Gym’Backs’ Records Continue to fallThe 13th-ranked University of Arkansas recorded 11 season-bests, three career-bests and tied the school record on bars en route to the best team score of the year with a 195.725 at No. 4 LSU Friday. Freshman Emily Peacock, competing in her first all-around as a Gym’Back, tied the school record on bars with a 9.925 while the team posted a 2005 best 49.125 on the event. Junior Katie Hardman was again solid for Arkansas leadig the team with a 9.90 on beam and a 9.850 on the floor. The Gym’Backs travel to Washington for quad meet action facing the Huskies, Oregon State and Seattle-Pacific this week.
Season bests get betterArkansas’ freshmen continue to improve with each meet bettering their season/career numbers. But also improving are the upperclassmen as well. Three bests were recorded on the vault at LSU. Mallory Machnik’s 9.750 and Samantha Cortez’s 9.825 were season/career tops and junior Audra Loveless’ 9.775 tied her season best.Freshman Emily Peacock not only reached her personal best on the bars but tied the Gym’Back school record with a 9.925. Season-bests were also recorded by Dana McQuillin, Cassie Drew and Melissa Leigh while Cortez tied her high score.Three season-bests were recorded on beam by McQuillin, Leigh and Katie Hardman while Machnik tied her season/career best on the floor last weekend.
Solid Team ScoresArkansas improved on the 2005 team score with a season-high 195.725 at No. 4 LSU. The mark helped the Gym’Backs hold on to a No. 12 ranking, up one spot from last week.
Multi-MediaArkansas gymnastics goes multi-media this season when the Gym’Backs offer their meets online. Three of the five home meets will be available pay-per-view on LADYBACKS.COM while two events will air free of charge. In addition Arkansas is packaging athlete routines and will display some of that video on each athlete’s bio page in the weeks to come.
The Friendly ConfinesArkansas finally competed at home in Barnhill Arena hosting Georgia. The meet was one of five home events with Gym’Backs welcoming Florida, Alabama, Missouri and hosting a quad this year. Arkansas was 8-6 in Barnhill Arena in the first two seasons of action and 0-1 this year for an 8-7 all-time mark.
On The Road – AgainThe Gym’Backs return to the road this week for a break from Southeastern Conference asction at Washington this week. It is the fifth road meet in six events this year. Next week marks the return to Barnhill hosting a pair of SEC rivals in Florida and Alabama the last two weeks of February. Arkansas has four of its last five regular season events at home this year.
About No. 19 WashingtonThe Washington Husky gymnastics team scored a season-high 195.000 points to defeat Boise State in front of 1,821 fans on Friday night at the Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho. The Huskies bettered the Broncos on the vault, bars and beam to improve to 8-1, their best start since the 1984 season when they went 29-3 and advanced to the NCAA Championships. Freshman Natalie Gillan won her first-ever individual title, claiming the vault with a 9.825, while junior Kelly McDonald claimed the 13th individual title of her career, scoring a 9.875 on uneven bars. Freshman Brittney Brabec finished second overall in the all-around behind Boise State’s Lindsay Ward, who won all-around and beam.
Arkansas versus the HuskiesThis is Arkansas’ first meeting with the Washington Huskies.
About No. 21 Oregon StateOregon State (4-3) battled illness and injury to pull off a victory over Arizona State (3-4) 194.300-193.325 in a Pac-10 dual meet. The Beavers showed vast improvement on vault, beam and floor Friday night in front of 3,187 fans at Gill Coliseum. The Beavers, competing without seven routines from their usual lineup, were Heather Justus’ three routines (sprained elbow), three routines from Chelsea Plourde (influenza) and Thérèse Videan (strained calf) was limited to the uneven bars and vault.
Arkansas versus the BeaversThis is Arkansas’ first meeting with the Oregon State Beavers.
About No. 46 Seattle PacificKari Kelly won the vault competition as USA Gymnastics first-ranked Seattle Pacific University tumbled a season high team score in finishing second to Centenary College, and ahead of host Air Force Academy 193.525 to 191.800 to 188.600 in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation gymnastics meet Saturday night at Cadet West Gym.
Arkansas versus the FalconsThis is Arkansas’ first meeting with the Seattle Pacific Falcons.
Arkansas in Quad actionThis meet marks the first of two quad meets for Arkansas this year. The Gym’Backs host one of their own March 19 welcoming Nebraska, Oregon State and UCLA to Barnhill Arena. Quads have been good to Arkansas since the inaugural season in 2003. That year, Arkansas was 5-1 in quad meets winning the meet at Kentucky with victories over the host Wildcats, Illinois-Chicago and Texas Woman’s University. Arkansas was second that same season at Auburn trailing the Tigers but defeating Missouri and Centenary in a neutral gym.Arkansas was a perfect 8-0 last year as the Gym’Backs hosted a pair of quads in Barnhill Arena. The Gym’Backs notched wins over Minnesota, West Virginia and Illinois-Chicago in the opener and defeated Centenary, Southeast Missouri and Texas Woman’s in the second quad.
What About ArkansasArkansas continues to hold its own in the poll. The Gym’Backs are up one spot to 12th this week in a poll that now ranks teams by their season average. Arkansas is sixth in the country on beam this week. The Gym’Backs rank 10th on bars, 17th on floor and 25th on vault this year.
Gym’Backs in the top 25Sophomore Cassie Drew and junior Katie Hardman find themselves ranked in the top 25 in the nation on the balance beam this week. Drew is 13th overall while Hardman is 22nd this week.
About The PollArkansas has been in and out of the poll in various spots the first two seasons finishing last year ranked 20th overall. The Gym’Backs entered 2005 ranked 24th in the preseason poll and have climbed as high as No. 12 this year. The Gym’Backs jump one spot to No. 12 as the poll moves into its second phase ranking teams by season average instead of high score. Arkansas’ highest appearance in the poll was at the No. 11 spot one week last season.
More About The PollUnlike other collegiate athletic rankings, collegiate gymnastic rankings are not based on wins and losses or votes. Gymnastic teams are ranked by their meet scores alone. Teams are ranked by their highest score from Jan. 10-17. From Jan. 24-Feb. 14, teams will be ranked by their season average. Starting Feb. 21, teams and gymnasts will be ranked by a Regional Qualifying Score (RQS). An RQS is based on a team’s top six regular-season scores, with three scores coming from away meets. To obtain the RQS, the team’s or gymnast’s highest score is dropped and the remaining five scores are averaged.
SEC Dominates PollThe Southeastern Conference continues to prove itself as the nation’s leading Gymnastics conference. Each of the practicing seven SEC gymnastic teams find themselves ranked in the Top 20 again this week. For the week of February 7, LSU ranks No. 3 in the nation. Alabama, ranked 4th, is the next highest SEC team, followed by Florida (6th), Georgia (7th), Arkansas (12th), Auburn (15th) and Kentucky (17th). Below is a week-by-week look at how the SEC teams rank in the nation.
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).
Speaking Of The CaptainJunior co-captain Hannah McLeod missed three meets at Kentucky, Auburn and against Georgia after spraining her ankle in practice. She returned to the lineup at No. 4 LSU vaulting for Arkansas and is expected to see action at Washington. Some of Arkansas’ other injuries include Jamie Barnett and Kim Harris. Both athletes continue to recover and gain strength after injuries and illness suffered last year. Finally, Kathy Thompson is out for the year with a torn Achilles Tendon.