FAYETTEVILLE – The No. 22 University of Arkansas gymnastics team (1-2, 0-2 SEC) welcomes the top-ranked Florida Gators (3-1, 2-1 SEC) to Barnhill Arena Friday night for its Pink Meet. The meet has a scheduled start time of 7 p.m.
Arkansas is currently ranked No. 13 on the balance beam in the Gyminfo Women’s Gymnastics National Event rankings, as well as No. 24 on the vault.
Individually, junior All-American Katherine Grable is ninth in the all-around (39.450), fifth on the floor exercise, and tied for 20th on the vault.
“We were fairly solid throughout the meet,” co-head coach René Lyst said. “We had some good vaulting, a much improved bars rotation and beam our beam rotation was phenomenal. It was one of the best beam rotations that we have ever had. Scoring was tight, but that is the way it goes sometimes when you are at a competition. Unfortunately we had a few mistakes on floor that we had to end up counting, not any falls, but not the type of clean routines we would hope for to get over the 196.000 mark.”
Last week against No. 11 Denver, Arkansas’ Grable and freshman Erin Freier each collected event titles as the Razorbacks completed the upset of the Pioneers 195.475-195.125. Grable stuck her vault landing for a 9.875 to claim the event title. She also recorded a 9.875 on the floor to take that title as well. Freier recorded a 9.850 on the bars to lead the Razorbacks and take the event title for the meet.
Florida leads the all-time series (28-3). This will be the eighth meeting in a row between the two squads, where one of the two teams has been ranked No. 1 nationally. Arkansas last beat No. 1 Florida in 2011 at the NCAA Regional competition in Denver 196.55-196.425, the Razorbacks were No. 12 at that time.
Florida is coming into this weekend having scored the nation’s highest total of the season with a 197.65-196.025 win over Auburn. Junior Mackenzie Caquatto was the SEC Specialist of the Week and Bridget Sloan claimed her first SEC Freshman of the Week honor. Florida also features at least on gymnast among the nation’s top 10 in each of the five events in the Gyminfo rankings.
“Florida is always good,” Lyst said. “They are a solid team, and coached well. They have phenomenal athletes, but as we know, you have to compete every time you step out on the floor. We just need to focus on our process, hit our routines, and be a little cleaner and sharper than last week. We need to keep building our momentum and let the chips fall where they may at the end of the competition.”
The meet will be featured as the Pink Meet promotion benefiting the Susan G. Komen foundation. Fans who wear pink to the meet will receive one dollar general admission tickets. Fans will also be able to purchase the official pink T-shirt that will allow free entry to the women’s basketball and softball Pink promotion games.
Promotions for the meet include free schedule posters and schedule magnets. The first 1,000 fans will receive a free pink Arkansas gymnastics tumbler cup. There is also a fan pack that will be given away during the meet, where one lucky fan will receive a Pink iPod Nano. Also t-shirts will be thrown into the stands each time the Razorbacks score a 9.8 or higher.
Fans can follow along during the meet with the RazorVision live stream, live results and interactive blog. Following the meet Friday, the Razorbacks will begin a two meet road swing, at Auburn on Feb. 8 and Feb. 22 at LSU.