Five gym signees one for this year

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas’ gymnastics program is adding one student-athlete to its roster for the upcoming 2010 season while four gymnasts who combined for seven individual state championships and 10 regional titles in 2009 have signed for next year, co-head coaches Mark and René Cook announced on Monday.

Natalie Bohonsky of Plano, Texas, a two-time Junior Olympic national qualifier, is joining the team at mid-term this year. She performed for World Olympics Gymnastics Academy in Frisco, Texas, which produced Olympic champions Carly Patterson and Nastia Liukin.

At the 2008 J.O. National Championship, she finished seventh on bars. In 2007, she was seventh on floor, eighth on vault and 11th in the all-around.

Competing in Region 3, she was second on bars and in the all-around in 2008, and won vault and was third in the all-around in 2007. A Texas state champion on vault in 2007, she earned top three finishes on floor, bars and in the all-around.

“We look for Natalie to come in and make an impact on bars right away,” co-head coach René Cook says. “We’re looking forward to getting her on campus.”

Incoming Razorbacks for the 2011 season are Katherine Grable of Oshkosh, Wis.; Shelby Salmon of Noblesville, Ind.; Scarlett Williams of Baton Rouge, La.; and Bailee Zumwalde of St. Cloud, Minn. Grable won three state and four regional titles last year, Salmon two regional, Williams four state and two regional, and Zumwalde won two regional championships.

“This class replaces one of the best classes in the history of the program, but we are confident they will not only meet that challenge but surpass it,” Cook says.

Grable won 2009 Wisconsin state titles on vault, beam and the all-around, and was second on bars and floor. In the Region 4 meet, she was first on vault, bars, beam and the all-around, and second on beam. At the Junior Olympic National Championship, she was sixth on vault, fourth on bars and seventh on beam.

In 2008, in the state meet, she was first on vault, floor and the all-around, and second on bars. She was first on beam, floor and the all-around, and second on vault at regionals. At nationals, she was sixth on beam and fourth on floor.

She posted scores of 9.7 on vault, 9.65 on floor, 9.45 on bars, 9.55 on beam and 38.275 in the all-around.

“Katherine is solid on every event,” Cook says. “She is similar to (UA sophomore All-American) Jaime Pisani and we will certainly look for her to make a similar impact on the program. She has unique skills and style, and will continue to set the program apart from our competition.”

Salmon was injured and did not get a chance to qualify for 2009 nationals, but she won Region 5 titles on bars and floor.

In 2008, she won the Indiana state title on beam, and was second on bars and in the all-around. At the regional meet, she was second in the all-around, and third on bars and on beam. She was second on bars at nationals.

She had scores of 9.625 on bars, 9.625 on beam, 9.55 on floor and 38.125 in the all-around.

“Shelby will be a standout on bars and beam,” Cook says. “She has great difficulty with excellent execution and artistry. She has All-America potential on these events, and will make an impact on vault and floor as well. She trains with Olympians Bridget Sloan and Samantha Peszek, and has the same drive for excellence as any athlete of that caliber.”

Williams won 2009 Louisiana state titles on vault, bars, floor and the all-around. She won Region 8 titles in the all-around and on beam, was second on vault, third on bars and fourth on floor. At nationals, she was 10th on beam and in the all-around.

In 2008, she was second in the state on vault, beam, floor and the all-around. At regionals, she was third on vault and second on beam.

She recorded scores of 9.725 on vault, 9.50 on bars, 9.575 on beam, 9.475 on floor and 38.00 on floor.

“Her strengths are vault and beam,” Cook says. “We will look for her to be a consistent competitor on both of those events, however we do expect her to be a factor on all four events. Scarlett will continue to improve while in our program.”

Zumwalde was second in 2009 in the state of Minnesota on floor and fourth on vault. In Region 4, she was first on vault and bars, and second in the all-around. At the Junior Olympic National Championship, she was third on floor and ninth in the all-around.

In 2008, she won the state all-around title, and was second on vault, bars and floor. In Region 4, she was first on bars, and fourth on vault and in the all-around. At nationals, she was ninth on bars, and 10th on beam and floor, and was fourth in the all-around. This accomplishment garnered her a spot on the Junior Olympic National Team.

Her marks included a 9.65 on vault, a 9.525 on bars, a 9.40 on beam, a 9.625 on floor and a 37.90 in the all-around.

“Bailee has an amazing passion for gymnastics and is extremely competitive,” Cook says. “She will be a fan favorite. Her floor is exceptional, but we also expect her to make a strong contribution in the all-around. All four events are outstanding.”

They join a program coming off a fifth-place national finish in 2009. The Razorbacks won the NCAA South Central Regional, advanced to the NCAA Championship for the third time and made their first appearance in the NCAA Super Six.

Arkansas ended the year ranked No. 5 in the nation, and recorded wins over No. 1 Florida, No. 2 Utah, No. 4 Stanford, No. 6 LSU, No. 6 Oregon State, No. 7 UCLA, No. 7 Oklahoma and No. 9 Alabama.

In seven years of existence, Arkansas has earned an NCAA bid six times.