Razorbacks finish fifth at SEC meet

By: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Published: Sunday, March 25, 2018
Florida's Alex McMurtry leaps onto the uneven bars during the Southeastern Conference gymnastics championships Saturday, March 24, 2018, in St. Louis. (Tim Vizer/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)
Florida's Alex McMurtry leaps onto the uneven bars during the Southeastern Conference gymnastics championships Saturday, March 24, 2018, in St. Louis. (Tim Vizer/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)

The No. 11 Arkansas Razorbacks won the afternoon session and finished fifth overall at the SEC gymnastics championships Saturday at the Chaifetz Arena in St. Louis.

No. 2 LSU surged ahead of No. 5 Florida on the final two rotations in the evening session to claim back-to-back SEC titles and the third in its history.

At a glance

SEC GYMNASTICS TEAM SCORES

ALL-AROUND LSU 197.400, Alabama 196.975, Florida 196.825, Kentucky 196.550, Arkansas 196.425, Georgia 196.350, Missouri 196.100, Auburn 195.650

VAULT Florida 49.475, LSU 49.400, Alabama 49.300, Kentucky 49.300, Georgia 49.150, Auburn 49.125, Arkanas 48.975, Missouri 48.975

BARS LSU 49.400, Florida 49.400, Arkansas 49.150, Georgia 49.125, Kentucky 49.100, Missouri 49.025, Alabama 48.950, Auburn 48.900

BEAM Florida 49.550, Alabama 49.450, LSU 49.300, Arkansas 49.225, Missouri 49.175, Georgia 49.025, Kentucky 48.875, Auburn 48.825

FLOOR LSU 49.300, Alabama 49.275, Kentucky 49.275, Arkansas 49.075, Georgia 49.050, Missouri 48.925, Auburn 48.800, Florida 48.400

LSU was the only team to break a 197 in the tightly judged competition with a 197.4. The Gators scored 196.975 for second place, just ahead of No. 6 Alabama (196.825) and No. 9 Kentucky (196.55).

The University of Arkansas, Fayetteville won three of four events in the early session and scored 196.425, its second-highest total at SECs behind a 196.6 at North Little Rock in 2016.

Georgia placed sixth with a 196.35, followed by Missouri (196.1) and Auburn (195.65).

LSU was led by Sarah Finnegan, who captured the all-around title with a 39.5, and Kennedi Edney, who finished third with a 39.45.

The individual event winners were Florida's Alex McMurtry, the defending NCAA overall champion, on the vault (9.975) and uneven bars (9.95); Florida's Alyssa Baumann on the balance beam (9.975); and a three-way tie on the floor exercise for Alabama's Ariana Guerra, Florida's Alicia Boren and Kentucky's Sidney Dukes at 9.9.

Arkansas senior Amanda Wellick placed second in the opening session and eighth overall in the all-around at 39.25, while sophomore Jessica Yamzon was 11th with a 39.175.

The Razorbacks' top finishes came from sophomore Hailey Garner and freshman Sophia Carter, who placed fourth on the balance beam and floor exercise, respectively. Garner posted a 9.925, a figure that won the beam in the afternoon session, while Carter's 9.875 won the floor in the early session and tied three other gymnasts for fourth overall.

The Razorbacks opened on the vault, their weakest event, and were tied for last with a 48.975 after one rotation. Wellick and Braie Speed tied for fourth with three other gymnasts at 9.85 to lead Arkansas. But that deficit didn't last long.

Arkansas turned in a 49.15 to win the bars, as Speed, Wellick and Garner scored 9.85s to tie with three others for the session title, which was good for seventh overall.

Garner nailed her beam routine to spark the Razorbacks' 49.225 to capture the event in the first session. Yamzon and freshman Sophia Carter were tied with two others at 9.85 to finish sixth, while Wellick and Michaela Burton scored 9.8 to tie for 10th.

Carter's 9.875 capped the Razorbacks' 49.075 on the floor exercise, also the top score of the first session. Sarah Shaffer tied Missouri's Aspen Tucker with a 9.85, while Burton and Yamzon tied for seventh with 9.8s. Wellick posted a 9.75 and Mia Bargiacchi rounded out the Razorbacks' floor rotation with a 9.725.

Arkansas has now swept two meets from Auburn and Georgia and beat Missouri for the first time in three competitions.

The Razorbacks will await word on their seeding for one of the six NCAA regionals.

Sports on 03/25/2018

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