Samantha Nelson

VT, BB, FX | Senior | 4-11 | Peabody, Mass. | Ace Gymnastics


  • All-SEC Team (2014, 2016)
  • SEC All-Freshman Team (2014)
  • Katie Hardman Gym’Back Pride Award (2016)
  • SEC Academic Honor Roll (2015, 2016)
  • Won Three Career Event Titles (1 BB, 2 FX)

Personal Bests
9.85, Metroplex Challenge, Jan. 31, 2015
9.9, 3x, last at Auburn, Feb. 3, 2017
9.925, 2x, last vs. Auburn, Jan. 29, 2016

As A Senior (2017)
Won the balance beam title at Auburn on Feb. 3, matching a career-best with a score of 9.900… It was her first individual title of the season, her second career balance beam title and her fourth career individual title overall… Also  tied for the team lead with a 9.850 on floor at Auburn on Feb. 3… Scored a 9.875 on floor and helped Arkansas score a  49.225 on floor against LSU on Feb. 10… Also scored a 9.850 on vault and helped Arkansas score a season-best 49.000 on vault against LSU on Feb. 10… Scored a season-best 9.800 on floor and helped Arkansas score a 49.325 on floor, its best team score in any event, against Florida on Feb. 17… Won her second balance beam title of the season, the third of her career, with a 9.825 against Centenary and San Jose State on March 10… She also scored a 9.850 on floor exercise in her final regular-season routine in Barnhill Arena… Scored a 9.800 on floor exercise and a 9.850 on balance beam at the SEC Championship on March 18.

As A Junior (2016)
Earned All-SEC Team honors with a career high of 9.9 on balance beam at the SEC Championship … Won balance beam (9.85) and floor exercise (9.925) event titles vs. Auburn on Jan. 29 … Competed in all 13 balance beam and floor exercise lineups … Vault score counted towards team total in 9-of-11 performances … Led off vault lineup in final six meets … Balance beam score counted towards team total in 12-of-13 performances … Had career high of 9.9 on balance beam two times … Had 11-of-13 balance beam scores of 9.8 or better … Floor exercise score counted towards team total in 12-of-13 performances … Had season high of 9.925 on floor exercise vs. Auburn on Jan. 29 … Had four floor exercise scores of 9.9 or better … Second on team with 9.812 average on floor exercise … Had three balance beam scores and five floor exercise scores lead the team.

As A Sophomore (2015)
Won her first career event title on Feb. 20 with a 9.850 on the floor at No. 24 Kentucky, sharing the honor with teammate Heather Elswick … Set a career-best in all three events she competed in this year … Made her collegiate debut on the vault in the season-opener at co-defending national champion, Oklahoma, and scored a 9.825 … Scored a career-best 9.850 on the vault on Jan. 31 at the Metroplex Challenge … Posted a career-best 9.925 on the floor exercise on Jan. 16 in the home opener against the defending SEC champion, Alabama, which helped Arkansas post its highest-ever floor exercise total with a 49.600 … Collected a career-high 9.825 on the balance beam on Feb. 13 in a tri-meet against Illinois State and Southeast Missouri … Featured in every beam and floor routine and all but one vault rotation … Scores counted on 32 of her 35 routines … Scored a 9.8-or-higher on 11 floor routines, seven vault rotations and two beam routines … Averaged a 9.844 on the floor, a 9.791 on the vault and a 9.615 on the balance beam.

As A Freshman (2014)
Competed in all 12 meets for Arkansas as a true freshman … Recorded a career-best mark on the beam against No. 2 Oklahoma with a 9.825 … Set a career-best score of 9.875 on the floor against Kentucky … Finished second on the floor in the Razorbacks session at the SEC Championship to earn All-SEC team honors … Top freshman finisher on the beam to earn a spot on the SEC All-Freshman team … Her scored counted in 11 of the 12 beam scores and 10 of the 11 floor scores during her first year.

Prior to Arkansas

Competed for Ace Gymnastics in Ipswich, Mass., where she was a Level 10 gymnast, regional competitor and national qualifier in four seasons with Ace … Won the floor with a score of 9.55 and finished second in the all-around at regionals as a freshman, followed that with an all-around title with a score of 37.375 and moved on to nationals where she finished second in the all-around by scoring 9.625 … As a junior, won both the regional beam and floor, and finished second in the all-around with a 37.650 … Picked up a second-place on the bars and was third on the beam and vault at regionals as a senior … Prep career-best include a 9.575 on vault, a 9.45 on bars, 9.75 on beam and floor and a 38.325 which she scored in March 2012 at the Starlight Invitational in Boston, Mass.

High School
Attended St. Mary’s High School … A member of the National Honor Society and the yearbook staff for the Spartans.

Born April 18, 1995 … One of two children to Richard and Laurie Nelson of Peabody, Mass. … Has one older brother, Peter … Majoring in business (Community relations).

2017 Performances

Jan. 7at UCLA9.7509.775
Jan. 13Missouri9.8009.800
Jan. 20at Georgia9.8009.800
Jan. 27Alabama9.8509.800
Feb. 3at Auburn9.9009.850
Feb. 10LSU9.8009.875
Feb. 17Florida9.8009.900
Feb. 25at Michigan State9.8259.800
Mar. 3at Kentucky9.7509.850
Mar. 10San Jose State, Centenary9.8259.850
Mar. 18SEC Championship9.8509.800
Apr. 1NCAA Regional9.8009.900

2016 Performances

Jan. 2Cancun Classic9.79.825
Jan. 15Georgia9.7259.89.875
Jan. 17Oklahoma9.8259.775
Jan. 22at Alabama9.89.859.9
Jan. 29Auburn9.89.859.925
Feb. 5at LSU9.759.89.725
Feb. 12at Florida9.89.89.625
Feb. 19at Maryland9.7259.759.825
Feb. 26Kentucky9.759.99.9
Mar. 4at Missouri9.7259.89.9
Mar. 11Utah State9.7759.8759.85
Mar. 19SEC Championship9.79.99.875
Apr. 2at NCAA Regionals9.6759.8259.55

2015 Performances

Jan. 9at Oklahoma9.8259.79.875
Jan. 16Alabama9.8259.759.925
Jan. 23at Auburn9.759.759.85
Jan. 31Metroplex Challenge9.859.6759.85
Feb. 6Florida9.6759.1759.725
Feb. 13Home Tri Meet9.8259.875
Feb. 20at Kentucky9.7759.29.85
Feb. 27Missouri9.89.759.825
Mar. 7at Georgia9.89.759.825
Mar. 13UCLA9.7759.2259.825
Mar. 21SEC Championship9.89.7759.85
Apr. 4at NCAA Regionals9.8259.89.85

2014 Performances

Jan. 10Home Tri Meet9.825
Jan. 17at Missouri9.79.775
Jan. 24at Alabama9.7759.75
Jan. 31Auburn9.89.75
Feb. 7LSU9.8259.725
Feb. 14at Florida9.159.775
Feb. 21Kentucky9.8259.875
Mar. 1at Georgia9.89.75
Mar. 8at Nebraska9.8259.85
Mar. 14Oklahoma9.8258.95
Mar. 22SEC Championship9.89.8
Apr. 5NCAA Regionals9.7259.85

Career Event Titles

S. Nelson12

What do you love most about gymnastics? I love how gymnastics continues to challenge you. There’s never a stopping point, you can always get better or learn a new skill.

What was the best moment of your athletic career? When we beat Alabama last season in our house.

What keeps you motivated in and out of the gym? My passion for the sport and the Razorback fans.

Why did you choose to come to Arkansas? The overall feel of the school won me over, the nice people, and there are plenty of opportunities and resources.

What’s the best thing about being a Gymback? Being able to represent the U of A and competing with 12 other teammates who always have your back.

What are your personal and team goals this season? Team goal is to make Super Six. Individual goal is to achieve consistent 9.9 on each of my events.

What’s your favorite event? Floor.

If you could play any other sport, what would it be? Hockey.

Who had the biggest influence in your athletics or in your life? My coach Laura Tebo and my parents.

What’s your favorite healthy food? Apples and peanut butter.

What’s your favorite unhealthy food? Ice cream.

What’s your favorite movie? Pitch Perfect.

What’s your favorite TV show? Pretty Little Liars.

What do you like to do in your free time? Staying active and being outside.

What are your plans after graduation? Go to grad school, get a job in community relations and start a family.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? Hawaii and Ireland.

What’s your favorite song? Your Grace is Good Enough by Matt Maher.

Who’s your favorite book? The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd.

Can you play any instruments or have any other hidden talents? I used to play the trumpet and I like to pretend I can sing.

Do you have any superstitions? No, just go with the flow and enjoy each and every competition.

What would your DJ name be? Nelly.

If someone walked into your dorm room, what’s the first thing they would notice? How organized and clean I am and that I have a lot of pillows.

What’s the best advice you have ever received? Enjoy every minute because time goes by fast. Stop worrying so much about the future and truly live on the present.