About the Gym’BacksThe Gym’Backs open SEC action Friday, traveling to Kentucky for a 7:00 p.m. meet Jan. 14. Arkansas returns to Barnhill Arena for the home opener Jan. 28 hosting No. 10 Georgia as league action continues.
What’s Next?Arkansas opens the 2005 Southeastern Conference season this weekend traveling to Kentucky for dual action. The Gym’Backs are 3-0-1 all-time agains the Wildcats with the lone tie coming at the 2003 SEC Championship in Birmingham, Ala.
About KentuckyThe Wildcats opened the year with a win over Bowling Green State last weekend, 194.950-190.150. Wildcat Rachel Riley won the floor events and the all-around title with a second-place finish on beam.
Arkansas versus KentuckyThe Gym’Backs are 3-0-1 in two seasons with Kentucky. Here’s the break down:2-7-03 AR 194.475, #33 UK 192.8253-29-03 #38 AR 194.875, #39 UK 194.8751-16-04 #9 AR 196.225, #23 UK 195.2003-20-04 #24 AR 194.825, #40 UK 193.85
Good opener for ArkansasThe University of Arkansas opened strong at Minnesota capturing the program’s first win in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Arkansas outscored the Gophers 194.250-193.800 thanks to solid routines in the first two rotations. Arkansas did not count a fall in the entire meet, something co-head coaches Mark and Rene Cook were pleased with in the opener on the road.
Show Your ColorsFreshman Emily Peacock notched her first collegiate win with a meet-best 9.850 on beam at Minnesota. Peacock was second on bars and 10th on floor in her first collegiate meet.
Drew it upYou couldn’t have drawn it up any better with sophomore Cassie Drew winning the bars for Arkansas at Minnesota. Drew scored a 9.80 in the opener to win. She was second on beam as well.
Captain, My CaptainThis year’s captains are juniors Hannah McLeod and Dana McQuillin. The honor is the second for McLeod (2003 and 2005) and the third for McQuillin (2003, 2004, 2005).
Junior LeadershipArkansas has something new on the roster this year — an upperclassman. Five in fact as the Gym’Backs return six juniors this year. They are: Katie Hardman, Melissa Leigh, Audra Loevless, Hannah McLeod and Dana McQuillin. In addition, five sophomores are listed on the roster along with three freshman for this year.
Gym’Backs in openersArkansas opened 2005 at Minnesota this year. The Gym’Backs are 4-1 in openers falling to No. 16 Denver in the inaugural season (2003) and winning the Arkansas Quad over No. 22 Minnesota, West Virginia and Illinois-Chicago last year. The win at Minnesota rounds out the regular season openers.
In SEC OpenersThe Gym’Backs are 1-1 in Southeastern Conference openers as the third season of league action begins. Arkansas fell to fifth-ranked Florida in 2003 and defeated No. 23 Kentucky in the first SEC meet of the year last season.
Arkansas moves up in pollThe University of Arkansas notched its first win in the opening meet at Minnesota scoring a 194.250 to vault from No. 24 to No. 13 in the GymInfo Coaches Poll released Monday.The poll is based on a team’s highest score for the first week, a season average for the next four weeks and by Regional Qualifying Score (RQS) for the remainder of the year. Arkansas’ mark of 194.250 in the win at Minnesota puts the Gym’Backs in firm control of the No. 13 spot just behind Southeastern Conference rival Florida at 194.450 and ahead of Nebraska wit a 194.200.Utah ranks first this week scoring a 197.675 in their opening meet. UCLA is second followed by Oklahoma, Michigan, Arizona State, Auburn, Oregon State, Iowa State and Georgia in the Top 10.Six of the seven SEC teams are ranked in the top 30 this week. Auburn leads the pack in the number seven spot followed by Georgia at number 10. Florida ranks 12th, with Arkansas at number 13, Alabama at number 16 and LSU at No. 20.The GymInfo poll also ranks team be apparatus and the Gym’Backs find themselves in the top 30 in each of the events. Arkansas is 23rd on vault with a 48.400, 17th on bars with a 48.525, seventh on beam at 48.800 and 24th on vault with a 48.525.
Tigers on the horizonThe Gym’Backs jump right into Southeastern Conference action with road meets at Kentucky and Auburn. Arkansas is 3-0-1 against Kentucky and 1-3 against the Tigers. The Tigers 195.325-187.650 defeat of Centenary on Friday in the Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum was the second-highest season opening score in AU history. For the team’s efforts, Auburn climbed the GymInfo polls and now owns the No. 7 ranking. This is the highest ranking for an AU gymnastics team since finishing fifth at the NCAA Championship in 1993.
Tough schedule aheadThe Gym’Backs face a tough schedule in 2005 meeting the defending national champion UCLA, runner-up Georgia, third-place finisher Alabama and number five finisher Florida this year.Arkansas opened the year with a trip to Minnesota where the Gophers were receiving votes in the preseason poll after finishing sixth at the North Central Regional last year.Arkansas opens Southeastern Conference action with a trip to Kentucky Jan. 14, followed by a road meet at Auburn Jan. 21. The Tigers finished fourth in the Central Region last year and are ranked seventh this week.The Gym’Backs’ first home meet of the year welcomes No. 10 Georgia who won the Northeast Regional and finished second overall. February begins with a trip to No. 20 LSU. The Tigers won the Central Regional fourth in the NCAA second session.The road stand continues with the Gym’Backs traveling to Washington meeting the Huskies, Seattle Pacifice and Oregon State in quad action Feb. 11. Washington was fifth at the North Central Regional last year and is ranked 11th this week while Oregon State was third at the West Regional and is No. 8 after week one.The Gym’Backs host No. 12 Florida and No. 16 Alabama on back-to-back weekends, Feb. 18 and 25, respectively. The Gators were second in the South Central Region and finished fifth overall while Bama was second in the West and third overall.A road meet at Denver March 5 opens the month for Arkansas. The Pioneers were third last year at the North Central Regional and are tied for 16th this week.The Gym’Backs host No. 23 Missouri who was fifth in the Northeast Regional last year March 13, followed by the final home meet of the year with Arkansas hosting a quad meet with defending national champion UCLA, Oregon State and Nebraska coming to Barnhill. UCLA was again the preseason favorite while Nebraska checks in at the number 14 spot after finishing second at the Southeast Regional in 2004. The season concludes with a trip to the 2005 SEC Championship in Duluth, Ga., March 26, followed by a regional appearance.
Got TicketsSeason tickets for the 2005 season are currently on sale at the Lady Razorback Ticket Office or on-line at www.ladybacks.com. All season tickets are reserved. Adult tickets are $40 while students and children at $15 for the season. Single meet tickets are $8 for adults, $4 for youth under 18 and $2 for UA students with an ID. For more information call the Lady Razorback Ticket Office at 57-LBACK.
2004 — A Season To RememberThe 2004 gymnastics season was certainly one for the record books.In just the second season of gymnastics at Arkansas, the Gym’Backs rewrote nearly every inaugural-season best, improved their overall and Southeastern Conference records, reached the NCAA Regionals and finished the year with the highest ranking in program history.In addition, the academic success continued with the Gym’Backs ranked 10th nationally for their classroom performances and the individual honors and awards were numerous.Not a bad sophomore season.
Gym’Backs Go FartherThe Gym’Backs found themselves ranked in the top 20 for much of the season resulting in the team’s first-ever invitation to the NCAA Regional meet. Arkansas was sent to the South Central Regional hosted by Arizona where they finished fourth overall just out of championship contention. The Regional meet (see box on page 25) was just one of the schedule’s many highlights last year. Arkansas opened the year with three wins hosting the team’s first-ever quad meet defeating No. 22 Minnesota, West Virginia and Illinois-Chicago.Arkansas next jumped right into Southeastern Conference action with a win over No. 23 Kentucky in Barnhill Arena followed by a first-ever victory over No. 29 Auburn giving the program two league wins in just its second season.The Gym’Backs continued to better their scores with a first-ever trip to No. 2 Georgia followed by a near-miss against No. 14 Louisiana State at home. Arkansas also added trips to No. 10 Missouri, No. 5 Florida and No. 3 Alabama to the first-time column.The Gym’Backs hosted their second quad of the year dominating the competition in a record-setting win scoring 196.625 points. The quad success carried over to an away meet at No. 11 Arizona that served as a precursor to the NCAA Regional meet just a few weeks later.
Records TumbleArkansas opened the season with a record-setting meet at the Arkansas Quad. The Gym’Backs scored a then-program best 195. 575 and notched three wins right out of the gate. Dana McQuillin added to Arkansas’ success winning the Gym’Backs’ first all-around title.Success continued throughout the season culminating with a program-best 196.625. That score was one of nine scores (in 12 meets) that bettered the previous seasons’ best mark and was the fifth score above 196 for the Gym’Backs.In addition to the all-around best at the Gym’Back Invitational, Arkansas recorded a program-best 49.075 on the vault at No. 10 Missouri, a 49.375 on bars at NCAA Regionals, a 49.375 on beam at No. 11 Arizona and a 49.525 on floor at the Invitational.The individual records also tumbled as team marks improved. Freshman Kathy Thompson broke the school record twice with a 9.90 on vault (once at No. 10 Missouri and again at NCAA Regionals) and the Gym’Backs set nine of the program’s best vault scores last year.Uneven bar numbers were equally as impressive with sophomore Melissa Leigh tying her own record with a 9.925 at Regionals for the top score last season. Leigh, who became the Gym’Backs’ first all-SEC gymnast, holds the top two marks as well as five of the top eight scores in the program’s history. Nine of the top 10 bar scores in school history were set last year.Sophomore Katie Hardman dominated the beam for the Gym’Backs, setting then breaking her own school record several times in 2004. Hardman finished the year with a 9.950 at No. 11 Arizona and bettered the 9.90 mark three times. She holds three of the top four marks and the Gym’Backs recorded the top nine scores in school history all last year.The floor also saw better scores in 2004 with Rachel Barnett recording a school-record 9.950 twice last year (versus No. 29 Auburn and No. 14 LSU). The top five marks in school history all came in 2004.McQuillin not only won Arkansas’ first all-around title in the first meet of the year, but she added three more AA titles and holds seven of the top nine scores for the Gym’Backs All-around numbers from the inaugural season were all but erased from the top 15 last year with 13 new entries and only two marks from 2003 remaining on the books.
Honors and AwardsThe Gym’Back honors and awards were numerous last year. In addition to the four all-around titles won by McQuillin, the sophomore also laid claim to a bar title, two beam victories and a floor crown. McQuillin became Arkansas’ first SEC Gymnast of the Week earning the honor the opening week of the season. She went on to capture the team’s most outstanding gymnast and coaches award at the post-season banquet.Audra Loveless, Cassie Drew and Leigh were also honored at the team banquet earning the most improved honor while Valerie Conroy captured the scholastic award.Leigh also added a first to the Arkansas record books becoming the first Gym’Back to earn all-SEC honors with a third-place finish at the conference championship. Leigh won a pair of bar titles last year as well.Sophomore Audra Loveless was also honored by the SEC with her selection to the 2004 Gymnastics Good Works team.Arkansas had several individual winners as well. In addition to McQuillin’s four all-around titles, freshman Cassie Drew also captured top honors at No. 10 Missouri last year. Thompson won a pair of vault titles with McQuillin and Loveless each earning one as well. Leigh brought home two bar titles and McQuillin added one. In addition, McQuillin (two) and Hardman (three) dominated the beam for Arkansas each winning individual titles last year. Rachel Barnett (two), Thompson (two), McQuillin and Drew were all floor champs last season.University of Arkansas Women’s Athletics Director Bev Lewis also earned recognition unique to gymnastics. Lewis was announced as the South Central Region Administrator of the Year at the regional meet in Arizona.
In the ClassroomArkansas continued its success out of the gym as well finishing the year ranked 10th in the nation and first in the SEC according to the National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches for Women.Arkansas posted a 3.48 team grade point average with nine individuals honored. Southern Utah led the nation with a 3.70 GPA.In addition to the team’s overall success, nine individual Gym’Backs earned NACGC/W Academic All-America honors with 3.5 GPAs or better. They were Jamie Burnett, Valerie Conroy, Kim Harris, Brooke Lawrence, Melissa Leigh, Audra Loveless, Hannah McLeod, Dana McQuillin and Kathy ThompsonArkansas ranked 14th in 2003 with a 3.43 GPA also leading the SEC. This year the Gym’Backs are 10th overall and again led the seven-member league.