The University of Arkansas couldn’t have been closer to the No. 2 team in the nation last week falling to defending national champions 196.100-196.075 in Barnhill Arena. Although neither team felt they preformed its best, Arkansas was happy with the outcome and the plus-196 score.
Arkansas ties record
The Gym’Backs scored a 49.075 on the vault tying the Arkansas school record for the event. Arkansas has recorded a 49.075 twice before first Feb. 13, 2004, against No. 10 Missouri and again Feb. 18, 2005, against No. 4 Florida.
Gym’Backs tie again
Arkansas posted a 49.150 on the floor exercise tying the 10th-best mark in school history. The Gym’Backs tied the mark set against second-ranked Georgia Jan. 30, 2004.
Season Bests abound
Arkansas recorded 17 season-bests and tied two others in the Georgia meet highlighted by junior Emily Peacock’s 9.90 on the floor.
Freshmen handling all-around duties
Arkansas had two freshmen handle the all-around duties against No. 2 Georgia last week. Michelle Stout and Casey Jo Magee went all-around finishing third and fourth, respectively. It is the second time for each of the gymnasts this year to go for the all-around a big responsibility for the youngsters.
Ranked opponents continue for Gym’Backs
Arkansas continues to work its way through a demanding schedule this week traveling to Baton Rouge, La., taking on No. 15 LSU in dual meet action. This marks Arkansas’ third trip to Baton Rouge in program history.
LSU enters the week ranked 14th in the country but is coming off what they considered a shaky meet against Illinois in their home opener. The Tigers are 5-2 overall after a 3-2 start at Super Six, LSU defeated Iowa and the Fighting Illini. LSU’s last meet saw LSU count three falls on beam and floor while celebrating head coach D-D Beaux’s 30th year at the helm of her team. LSU returned seven gymnasts from last year’s eighth-place NCAA team including two all-Americans.
Arkansas versus LSU
The Gym’Backs have never defeated the Tigers and have an 0-10 all-time mark against one of the nation’s top programs. LSU has edged Arkansas twice in Baton Rouge, twice in Fayetteville, twice in Birmingham (at SECs), twice in Duluth, Ga. (at SECs), once in Durham, N.C. (NCAA Regionals) and once in Corvallis (NCAA Championships).
Arkansas’ score moves up in the poll
The Gym’Backs put together two good scores at Penn State and again against Georgia and have jumped back up in the poll to No. 14 this week. The poll is based on team’s average scores again this week. Arkansas faces a very tough vaulting team in LSU. In fact, the Tigers are ranked first in the nation on the vault this week. Arkansas is 13th on the vault. LSU is also ranked higher than Arknasas on the bars although the margin is significantly smaller – 11 to 13th. The Gym’Backs out-rank LSU on beam (22 to 30th) and on floor (16 to 25th). Arkansas’ No. 15 ranking on the vault is the highest vault ranking in program history. The Gym’Backs have been as high as No. 16 in 2004 and 2006.
Arkansas Individuals in the poll
With LSU ranked first in the vault, you would expect several Tiger individuals to be ranked as well and you’d be correct. Ashleigh Clare-Kerney is second, Nicki Butler is tied for eighth and Emily Ellis and Kelly Phelan are tied for 24th on the vault. Arkansas does not have an individual in the top 25.
The Gym’Backs do have a couple of individuals ranked. Junior Emily Peacock is tied for 21st on the bars and freshman Casey Jo Magee is tied for 21st on the beam. LSU did not have any individuals in the top 25 on those two events.
Youth dominates lineup
Arkansas has a young lineup. There are 24 performances in a meet and that number changes if you factor in the all-around competition. Last week at Penn State Arkansas had 26 performances – six on each event and two all-arounders. The Gym’Backs had 14 of those performances filled with freshmen and sophomores. Arkansas competed two freshmen and two sophomores on vault, four freshmen on bars, three freshmen on beam, one freshman and one sophomore on floor and one freshman in the all-around.