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Arkansas Gymnastics Fact Sheet #13

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Arkansas Gymnastics Fact Sheet #13

CINDERELLA GOES TO THE BALL
The University of Arkansas surprised the field finishing second at the 2006 South Central Regional Championship April 8, upsetting ninth-ranked UCLA and earning the program’s first trip to the NCAA Championship. Arkansas travels to Corvallis, Ore., April 20-22, for the three-day event.

ARKANSAS IS IN SESSION 2
Teams were ranked according to their regional score and Arkansas opens the first day of competition with Georgia, Iowa State, host Oregon State, Florida and Arizona State. The Gym’Backs begin the meet on the floor and compete in nearly the same order they did for the Regional Championship. Arkansas opened with a bye before the floor at regionals and ends on the bye at nationals.

HOW DOES THIS WORK?
Twelve teams, two from each Regional Championship, compete at the NCAA Championship. There are two “meets” on Thursday. Session 1 begins at 1:00 p.m. (Pacific Standard) with Oklahoma, Nebraska, Michigan, Utah, LSU and Alabama. Session 2 with Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa State, Oregon State, Florida and Arizona State begins at 7:00 p.m. The top three teams from each session advance to Friday’s finals at 7:00 p.m. Saturday’s meet begins at 7:00 p.m. for individual events competitors.

HOW FAR HAVE WE COME?
Arkansas added gymnastics in 2001-02 hiring Mark and Rene Cook as co-head coaches. The Lady Razorback administration gave the Cooks a full season to recruit and build a practice facility before fielding the program’s first team in 2003. That inaugural team featured 11 freshmen, five of whom make up this year’s senior class.

IT’S BEEN A LONG ROAD
The inaugural class of gymnasts in 2003 took their first-ever road trip on Feb. 2, 2003, traveling to UCLA where the Bruins defeated Arkansas 198.175-193.475. Just three seasons later, Arkansas edged UCLA, 195.400-195.175, to advance to the program’s first NCAA Championship. Arkansas was just 5-14 overall and 1-5 in the Southeastern Conference that season. The Gym’Backs bettered their record to 11-14 in 2004, and 9-16 last year. The Gym’Backs are 12-15 in the 2006 season.



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