TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – In another record breaking performance, the University of Arkansas gymnastics team secured their spot in the NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional final round with a final score of 197.250, the highest Arkansas ever recorded in the NCAAs Regionals in the history of the program.
The Gymbacks started the afternoon on bars and scored a solid 49.375, tied for the second-best bar score at regional championships in Arkansas history and the best by the Razorbacks since 2017. At point d Anchor, graduate Maggie O’Hara cemented her name in the Arkansas History Books with a 9.925, certifyingly pasting her dual-layered release. With her performance, O’Hara became only the second Gymback to score a 9.925 on bars at regional since Melissa Leigh at Tuscon Regional 2004.
On beam, Arkansas continued to shine with all five countable scores exceeding the 9,800 mark. Amanda Elswick and O’Hara went back to back with 9.875 for Arkansas, clearing the way for Kennedy Hambrick’s 9.925 at the anchor point. Hambrick lit up the arena with his series of backward jump layouts and full exit from the wheel, finishing second among all gymnasts on beam.
Hambrick led the Gymbacks to a score of 49.325 on beam and halfway through the competition Arkansas was in second place with a score of 98.700, tying Arkansas’ best score in two rotations of the season in of the Auburn meeting on March 5.
Arkansas took advantage of their third floor rotation. Senior Sophia Carter moved up to third place and landed her last pass in the half-split and double pike to score a 9.925 from the judges. Carter’s 9.925 helped her take first place on floor on day one, tying Luisa Blanco of Alabama and Jerquavia Henderson of Iowa. With the performance of Carter and 9.875 of Hambrick and first junior Abby Johnston, the Gymbacks took a 0.150 lead over second-placed Alabama and Iowa with a combined score of 148,000.
The Gymbacks finished the afternoon with an impressive 49.250 on vault, Arkansas’ third-best score of the season and second-best on the road. For the third time this year, junior Amanda Elswick led the team in vault, scoring a 9.900 with her Yurchenko blocked at full strength.
Arkansas finished second overall, behind host team Alabama who finished with a team score of 197.525. In third place was Iowa (197,050) and in fourth, Iowa State (196,525). The Gymbacks will return to the Coleman Coliseum for the final session of the Tuscaloosa Regional, tomorrow at 7 p.m. Arkansas will face Alabama and the two best performances of today’s second session, which includes Oklahoma, Mizzou and Maryland.
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