FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Texas natives Kennedy Hambrick and Sarah Shaffer will return home for the weekend looking to cap the Gymbacks’ year off strong at the 2022 NCAA Gymnastics Championships.
Hambrick will compete as an all-around individual qualifier for the second year in a row, and Shaffer will represent Arkansas on bars in her first-ever individual NCAA appearance.
“We are incredibly proud of Kennedy and Sarah for earning this incredible opportunity to showcase their talent and represent the University of Arkansas on at Nationals. This is a wonderful achievement for Sarah, in the final stages of her 6th year of college gymnastics and after many injuries, to be able to shine on the big stage. I am equally as proud of Kennedy, who has qualified in back-to-back years as an all-arounder, proving that she is undoubtedly one of the best,” head coach Jordyn Wieber said. “They have both been integral parts of this program’s success and I can’t wait to see them shine alongside the country’s best athletes.”
It’s the third consecutive year in which Arkansas has qualified at least two individuals to nationals. Hambrick is the second Gymback to go twice as an all-arounder competitor, and the first to do so in consecutive years. Shaffer is the fourth Hog to represent Arkansas on bars at NCAAs and the first time since 2009-10 that the team has had back-to-back bars qualifiers (Maggie O’Hara, 2021).
Hambrick qualified all-around with Jade Carey (Oregon State), Norah Flatley (UCLA) and Raena Worley (Kentucky). Her score of 39.575 in the regional semifinal was a season high and featured no scores lower than 9.875.
Shaffer qualified on bars alongside Jordan Chiles (UCLA), Cally Nixon (Kentucky) and Mia Takekawa (Illinois). She matched her career high of 9.950 in the regional semifinal for her first-ever individual NCAA berth, and each of the individual bars qualifiers also posted the same score to earn their spots.
These qualifiers, in addition to the advancing teams’ gymnasts, will all be eligible for national titles and All-American honors. Those placing first through fourth, including ties, will be named First Team All-American and fifth through eighth place will comprise the Second Team.
Both Gymbacks will compete in Thursday’s first semifinal at noon CT from Dickies Arena in Fort Worth. Hambrick will rotate with Utah, beginning with floor, and Shaffer will compete in the first rotation of the day on bars with Alabama. Individual awards will be named and take place after the second semifinal of the day, set for 5 p.m. CT.
Both national semifinals on Thursday will be broadcast live on ESPN2, and individual apparatus streams will be available via ESPN3/ESPN+. Live stats will be accessible through StatBroadcast.
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