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Gymbacks Finish Third at Regionals

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Senior Erin Freier posts a score of 9.875 during her uneven bars routine at the NCAA Regionals on April 2.

The Arkansas Razorbacks gymnastics team competed in the 2016 NCAA Regionals on April 2 at the Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, Iowa, and placed third in the six-team regional event.

Although the Gymbacks did not advance to the NCAA Regionals Session II, junior Amanda Wellick qualified for Nationals with a score of 39.350. Among all competitors, Wellick finished fifth, and was the second-highest all-arounder who was not on an advancing team.

“Although we had some uncharacteristic mistakes early on, we fought all the way through the night,” Wellick said in a press release. “After our first two rotations, we could have put our heads down and just done our routines, but we didn’t. We came back out and fought for every little tenth we could get the rest of the way. We learned a lot about ourselves tonight.”

 Seniors Sydnie Dillard and Stephani Canizaro started off the night’s first rotation with back-to-back scores of 9.800s for Arkansas. Dillard has never missed a floor and balance beam rotation, and she made her 50th career start as a Razorback at this year’s Regionals.

After Dillard and Canizaro’s rotation, freshman Sydney McGlone scored a 9.825 with her double layout, and Wellick tied for third among all competitors in the event with her team-high score of 9.850, which lead the Gymbacks to an opening score of 49.000.

Not only did Wellick stand out during the first rotation, she also rose to the occasion and tied for second on the vault with a score of 9.875.

Wellick was in the lead up until the sixth rotation when the Sooners’ Chayse Capps, with a score of 9.900, and Haley Scaman, with the same score as Wellick (9.875), took over Arkansas’ lead. Sophomore Gymback Braie Speed also vaulted a score of 9.900.

At the uneven bars lineup, Canizaro notched a career-high score of 9.875 for the sixth time of her career. Erin Freier added to Arkansas’ uneven bar score of 49.100, with her matching score of Canizaro’s. Braie Speed was in the spotlight again, as she scored her second 9.800 of the night, leading her into the No. 5 spot in the uneven bar lineup.

The final event for the Razorbacks at the 2016 NCAA Iowa City Regional was the balance beam. Dillard gave the Razorbacks to a good start with her score of 9.800 in her final performance. Paige Zaziski scored a 9.850, reaching her mark for the fourth time this season. Wellick also scored a 9.850, and it was her seventh time to score that or higher at this event.

The Arkansas Razorbacks finished the night with a final score of 49.025 on their last event, the beam. At the Cancun Classic, the Gymbacks scored at least a 49.000 on beam at dozen of meets since the beginning of the season.

Although the Razorbacks did not get to proceed to Session II of Regionals, they did finish ahead of host No. 19 Iowa (195.450), Central Michigan (194.675) and Kent State (194.525) in the meet overall.

Wellick qualified for Nationals her freshman year and advanced to Birmingham, Alabama, in 2014.

“It’s really a bittersweet thing to make Nationals as an individual,” Wellick said in the release. “I wish so badly I could go with my team and be fighting for a top spot with them by my side. However, I’m excited to be able to represent my coaches, my teammates and the University of Arkansas.”

Wellick’s next move is to compete alongside one of the final 12 teams at the NCAA Nationals on April 15 in Fort Worth, Texas.

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