Gym'Backs rock in home opener

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FAYETTEVILLE – The eighth-ranked University of Arkansas gymnastics team finished the 2008 home opener with solid performances on the beam and floor scoring a season-high 195.300 against No. 7 LSU Friday.

The seventh-ranked Tigers won the meet with a 195.90.

Arkansas struggled on the uneven bars but rebounded with a 48.975 on the beam and a 49.175 on the floor. Sophomore Casey Jo Magee finished second in the all-around scoring a 39.225 behind LSU all-American Ashleigh Clare-Kearney who won with a 39.550.

Magee tied for the win on the beam with a season-best 9.850. Senior Emily Peacock provided a bright spot on the bars tying for the win with a 9.875 while junior Alexandra LaChance tied Magee and Clare-Kearney for the beam win. Peacock added a second-place floor finish with a 9.75.

“We really shined on beam and floor tonight,” said Peacock. “We had some struggles but still scored a 195. It’s not quite the night we wanted but we stayed focused and worked with what we had.”

“We wanted it really bad tonight,” said co-head coach Mark Cook. “We again learned something from the experience. I’m really proud of the team and how they hung in there. We had a really good score again this week.”

Arkansas is out to their best start in program history with back-to-back 195-plus scores. The marks should keep the Gym’Backs in or near the top 10 for the second week in a row.

Arkansas opened on the vault posting a 48.80 behind three 9.775s from senior Samantha Cortez and sophomores Michelle Stout and Ashly McPherson.

The Tigers opened on bars with a 49.025 that put the Gym’Backs behind from the first rotation.

Arkansas posted a 48.350 on bars but rallied with season-bests on the final two events. In additions to LaChance and Magee’s team-leading scores on the beam, Arkansas got a 9.775 from Peacock, and 9.75 from sophomore Amy DeFilippo and freshman Stacy Bartlett.

The meet concluded with Arkansas on the floor posting five scores at 9.8 or better. Peacock’s 9.875 lead the team followed by a 9.85 from LaChance and 9.825s from Magee and Cortez.

The Gym’Backs continue their home stand hosting No. 14 Penn State Friday, Jan. 25, at 7:00 p.m. For more information about Arkansas gymnastics or for ticket information please call the Razorback Ticket Office at 57-LBACK or log on to LADYBACKS.COM.