Hogs No. 8 in preseason poll

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The best finish in program history in 2009 has carried over into 2010 for the Arkansas gymnastics program as the Razorbacks have earned a preseason ranking of No. 8 in the nation by GymInfo.

GymInfo provides the official NCAA rankings for collegiate men’s and women’s gymnastics. Of Arkansas’ 11 regular-season meets, the Razorbacks face nine teams ranked in the top 25.

“We are happy we have continued to improve every year in our pre-season ranking,” co-head coach René Cook says. “This accomplishment represents the respect our peers have for our program.”

Last year, in the seventh year of existence for the Arkansas program, the Razorbacks earned an NCAA bid for the sixth time, advanced to the NCAA Championship for the third time and made their first trip to the Super Six where they finished fifth in the nation.

Over the course of the season, Arkansas, which won the NCAA South Central Regional, 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.Arkansas ended the year ranked No. 5 in the nation.

Four returning All-Americans are on Arkansas’ roster for 2010, including Sarah Nagashima, Casey Jo Magee, Jaime Pisani and Michelle Stout.

Nagashima, a senior, was a first-team All-American on beam and finished third in the NCAA event finals in that event, the highest finish ever for a Razorback.

Magee, also a senior, was a second-team All-American on vault and floor, and won the Southeastern Conference beam title, and titles on beam and floor at the NCAA South Central Regional.

Pisani, a sophomore, was a second-team All-American on vault, bars and floor, and was a two-time SEC Freshman Gymnast of the Week.

Stout, another senior, was a first-team All-American on vault, bars and in the all-around, and second-team on floor.

“We have high expectations for the year and are motivated to improve upon last year’s finish,” Cook says.Arkansas has a chance to improve on its No. 8 ranking with meets set against No. 1 Georgia in Athens on Feb. 12, at No. 3 Alabama on Jan. 22, at No. 4 Florida on Jan. 15 and at home against No. 6 LSU on Feb. 19.

The Razorbacks open at home against No. 20 Arizona on Jan. 9, play host to Kentucky (which is receiving votes) on Jan. 29 and No. 14 Auburn on Feb. 5, go to No. 25 Washington on Feb. 26 and No. 22 Minnesota on March 6, and close the year with home meets against Pittsburgh on March 12 and No. 9 Oklahoma on March 19.

Rank,Team,Points,1st Place Votes1Georgia,739,132Utah,718,63Alabama,680,84Florida,676,25UCLA,632,26LSU,576 7Stanford,563 8Arkansas,537 9Oklahoma,516 10Oregon State,503 11Penn State,493 12Michigan,421 13Illinois,369 14Auburn,365 15Nebraska,365 16Missouri,349 17Denver,215 18Ohio State,200 19Boise State,194 20Arizona,169 21West Virginia,122 22Minnesota,120 23Iowa State,107 24Michigan State,76 25Washington,64

Other team receiving votes: Kent State, Kentucky, Arizona State, Iowa, NC State, North Carolina, Central Michigan, Southern Utah, Western Michigan, BYU, New Hampshire, San Jose State, UIC