Gymnastics Ends on Strong Note
In a season filled with ups and downs, Arkansas No. 6 gymnastics team finished on a high note by making the Super Six.
The Razorbacks placed third in Session II of the NCAA Championship to advance to the Super Six, scoring a 197.15, the second-best score in school history and only the third time the Razorbacks have scored a 197.
Arkansas fought through injuries and late-season struggles before rallying to advance to the NCAA Championships.
“After the ups and downs this year, towards the end you could just feel the momentum build through the meet,” co-coach Rene Cook said. “The level of excitement and anticipation of achieving that goal was completely overwhelming.”
With the third place finish behind Alabama and Florida, Arkansas advanced out of Session II and into its second Super Six appearance in program history.
“That was one of the major focal points at the beginning of the season or at the end of last season,” co-coach Mark Cook said. “Everything we did within our powers was to make it back there this year.”
With the Razorbacks’ second Super Six trip in four years, Mark Cook said he thinks the team has set a precedent for the program.
“We are a player, people look at us now as a contender,” Cook said. “We’re not just a flash in the pan and being able to make (the Super Six) twice is a real testament to that.”
Along with the No. 6 finish in the final rankings, four Razorbacks gymnasts received eight All-American honors.
Sophomore Bailee Zumwalde and freshman Stephani Canizzaro each earned their first All-America honors by making second-team for floor.
“That was astounding, the first two up in the (NCAA) meet earn second-team All-America honors and those scores held throughout the competition,” Rene Cook said. “They obviously did the best routines of the year.”
SEC Gymnast of the Year Jaime Pisani added to her school-record total by nabbing four All-American honors.
Pisani earned first-team in all-around, floor and beam, while she was named second-team on bars. She finished her career with a school record 13 All-American honors
Sophomore Katherine Grable also earned first-team honors on beam, along with second-team on vault.
“There are so many things you can say about Jamie, but when you do something that no one expects you to do, I think that is definitely a statement,” Rene Cook said. “I think those accomplishments were definitely that for her.”
Arkansas will have to try to replace Pisani next season, a task Grable, Canizzaro, Zumwalde and junior Kelci Lewis will take on as the program tries to take the next step.
“With making the Super Six twice in the last four years, people are definitely respecting our program as a program that can contend for the national championship,” Cook said. “We are only going to get better.”