FAYETTEVILLE - Arkansas' gymnastics team will see some familiar faces when the Razorbacks make their fifth straight appearance in the NCAA Championship in Duluth, Ga., on April 20.
The Razorbacks earned their sixth overall spot in the championship, and their sixth in seven years, after finishing second in the NCAA Fayetteville Regional in Barnhill Arena on Saturday. The top two teams from each of the six regionals advance to the NCAA Championship in the Gwinnett Center.
Arkansas is assured of a top 12 national finish, which will run its streak of consecutive seasons ranking among the nation's top 15 to eight.
All 12 teams compete in two semifinal sessions on April 20 and the Razorbacks are in the 5 p.m. (central) session along with fellow Southeastern Conference members Alabama, Florida and Georgia. Other teams in the session are Ohio State and Oregon State.
"We're excited to be in the second session," co-head coach René Cook says. "That makes the flow of the day better. Those are all strong teams or they wouldn't be there."
The Session I semifinal, which is at 11 a.m. on April 20, includes UCLA, LSU, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Stanford and Utah.
"We feel we have a shot at the Super Six," co-head coach Mark Cook says. "If we go in and do our job, we have a chance to make it."
Arkansas was ranked No. 10 in the nation entering the regional, but recorded its second-best score of the year and set a school record for a regional with a 196.825. The Razorbacks finished behind top-seeded UCLA, but beat No. 15 Boise State, No. 19 Missouri, No. 29 New Hampshire and No. 34 Maryland.
"After regionals, we had the sixth-highest score of the night," René says. "That proves we can compete with anyone. We have that mentality and that momentum. We're going to compete and leave it all out there. If we do that, we have a chance to be in the top three and get to the Super Six."
That score, combined with its Regional Qualifying Score (RQS) entering the meet, gives Arkansas a National Qualifying Score of 393.370, and makes the Razorbacks the No. 8 seed in the championship.
The seeds in Arkansas' session include No. 1 Florida, No. 4 Alabama, No. 5 Georgia, No. 8 Arkansas, No. 9 Oregon State and No. 12 Ohio State. Session I includes No. 2 UCLA, No. 3 Oklahoma, No. 6 Nebraska, No. 7 Utah, No. 10 Stanford and No. 12 LSU.
The rotation is already set and for the third time in three post-season meets, Arkansas' first event is on floor. Arkansas opened on floor at the SEC Championship. At Saturday's regional, the Razorbacks began with a bye, but their first event was on floor.
At the NCAA Championship, Arkansas opens on floor, followed by vault, bye, bars, beam and ends with a bye.
"As far as floor goes, we've been drawing that for years and we've been on that event first a lot this post-season," Mark says. "That rotation is something that is familiar to us."
Florida's rotation is vault, bye, bars, beam, bye and floor. Ohio State is bye, bars, beam, bye, floor, vault. Georgia is bars, beam, bye, floor, vault and bye. Alabama is beam, bye, floor, vault, bye and bars. Oregon State is bye, floor, vault, bye, bars and beam.