2020 Arkansas Razorbacks

2020 ARKANSAS ROSTER
Seniors
Hailey
Garner
UB
BB

  • Competed UB in all 13 meets in 2019
  • #3 returning score on UB (9.825)
  • Competed 6 BBs, 4 hits, peak of 9.900
  • Contributed backup VT, FX in 2018 season
Jessica
Yamzon
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Competed AA every meet in first 3 seasons
  • #3 returning score on BB (9.855)
  • NQS of 9.815 FX, 9.785 UB, 9.770 VT
Juniors
Sophia Carter VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Competed BB, FX every meet in 2019
  • #1 returning score on both (9.935 FX, 9.875 BB)
  • Competed 6 UBs for 9.679 average
Kailey Gillings
 
  • Competed 1 BB in 2019 for 9.575
Sydney Laird
UB
  • Competed UB in 12 of 13 meets in 2019
  • NQS of 9.725
Sarah Shaffer
(redshirt)
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Competed weekly V T, UB, FX in 2019
  • #1 returning score on UB (9.855)
  • #2 returning score on FX (9.875)
  • #3 returning score on VT (9.835)
  • Showed 3 BBs, 2 hits, peak of 9.750
Sophomores
Katarina Derrick
BB
  • Competed 8 BBs in 2019
  • NQS of 9.805
Amanda Elswick
VT
BB
FX
  • Made final 2019 lineups on VT, BB, FX
  • #1 returning score on VT (9.865)
  • NQS of 9.755 BB, 9.660 FX
  • Peak of 9.900 BB, 9.850 FX
Kennedy Hambrick
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • Competed AA in final 11 meets of 2019
  • #1 returning score on UB (9.855)
  • #2 returning score on VT (9.860), BB (9.860)
  • #3 returning score on FX (9.820)
Savannah Pennese
VT
FX
  • Competed 10 VTs, 1 FX (9.750) in 2019
  • Peak of 9.775 on VT
Freshmen
Kiara Gianfagna
VT
UB
BB
FX
  • JPAC
  • 5th AA, 2019 Region 5s
Madison Hickey
VT
  • Energym
  • 16th VT, 2019 Region 5s
Bailey Lovett
(redshirt)
UB
BB
FX
  • Competed 1 FX (9.750) in first season
  • 6th AA, 2017 JO Nationals
Carissa Patton
VT
  • WOGA
  • 11th VT, 2017 Region 3s

FINAL SEASON RANKING
2019 – 18th
2018 – 10th
2017 – 19th
2016 – 20th
2015 – 14th
2014 – 15th
2013 – 10th
2012 – 6th
2011 – 10th
2010 – 11th

THE 2019 STORY
Arkansas finished 2019 with one of its weaker rankings historically at just 18th place, but after a season spent at #20, Arkansas will feel that the way things ended—a respectable 5th-place result at SECs and then coming just .125 from making the regional final—was a high note. At times during the year, it looked like things would go worse than that.

DEPARTED 2019 ROUTINES
Sydney McGlone – VT, FX
Michaela Burton – VT, UB, BB, FX

Arkansas has lost exactly one really important routine on each event, but in terms of a departing class, that’s a pretty manageable number. The core of each lineup remains.

INCOMING GYMNASTS
Arkansas’s freshman class has already lost one in Makenna Clarke, who recently disappeared from the roster, leaving the team with three new gymnasts as well as redshirt freshman Bailey Lovett, who competed just one routine last year. Expect to see the most from Kiara Gianfagna, who will look to provide reasonable lineup options on each event.

2020 PROJECTION
Expectations for Arkansas in 2020 are probably unfairly high because of Wieber Fever and Jordyn’s success as a coach at UCLA, but there’s likely not enough roster turnover to anticipate a hugely different result than last season. This is a team that will aim to pick up where it left off last year in mid-196ish town and work its way into the more comfortable part of the teens after being relegated to the 20s for pretty much the entirety of last season.

VAULT

2019 Event Ranking: 16

Lineup locks: Sarah Shaffer, Amanda Elswick, Kennedy Hambrick, Jessica Yamzon
Lineup options: Kiara Gianfagna, Savannah Pennese, Madison Hickey, Carissa Patton, Sophia Carter

Arkansas returns four key vaults from last year’s lineup with the Y1.5 from Elswick, the lovely Y1/2 from Shaffer, the best returning full from Hambrick, and the ubiquitous contribution from Yamzon. That returning core should help the vault lineup keep pace with last year’s scores.

Barring any preseason upgrade missions coming to fruition, there’s not a big lineup savior coming in, but vault does look like the most likely event for a few of the freshmen to appear, which will help the team increase its depth of options. That has been a concern in recent seasons, but…theoretically…there should be enough fulls here to put together a complete lineup six. Expect Gianfagna to come in to try to replace McGlone’s score, and if Arkansas gets a full from Hickey or Patton—or if Carter comes back to vault—that will be a bonus.

BARS

2019 Event Ranking: 29

Lineup locks: Sarah Shaffer, Kennedy Hambrick, Hailey Garner, Jessica Yamzon
Lineup options: Sydney Laird, Kiara Gianfagna, Sophia Carter, Bailey Lovett

Bars took a turn in 2019, from being the team’s best event in the 2018 season to a struggle bus in the 2019 season that didn’t hit the 49 zone for the first time until March.

Arkansas’s bars struggles were a bit weird because the lineup had Garner, who is lovely on bars, and Shaffer and Hambrick who have 9.850+ capability, and Yamzon who acts as that reliable rock, and Burton at that point who is also 9.9-able, which is an enviable foundation of routines. That group shouldn’t be getting 48s, and yet there always seemed to be someone absent or someone falling or a 9.675 flying in from left field, which turned bars into a weakness.

That’s why bars ranks as a concern in 2020 because while the path to 49.2s is apparent on paper, this is largely the same team that got low scores last season, now without Burton. Gianfagna will come into the lineup, but Arkansas is also going to need Laird to get more consistently out of the 9.7s or someone like Lovett to return to save the day on bars.

BEAM

2019 Event Ranking: 15

Lineup locks: Sophia Carter, Kennedy Hambrick, Jessica Yamzon,
Lineup options: Hailey Garner, Katarina Derrick, Amanda Elswick, Sarah Shaffer, Kiara Gianfagna, Bailey Lovett

Save for a few early hiccups, beam went pretty well for Arkansas in 2019, and the returning routines from Carter, Hambrick, and Yamzon should provide reliable hits and comfortable scores over 9.8. The question in terms of maintaining 2019’s quality will be the team’s ability to fill out the rest of the lineup since beam is not the most comfortable event for most of the other people on the roster.

Elswick and Derrick return from last year’s lineup (Derrick missed the end of the season with a major injury, so keep that in mind), though it was Garner who came in for Derrick at the end and surprised with a 9.900 at regionals to advance to nationals. Garner has always possessed the ability, if not the consistency, and I anticipate Arkansas will mostly be looking at people in that vein, Garner and Shaffer who don’t lack for lovely gymnastics, to find their beam feet in 2020 to keep up the 49.2s from last season. As on most other events, if a new one gets into the lineup, I’d expect it to be Gianfagna.

FLOOR

2019 Event Ranking: 11

Lineup locks: Sophia Carter, Sarah Shaffer, Jessica Yamzon, Kennedy Hambrick
Lineup options: Amanda Elswick, Bailey Lovett, Kiara Gianfagna, Savannah Pennese

Floor was Arkansas’s strongest piece last season, and despite losing McGlone’s essential 9.9, it should be the team’s best event again this season. With Carter and Shaffer bringing the big numbers (and Hambrick and Elswick both capable of doing the same more consistently in their second seasons), as well as Yamzon Yamzonning in the Yamzon position, the heartiest and most competitive core of routines returns on this piece. There should be a lot of 9.850s coming out of this group.

The downside may be that there aren’t a ton of routines to work with since 5-6 people on this 14-member roster won’t do floor at all. But if those five come along, Lovett is healthy this season (she had a nice DLO in JO), and Gianfagna brings a routine, I like the look of this lineup.

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