Arkansas sets record at OU
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NORMAN, Okla. – Neither snow nor rain nor a tough opponent shall rattle the eighth-ranked University of Arkansas gymnastics team as they battled weather and No. 7 Oklahoma in Norman, Okla., Monday. In the Razorbacks’ second meet in four days, Arkansas (4-1, 1-0 SEC) scored a school record 196.90 defeating No. 7 OU for the first time in the Razorbacks’ program history, 196.90-195.625. Junior Casey Jo Magee won her fourth consecutive all-around title scoring a 39.425. Freshman Jaime Pisani and junior Michelle Stout tied for second with Pisani posting a career-best. Junior Sarah Nagashima was fourth with a career-best 39.225. Arkansas swept all the individual titles in the meet. Magee, in addition to winning the all-around, tied for the bars and beam title. Stout tied with Pisani in the vault win while junior Amy DeFilippo tied for the beam title. “What an effort,” said co-head coach René Cook. “It was a bit of a struggle in the warm-ups but we were so focused and extremely competitive at meet time. We knew this meet could be a statement for us if we did well and we did just that.” The Razorbacks opened on the bars scoring a 49.175 in a solid effort. Magee tied her season-best with a team-leading 9.875 followed by 9.85s from freshman Mariah Howdeshell and Stout. Nagashima added a 9.825 as Arkansas led OU 49.175-49.075 after one rotation. Magee would tie for the individual title, her second bars crown of the year. Stout and Hwdeshell tied for third. Nagashima opened the vault for Arkansas with a season-best 9.85 but a fall by the next Arkansas competitor put the pressure on the remaining Razorbacks. Senior Alex LaChance answered the call with a great vault and solid landing scoring a 9.75. Magee followed with a 9.775 as a slight step on the landing lowered the score. Freshman all-arounder Jaime Pisani added a 9.875 followed by Stout with a 9.875 as the duo anchored another good rotation for the Razorbacks. Stout and Pisani tied for the individual event title. It is Stout’s fourth consecutive vault title and Pisani’s second. OU matched Arkansas in the second rotation as both teams scored a 49.125 in the tightly-contested contest. Arkansas clung to a 98.30-98.20 lead after two events. Arkansas put together some amazing tumbling passes on two days rest and scored big on the floor exercise in the third rotation. Freshman Molly Lewis opened with a career-best 9.825, hitting her final pass to the delight of the small Razorback-friendly portion of the crowd. Nagashima just missed her season-best scoring a 9.775 with her upbeat, hard rock routine. LaChance picked up the momentum with a season-best 9.85 and Stout brought the house down with her first tumbling pass. Stout tied her career-best for the second meet in a row with a 9.90 as the Razorbacks seemed to make a move in the scoring. Meanwhile, OU was battling with the balance beam. The Sooners’ second competitor wobbled, then fell and another had a near fall lowing the home team’s numbers. Pisani was up next with an eclectic music mix that again rallied the Arkansas faithful as they cheered her on. The freshman counted a 9.875 matched by Magee as the Razorbacks scored 49.325 – just 0.05 shy of the season-high. The Razorbacks held a 147.625-146.525 lead over OU heading into the final rotation. OU struggled with a 48.225 on the beam and Razorback fans were hoping Arkansas could overcome their average beam performance on Friday to hold on to the win. As expected, scored tightened up on beam for Arkansas and the small crowd rallied behind the Sooners cheering loudly throughout the rotation. But the Razorbacks finished strong on the beam. Nagashima opened with a 9.775 followed by a 9.725 from Stout. DeFilippo’s graceful routine was rewarded as she tied her career-best with a 9.90 on what is arguably the toughest event. But the Sooners’ scores were improving on the floor with each performance as well. OU got a 9.85 in the first routine and a 9.90 from all-around Jessica Kinder as the narrow margin between teams closed even tighter. Sophomore Stacy Bartlett, a quick beam-worker with amazing flexibility, talked herself through her performance scoring a season-high 9.85 for Arkansas. Pisani added a 9.85 and Magee anchored the meet with a 9.90 securing the Arkansas win. Arkansas returns home hosting No. 9 Alabama in a Southeastern Conference match up in Barnhill Arena Friday at 7 p.m. Tickets for the event are still available. Please call the Razorback Ticket Office or log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com for more information.