Magee qualifies for NCAAs; Arkansas third at regionals

Jump to Results ANN ARBOR, Mich. — University of Arkansas freshman gymnast Casey Jo Magee qualified as an all-arounder at the 2007 NCAA North East Regional Championship in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday. Magee finished seventh but five gymnasts ahead of her were on qualifying teams so Magee along with Pittsburgh’s Andrea Arlotta, advance to the National Championship. “A freshman will represent us all at the NCAAs,” said a proud co-head coach Mark Cook. “Although we are disappointed not to make it as a team, we are proud that she will represent us.” Magee posted a 38.800 as an all-around with a 9.825 on vault, 9.275 on bars, 9.990 on beam and a 9.80 on floor. She becomes the second individual at Arkansas to qualify. Dana McQuillin (1993-96) qualified as a junior in 1996. There was no doubt top-ranked Florida would live up to its number one billing and win the NCAA North Central Regional. The question was the number two spot between No. 12 Michigan and No. 13 Arkansas and it was answered Saturday as the Wolverines edged the Gym’Backs and finished second advancing with the Gators to the 2007 NCAA Championship in Salt Lake City, Utah, in two weeks. Number one Florida won the meet with a 197.325 followed by No. 12 Michigan at 196.050, No. 13 Arkansas 195.875, New Hampshire with a 192.925, Pittsburgh was fifth with 192.550 and Rutgers was sixth with a 190.875. The careers of seniors Rachel Barnett and Cassie Drew came to a close with the third-place showing by Arkansas who ended its season Saturday in Ann Arbor, Mich. “Certainly the contributions of both Rachel and Cassie are immeasurable,” said co-head coach Rene Cook. “It’s disappointing that their careers ended tonight.” One of the highlights of the meet for the Gym’Backs set a school record on the vault scoring a 49.300. In addition, Arkansas added a 49.275 on the beam challenging Michigan through the last routine. “The vault was obviously the best in school history,” said co-head coach Mark Cook. “The beam was also great – one of the best we’ve had in a long time. We had a couple of challenges on the bars but the girls fought hard and we did the best we could. I’m proud of tonight’s fight.” Arkansas had a bye on the first rotation and waited in the locker room as host Michigan grabbed the opening round lead, 49.150-49.075 over Florida. The Wolverines opened on vault while Florida was on bars. New Hampshire opened with a 48.175 on floor while Pittsburgh struggled with falls for a 47.325 on the beam. Powerful tumbling passes from Magee and sophomore Alexandra LaChance got Arkansas started with back-to-back 9.80s on the floor as the Gym’Backs began their regional experience but the third and fourth gymnasts stepped out of bounds on their first tumbling passes putting some pressure on the remaining two. Junior Emily Peacock rebounded for the Gym’Backs with her Spanish-themed floor routine scoring a 9.80 and getting Arkansas back on track. Senior Rachel Barnett added a 9.80 as Arkansas finished with a 48.60 on the floor. Florida tallied three 9.90s or better on beam snatching the lead from Michigan who had a bye in the second rotation. Arkansas was in fourth behind the Gators (two events), UNH (two events) and Michigan. The Gym’Backs moved to the vault in the third rotation eclipsing the school record with a 49.300 on the event and closing the gap with the Wolverines. Arkansas again opened with the freshman, Magee. The Eugene, Ore., native was just shy of her career best with a 9.825. Senior Cassie Drew followed with a season-best 9.825 and LaChance added another great landing for a 9.85 tying her season-best. Arkansas just got better as the vault went on with junior Samantha Cortez tying her season-best with a 9.875 to tie for fifth overall followed by a career-best from Springdale, Ark., freshman Ashly McPherson counting a 9.85. Freshman Michelle Stout finished with a 9.90 vaulting the Gym’Backs to the record. Michigan held a 0.175 lead over Arkansas while Florida had a 0.425 advantage over the Wolverines after three rotations. Arkansas moved to its final bye while Michigan was on beam, Florida on floor, Pittsburg on the vault and UNH on bars in the fourth rotation. The Gators scored a meet-best 49.40 on floor while Michigan tallied a solid 48.650 on the beam forcing Arkansas to again play catch up with bars and the beam remaining. Michigan had a bye followed by their best event of the year – the floor. An equipment problem delayed the start of bars for several minutes but the Gym’Backs met with Mark Cook and tried to stay loose in the corral area. Drew opened after the delay with a solid 9.75 followed by a 9.80 from freshman Amy DeFilippo, who tied for fifth, but a fall added some tension to the final routines for Arkansas. Peacock scored a 9.725 followed by a 9.650 from Stout and a 9.775 from freshman Sarah Nagashima with a big push at the end giving Arkansas a 48.700. Florida was finished scoring a 197.325. Michigan was second with a 146.725 followed by Arkansas at 196.600 heading into the last rotation. Arkansas gave a strong performance on the beam behind a team-leading 9.90 from Magee, who tied for second, but Michigan, with the home crowd of 2,548 cheering them on, was just too much for Arkansas to catch. Peacock scored a 9.875 and was fifth while Drew tied for six with a 9.85 and Barnett had a 9.80.