During the final home meet of the season Friday, where the No. 13 Arkansas gymnastics team honored its seniors, one senior in particular stole the show with her first-career floor exercise title. Senior Stephani Canizaro posted a 9.875 in the event to lead the Gymbacks to a 196.775-194.825 victory over the Utah State Aggies.
“It felt great to go out there in front of our crowd for the last time,” Canizaro said in a press release. “It’s bittersweet, but it was an awesome feeling.”
The meet was Arkansas’ second-highest score of the regular season. The Gymbacks wrapped up the season, in which they faced nine ranked opponents, with a 7-5 record in front of 2,817 fans at Barnhill Arena.
“Tonight was really nice because the seniors had their last opportunity at home,” head coach Mark Cook said in a press release. “We had a great crowd and I thought the girls did a great job, and so that memory will be with them for the rest of their lives. We still have a couple meets left in the season so we have to focus on those, but tonight was their night.”
To begin the meet on vault, freshman Sydney McGlone, sophomore Braie Speed and junior Amanda Wellick all posted a 9.825 to tie for first in the event.
On uneven bars, the team had its third-best performance of the season, posting a 49.200. Speed and sophomore Paige Zaziski both scored a 9.875 to tie for first in the event. Canizaro scored a 9.850 on the uneven bars, where she placed second in the event.
The Gymbacks were able to dominate on the balance beam, with a season high of 49.325. Wellick captured her third beam title of this season with a career-high of 9.900.
Canizaro, Nelson and McGlone had yet another strong outing on floor, clinching the win while contributing to a score of 49.225 for Arkansas. Canizaro took control with a 9.875 in her first event title, while Nelson and McGlone both posted a 9.850.
Wellick successfully bagged her 10th-career all-around title with a 39.350. The Illinois native has scored above a 9.800 in 27 of her last 28 routines.
As the gymnastic season comes to a close, the Gymbacks, along with their other seven conference opponents, will compete in the Southeastern Conference Championship on Saturday in North Little Rock. Each of the eight SEC teams are ranked in the top 25.
Arkansas will perform in the first of two sessions in the Verizon Arena. The first session will begin at 1 p.m. followed by the second at 5 p.m. During Session One, the Gymbacks will rotate first on bars, second on beam, third on floor and fourth on vault. The Gymbacks will rotate with conference foes No. 8 Georgia, No. 20 Missouri and No. 22 Kentucky.
Both sessions will be televised on ESPNU and the SEC Network, respectively.