Matt Jones has been the online sports editor for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette since 2010. He is also a feature writer for Hawgs Illustrated magazine and is currently pursuing a Master's degree in documentary film.
Grable named SEC's top gymnast
UA's Wellick wins freshman award
Arkansas gymnast Katherine Grable performs on the beam during a Jan. 10, 2014 gymnastics meet at Barnhill Arena in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE Arkansas senior Katherine Grable was named the Southeastern Conference's gymnast of the year Friday, while her teammate Amanda Wellick was named the league's freshman of the year.
Grable won nine all-around titles in Arkansas' 10 meets this season. She was ranked the nation's No. 1 gymnast after the first week of the season and is currently ranked No. 3 in the NCAA with an all-around average score of 39.610 per meet.
“We are really proud of Katherine,” Arkansas co-head coach Mark Cook said. “She has worked extremely hard this year. Shea has counted her score for us on every event and every routine this season. This is a great honor for her and I am really glad and thankful for the other coaches in the league to recognize her.”
The Oshkosh, Wisc. native is the second Arkansas gymnast to win the SEC's yearly award. Jaime Pisani was named gymnast of the year in 2012.
Wellick is ranked the No. 20 gymnast nationally, but first among freshmen. Her season-best 39.450 all-around score is tops among freshmen in the NCAA.
“Amanda Wellick is the first SEC Freshman of the Year that we have ever had in our program and that is quite an honor in itself,” Cook said. “Amanda is a really mature athlete and she has competed in all of our competitions this season. She has been ranked as the top-freshman in the country for most of the season and again I am really glad that the other coaches in our league have recognized her.”
The No. 15 Razorbacks will compete at the SEC Championships Saturday in Birmingham, Ala.