Recruiting Breakdown: Arkansas Adds Five For 2018 Season

Arkansas Athletics Arkansas Freshman

​The 2018 NCAA gymnastics season is still months away, but it's never too early to get to know the incoming freshman class for each team. Here's a breakdown of the new additions Arkansas has made for next year.

Arkansas struggled with injuries during the 2017 season. The Razorbacks competed in 10 meets with fewer than six athletes competing on each event. On seven occasions, Arkansas competed with just five athletes on floor exercise. The Razorbacks also competed with five athletes on vault once and uneven bars on two occasions. Arkansas lost senior standout Amanda Wellick with a torn Achilles after the first week of competition. Wellick will be back as a redshirt senior in 2018. 

​Outgoing: ​Heather Elswick, Samantha Nelson
The Razorbacks lose four routines from their two seniors -- two each from Elswick and Nelson. Elswick competed steadily on floor exercise all season and competed on vault halfway through the season. She scored a 9.700 or better on floor in all but one meet. Her season-high 9.875 came on the road in the penultimate meet of the regular season against Michigan State. Nelson appeared on both balance beam and floor exercise where she scored consistently in the 9.800-range. She posted a season-best 9.900 on beam against Alabama and notched a pair of 9.900s on floor, including at regionals. She finished second there behind MyKayla Skinner.

​Incoming: ​Kailey Gillings, Sophia Carter, Sydney Laird, Lakin Legereit, Ellie Wylie

Kailey Gillings

Beach City, Texas
Trains at Stars Gymnastics
Coached by Ashley and Dan Baker

Gillings attended the J.O. national championships in each of the last four seasons. She tied for 16th on uneven bars in 2017 and finished third on bars in 2016. She was the Region 3 balance beam champion in 2017 and earned silver on beam, bronze on both bars and in the all-around, and finished fourth on floor at the 2016 Texas state championships. Gillings picked up silver on beam and bronze in the all-around and on floor exercise at the Region 3 championships in 2016. She finished sixth in the all-around and third on beam at the 2015 J.O. National Championships. Gillings qualified for junior elite in 2014 and competed at both the American Classic and the Secret U.S. Classic. She also earned a state title on floor and a regional title on balance beam in 2014.

​Video courtesy of mgillings76

​Impact event: Balance beam

Sophia Carter

Blue Springs, Missouri
Trains at Great American Gymnastics Express

Carter earned trips to the J.O. national championships from 2013 through 2017 and competed at the J.O. NIT in 2012. She was the all-around and balance beam champion at the J.O. NIT in 2012 and earned a national title on floor exercise in 2014. Carter finished 10th in the all-around, sixth on beam, and tied for 11th on bars at the 2017 J.O. national championships. She earned bronze on bars and in the all-around and silver on balance beam at the 2017 Region 4 championships. Carter has notched titles at the state level in the all-around (2014, 2015, 2016), vault (2015, 2016), balance beam (2014, 2015, 2016), floor exercise (2016), and uneven bars (2015). She is a two-time Region 4 balance beam champion in 2014 and 2015. She was the Region 4 champion on uneven bars and in the all-around in 2015.

​Video courtesy of USA Gymnastics

​Impact event: All-around

Sydney Laird

Kings Mountain, North Carolina
Trains at First in Flight Gymnastics
Coached by Elke Williams

Laird has juggled competing Level 10 in the United States while also competing at the elite level for Canada. She grabbed silver on beam and in the all-around at the 2017 Region 8 championships where she also tied for fourth on floor. She was the North Carolina state champion on uneven bars and took silver in the all-around and bronze on both vault and beam in 2017. She was the Region 8 champion on uneven bars, balance beam, floor exercise, and in the all-around in 2016. Laird also earned state titles on beam, floor, and in the all-around in 2014. On the international scene, Laird made her debut at Elite Canada in 2014 where she finished fourth in the all-around and on uneven bars. She earned her first international assignments in 2014 where she traveled to Belgium for a pair of competitions. At Coupe Avenir, Laird was the uneven bars champion and earned silver on vault and bronze in the all-around. At Tom Gym she earned silver in the all-around.

​Video courtesy of Sydney Laird

​Impact events: Uneven bars and balance beam

Lakin Legereit

Liberty Hill, Texas
Trains at Acrotex Gymnastics Club

Legereit finished ninth in the all-around at the 2016 Region 3 championships where she also took bronze on floor and was fourth on vault.  She bronze on floor, finished fourth on beam, and sixth on vault at the 2016 Texas state championships. She earned sixth on floor at regionals in 2015 and eighth on vault at regionals in 2014.

​Video courtesy of Lakin Legereit

​Impact events: Vault and floor exercise

Ellie Wylie

Basking Ridge, New Jersey
Trains at North Stars Gymnastics
Coached by Tom Gehman and Ashley Umberger

Wylie has competed as a Level 10 since 2013. She earned an 11th-place finish in the all-around at the 2016 Region 7 championships. She also picked up an eighth-place finish on vault and tied for ninth on balance beam. She won bronze medals on beam and in the all-around at the 2017 Region 7 championships where she also finished fourth on floor, fifth on vault, and sixth on bars. She traveled to the J.O. national championships where she finished tied for 13th on balance beam.

​Video courtesy of Matthew Wylie

​Impact event: Balance beam

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