No. 15 Gym'Backs win big at State College

Jump to Penn State results STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – The 15th-ranked University of Arkansas gymnastics team put together a solid meet avenging a earlier season loss with a 194.850-193.600 non-conference win over No. 14 Penn State in State College, Pa., Saturday. Arkansas made its first trip to Penn State picking up the win behind individual titles from juniors Samantha Cortez and Emily Peacock along with freshmen Casey Jo Magee and Michelle Stout. Cortez notched Arkansas’ first individual title of the year with a win on vault while Magee tied for first on the beam. Peacock also tied for first on the floor. “The girls came out and were focused and in a zone tonight,” said a pleased co-head coach Mark Cook. “We were able to set the tone on the bars and our vaulting was great. Casey Jo (Magee) performed a 10.0 vault that she had never done in competition before. We vaulted very well tonight.” “We’re both very pleased with the attitudes and competitiveness tonight,” added co-head coach Rene Cook. “We still had some errors but we were able to fight through them. Tonight’s performance is much more of what we expected for the year.” The first rotation went well for the Gym’Backs as Arkansas outscored PSU 49.050-48.450. The rotation opened with a season-best 9.80 for senior Cassie Drew followed by a 9.775 from freshman Amy DeFilippo. DeFilippo was a meet-time decision after suffering a right ankle injury last weekend. A fall on the third routine didn’t rattle the Gym’Backs as freshman Sarah Nagashima made her Arkansas debut with a 9.825 on the bars. Freshman Casey Jo Magee followed with the same score as did junior Emily Peacock leading Arkansas to its best bars total of the year. Nagashima, Magee and Peacock tied for second on bars while Drew finished tied for fifth. “I was really pleased with the bars tonight,” said Mark Cook. “We’re anticipating that to be our strongest event this year and tonight was a much better indicator of what we are capable of.” Arkansas was equally as energized for the second rotation scoring a 48.675 behind back-to-back 9.80s from junior Samantha Cortez and Stout. Sophomore Alexandrea LaChance added a 9.75 and Magee scored a 9.675 helping Arkansas to a solid second rotation. The Gym’Backs held a slight lead, 97.725-97.375, heading into the third rotation. Cortez and Stout paced Arkansas tying for the win followed by LaChance who tied for third overall. High energy routines from Drew and LaChance got Arkansas going on the floor with Drew scoring a 9.575 and LaCance collecting a 9.60. Scores continued to go up as the Gym’Backs seemed to gain more confidence with each tumbling pass. Stout posted a solid 9.750 setting the tone for junior Cortez. Cortez’s floor routine was a thriller sparking the entire PSU crowd behind tunes from Michael Jackson. Her tumbling was rewarded with a 9.825 equaling her 2006 season-best score. Peacock lead the team with a season-best 9.875 as the Gym’Backs bettered their season-best with a 48.675 on the floor exercise. Peacock’s scored tied her for the individual title while Cortez tied for fourth overall and Stout tied for sixth. The Nittany Lions ran into trouble after a good start on the beam and had to count one fall on the event. They scored a 48.175 giving Arkansas a narrow 146.400-145.550 lead heading into the final rotation. Peacock opened on the beam for the Gym’Backs with nary a wobble and a nearly flawless dismount earning the San Antonio, Texas, native a 9.675. Senior Drew stepped up big for the Gym’Backs following a fall netting a 9.650. A look across the aisle at a very strong floor lineup for Penn State would have given the Gym’Backs some hope as the Nittany Lions saw their second competitor fall and the third step out opening the door for Arkansas. The Gym’Backs seemed unflappable on the beam as Stout scored a career-best 9.60 followed by a season-best 9.75 from Cortez. Magee added a 9.775 for Arkansas. Magee tied for the win on beam and was joined on the awards stand by Cortez who tied for third. Arkansas returns home opening Southeastern Conference action hosting defending national champion and top-ranked Georgia Friday at 7:00 p.m. For more information and tickets please call the Lady Razorback Ticket Office at 57-LBACK or log on to LADYBACKS.COM.