About the SEC Championship
2005 SEC Championship
March 26 Duluth, Georgia
Arena at Gwinnett Center (11,000)
The 2005 Southeastern Conference Championship meet will be held March 26 in Duluth, Ga. This marks the 25th year that the SEC will crown a team champion in gymnastics. Georgia will look to defend their title and take home their fifth SEC crown in the last six years, while Alabama will be aiming at taking their seventh title. Florida, who placed fourth in 2004, is looking to claim the title for the first time since 1989. LSU, who finished third last season, will also vie for the SEC Championship, as will Auburn and Kentucky. Arkansas, who is entering only their third season competing in gymnastics, will make their third appearance at the SEC Championship after finishing sixth a year ago.
Arkansas at the SEC Championship
The 2005 season marks the third trip to the SEC Championship for the Gym’Backs. Arkansas’ first appearance in the program’s inaugural year came in 2003 when the Gym’Backs tied with Kentucky for sixth place. Last year, Arkansas captured sixth place outright and garnered the team’s first all-SEC performer.
Leigh Leads Gym’Backs at SECs
Melissa Leigh captured the team’s first all-SEC honor last year scoring a 9.90 on bars at the league meet. Leigh owns the Arkansas record book on the event hitting the top mark, a 9.925 twice during her career.
Scoring at SECs
Arkansas recorded a 194.875 and was ranked 38th in the country at the team’s first SEC meet. Last year, Arkansas improved it place but scored lower with a 194.825. They were ranked 24th at last year’s SEC meet.
Against the Field
The Gym’Backs face each SEC opponent at least once throughout the year with the second appearance coming at the SEC Championship. Here’s a look at how the Gym’Backs stack up against the nation’s toughest conference:
Alabama (0-5), Auburn (2-3), Florida (0-6), Georgia (0-5), Kentucky (4-0-1), LSU (0-5), Total (6-24-1)
At this point in the season, no Gym’Back can claim “freshman nerves” heading into the SEC Championship. Nearly everyone on the roster has contributed at some point this year and Arkansas has already faced the nation’s best competition during the regular season. However, this year, Arkansas does have the luxury of five juniors who have competed at SECs on the roster. Katie Hardman, Melissa Leigh, Audra Loveless, Hannah McLeod and Dana McQuillin are all veterans at the meet.
Sophomores Add Experience Too
Sophomores Rachel Barnett and Cassie Drew have also experienced the SEC Meet. As a true freshman, Barnett recorded a 9.850 on bars, 9.825 on beam and a 9.675 on floor while Drew added a 9.70 on vault, 9.80 on bars, 9.150 on beam, 9.825 on floor and a 38.475 as an all-arounder last year.
SEC Academic Honor Roll
2004 (first year Arkansas was eligible