the bars during Friday night's meet against Florida at Barnhill Arena in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE Arkansas’ gymnastics team posted a season-high score for the second consecutive meet, but Florida made sure to protect its No. 1 ranking Friday night in Barnhill Arena.
The Gators beat the No. 22 Razorbacks 197.575 to 196.175 before an announced crowd of 5,278, which included Arkansas football Coach Bret Bielema, who was hosting recruits.
The previous two years when Arkansas and Florida met in the regular season, the nation’s top-ranked team suffered an upset on the road. Two years ago the No. 15 Razorbacks beat the No. 1 Gators, and last year No. 8 Florida returned the favor and beat No. 1 Arkansas.
Arkansas Co-Coach Mark Cook said he believed the Razorbacks (1-3, 0-3 SEC) could keep the streak of upsets going.
“Had Florida had a couple little missteps and we had just been rock solid, we could have probably pulled it off,” Cook said. “But we needed a little help from them as well, because they’re a very talented team.
“We fell a little short tonight, but they’ve got a bunch of Olympians on their team. They’ve got phenomenal athletes. We have some great athletes ourselves.”
Arkansas was led by junior Katherine Grable (39.475 all around score) and senior Amy Borsellino (39.250).
Grable matched her career-high with a 9.95 on the floor exercise and had a season-high 9.90 on the vault. Borsellino had career bests on the balance beam (9.90) and uneven bars (9.85) and matched her career high in the vault (9.90).
“There were a lot of shining moments,” Cook said.
The Razorbacks had season-high scores in the vault (49.150) and bars (49.250) and capped the meet with a strong showing on the floor, where they edged the Gators 49.400 to 49.275, but Arkansas also had some falls on the beam that proved costly.
“To come back and finish strong after having some difficulties on balance beam was really a testament to the mental toughness of the girls,” Cook said. “That was really a highlight.
“We were really close to Florida on three of the events, and we beat them on floor, so we’re very pleased with the development of our program and our kids.”
Florida (4-1, 3-1 SEC) was led by Bridgette Sloan and Ashanee Dickerson, who tied for the meet’s top all-around scores with 39.550.
“I was really happy with the way our athletes responded,” Florida Coach Rhonda Faehn said. “They competed aggressively and attacked the equipment.”
FLORIDA 197.575, ARKANSAS 196.175
Friday night At Barnhill Arena, Fayetteville
ROTATION I ARKANSAS (VAULT: 49.150) Amy Borsellino 9.800, Bailee Zumwalde 9.800, Kelci Lewis 9.825, Heather Elswick 9.825, Katherine Grable 9.900, Lily Hardin 9.525 FLORIDA (BARS: 49.450) Ashanee Dickerson 9.875, Bianca Dancose-Giambattisto 9.850, Marissa King 9.825, Kytra Hunter 9.875, Bridget Sloan 9.900, Mackenzie Caquatto 9.950
ROTATION II ARKANSAS (BARS: 49.250) Keara Glover 9.700, Jordan Salsberg 9.800, Erin Freier 9.875, Katherine Grable 9.850, Amy Borsellino 9.850, Shelby Salmon 9.875 FLORIDA (VAULT: 49.400) Jamie Shisler 9.825, Randy Stageberg 9.825, Kiersten Wang 9.900, Bridget Sloan 9.875, Marissa King 9.850, Ashanee Dickerson 9.950
ROTATION III ARKANSAS (BEAM: 48.375) Amy Boresllino 9.700, Erin Freier 9.800, Shelby Salmon 9.050, Keara Glover 9.250, Sydnie Dillard 9.850, Katherine Grable 9.775 FLORIDA (FLOOR: 49.275) Kiersten Wang 9.775, Randy Stageberg 9.850, Bridget Sloan 9.850, Marissa King 9.900, Ashanee Dickerson 9.900, Jamie Shisler 9.750
ROTATION IV ARKANSAS (FLOOR: 49.400) Bailee Zumwalde 9.850, Heather Elswick 9.850, Sydnie Dillard 9.850, Kelci Lewis 9.850, Amy Borsellino 9.900, Katherine Grable 9.950 FLORIDA (BEAM: 49.450) Randy Stageberg 9.900, Rachel Spicer 9.800, Bridget Sloan 9.925, Mackenzie Caquatto 9.900, Ashanee Dickerson 9.825, Marissa King 9.900
Sports, Pages 21 on 02/02/2013