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Gymnastics to Build on Regional in '15

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The No. 14 Razorbacks ended their season at the Morgantown Regional despite finishing with a score of 196.500, the third-highest score for the Hogs this season.

They finished the competition in fourth place.

Although the team did not reach the NCAA championship this year, coach Mark Cook’s squad has reasons to be optimistic about next season. In 2016, the Razorbacks will return three All-Southeastern Conference gymnasts, including junior Heather Elswick, sophomore Amanda Wellick and freshman Paige Zaziski.

Stephani Canizaro and Cailee Ellsworth are the only seniors leaving.

Competing in high-level competitions, such as the Morgantown Regional, will boost the squad’s confidence next year.

The Hogs will focus on maintaining their composure and adding difficulty to their routines during the offseason. Most of the gymnasts will likely perform the same routines next season. They will also look to improve their strength and conditioning.

“The biggest thing is they have to be more consistent in competition,” Cook said in an interview with the Razorback Sports Network. “We’re going to work on our mental toughness and our mental focus. Our skills are there, it’s just a matter of performing more solid without having some of the little inconsistencies we had throughout the season.”

 With improvement, Wellick and Zaziski will help the team reach its potential next season, Cook said.

“She’s phenomenal in vault and really good in the all-around,” Cook said of Wellick. “On the balance beam, she has to calm down a little bit more and focus, and on bars, she has to do the routine to its maximum potential. Next year, I really look to her to be really consistent.”

Wellick was an All-SEC team member as a freshman. She was the first gymnast to do so in program history, and she was voted onto the squad again this year.

Cook praised Zaziski’s performance on the vault and bars this season, and he expects to add more difficulty to her routines this offseason. After Wellick, Zaziski was the second freshman in program history to earn All-SEC honors.

“She has to get better on floor, that’s her weak spot right now,” Cook said of Zaziski.

Wellick and Zaziski competed in the all-around competition at every meet last season, and Cook expects they will do so again next year. Both gymnasts scored a perfect 10 from one judge at the Morgantown Regional. Wellick scored a 10 on the vault, and Zaziski scored a 10 on the bars.

With a young team that brings back most of the same routines and all of its top talent, the Razorbacks should reach the next level next year. 

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