UA gymnasts push undefeated run to 4

By: Tom Murphy
Published: Saturday, March 12, 2016
Arkansas' Samantha Nelson competes Friday, March 11, 2016, in the beam rotation during the 11th-ranked Razorbacks' meet with Utah State in Barnhill Arena in Fayetteville.
Photo by Andy Shupe
Arkansas' Samantha Nelson competes Friday, March 11, 2016, in the beam rotation during the 11th-ranked Razorbacks' meet with Utah State in Barnhill Arena in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE -- The outcome was never in doubt as the No. 11 Arkansas gymnastics team stuck to its game plan and celebrated its seniors Friday night.

The Razorbacks cruised to a 196.775 to 194.825 nonconference victory over Utah State to cap their regular season on senior night in front of 2,817 at Barnhill Arena.

Friday’s results

NO. 11 ARKANSAS 196.775,

UTAH STATE 194.825

UTAH STATE 194.825

UNEVEN BARS (48.3) Madison Ward 9.775, Joanna Cuba 9.2, Melanie Oster 9.75, Keri Peel 9.8, Bailey McIntire 9.775, McKinzey Martinez 6.2

VAULT (48.725) Martinez 9.625, Katie Brown 9.725, Ward 9.725, McIntire 9.7, Michelle Yasukochi 9.8, Jillian Chappel 9.775

FLOOR EXERCISE (48.875) Chappel 9.725, Hayley Sanzotti 9.825, Peel 9.725, Emily Briones 9.65, Ward 9.825, McIntire 9.775

BALANCE BEAM (48.925) Peel 9.675, McIntire 9.825, Briones 9.825, Oster 9.575, Natalie Rainbolt 9.8, Sanzotti 9.8

ARKANSAS 196.775

VAULT (49.025) Samantha Nelson 9.775, Paige Zaziski 9.775, Braie Speed 9.825, Sydney Mc-Glone 9.825, Amanda Wellick 9.825

UNEVEN BARS (49.2) Keara Glover 9.8, Stephani Canizaro 9.85, Erin Freier 9.775, Wellick 9.8, Speed 9.875, Zaziski 9.875

BALANCE BEAM (49.325) Sydnie Dillard 9.85, Zaziski 9.825, Wellick 9.9, Freier 9.875, Mc-Glone 9.8, Nelson 9.875

FLOOR EXERCISE (49.225) Dillard 9.825, Canizaro 9.875, Makenzie Anderson 9.775, Nelson 9.85, McGlone 9.85, Wellick 9.825 ALL-AROUND Wellick (Ark) 39.35, McIntire (USU) 39.075

NO. 11 ARKANSAS 196.775, UTAH STATE 194.825

Arkansas (7-5) will head into the SEC championships next Saturday in North Little Rock with a four-meet winning streak, its longest since 2011, and improved to 2-0 against the Aggies (7-7).

"I thought we did a good job tonight," Arkansas Coach Mark Cook said. "We were a little tired toward the end of the season with a lot of meets under our belts, so just coming into tonight we challenged them to make sure we have a lot of fun. I thought the girls did a really good job tonight."

Arkansas' 196.775, despite a lower-than-normal 49.025 on the meet-opening vault, was its second-highest score of the season behind a 197.225 in its last home meet Feb. 26.

The Razorbacks swept the top three places on all four events, got contributions from all four of their healthy seniors -- including a floor exercise title for Stephani Canizaro -- and an all-around victory for junior Amanda Wellick with a 39.35.

Canizaro, a fifth-year senior, dazzled on the floor with a 9.875.

"It was an awesome feeling," Canizaro said. "We've worked so hard to do it this last time and have a good win."

Senior Erin Freier finished in a tie for second on the balance beam at 9.875 with teammate Samantha Nelson.

The Razorbacks nailed it on the beam once again, tying their season high with a 49.325. Wellick won the event with a 9.9, the highest score of the night. Senior Sydnie Dillard (9.85), Paige Zaziski (9.825) and Sydney McGlone (9.8) were all at 9.8 or better on the beam.

Arkansas' Braie Speed and Zaziski tied for the title on the uneven bars with 9.875, and Canizaro took third with a 9.85.

The Razorbacks' 49.225 on the floor exercise, sparked by Canizaro's event winner, tied their fifth-highest score of the season. The junior Nelson and freshman McGlone tied for second at 9.85, with Wellick right behind at 9.825.

"We feel great," Canizaro said of the four-meet winning streak. "We're in a good spot right now. We just have to continue to get better and better, and hopefully we can finish on top."

The Razorbacks will participate in the first session at the SEC championships along with Georgia, Kentucky and Missouri. Florida, Alabama, LSU and Auburn will compete in the second session.

Sports on 03/12/2016

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