Gym’Backs HOST LSU IN HOME OPENER
The University of Arkansas opens the 2006 home season hosting 11th-ranked LSU in Barnhill Arena Friday. The Gym’Backs have been on the road for three consecutive weeks logging a lot of frequent flyer miles during their travels. Arkansas has traveled to Hawai’i, Missouri and Georgia this year.
A FAMILIAR LOOK
Arkansas started the year with three in a row on the road. They did the same thing last year as well traveling to Minnesota, Kentucky and Auburn before hosting sixth-ranked Georgia to open the home schedule.
WIN/LOSS DOESN’T MATTER, BUT…
Although a gymnastics teams win/loss record is not important, most teams will tell you it is important to defend your home gym. Arkansas is 9-14 all-time in Barnhill Arena. The Gym’Backs are 2-8 at home against SEC opponents and 7-6 against non-conference foes.
ABOUT THE GEORGIA MEET
Sophomore Samantha Cortez scored the first 9.90 of the year leading the 24th-ranked Gym’Backs in the Southeastern Conference opener at No. 3 Georgia in Athens, Ga., Friday.
Cortez’s 9.90 on vault tied her career best and paced Arkansas (3-4, 0-1 SEC) to a season-best 193.600 for the meet. Georgia (6-0, 1-0 SEC) won the meet with a season-high 196.125.
In addition to Cortez’s high score, junior Cassie Drew scored a 9.75 on floor as Arkansas scratched its way to the best team score of the year. Arkansas posted season-bests on vault, bars and floor as 10 Gym’Backs tied or broke previous season bests at the meet.
Season-Bests Abound At Georgia
Arkansas set or tied 10 different individual season-bests in the SEC opener at Georgia. The Gym’Backs also posted their season-best team score with a 193.600. Arkansas had season-high marks on the vault (48.775), bars (48.45) and floor (48.75) at the meet as well.
Senior Dana McQuillin recorded sesaon-highs on bars and floor; sophomore Emily Peacock on beam and floor; Mallory Machnik on vault; Breanne Guy on vault; Rachel Barnett on bars; Melissa Leigh on bars; Cassie Drew on floor and Alexandra LaChance on floor.
SCORES UP, RANKINGS UP
As Arkansas’ scores improved last week, so too did the Gym’Backs’ rankings in the polls. Arkansas moved up two spots from No. 24 to No. 22 as a team this week. The Gym’Backs also improved on bars and the floor exercise.
Senior Katie Hardman has been sidelined recovering from a surgery and a car accident. She is hopeful to return on at least one event at the LSU meet. The Buda, Texas, native got a taste of the action at Georgia when she exhibitioned on beam in Athens.
The LSU gymnastics team posted a season-high 195.025 to Iowa’s 191.100 to win its meet Friday in the Maravich Assembly Center. Junior Nicki Butler won the all-around with a mark of 38.875. It was the first all-around title of her career. April Burkholder, who won the individual title on every event except beam, coming in second in the all-around because of a fall on that event. The Tigers opened the year with a fourth-place showing hosting this year’s Super Six at the PMAC. LSU travled to Texas Woman’s University defeating the host, Utah State and Centenary before downing Iowa in Baton Rouge, La., last Friday.
ARKANSAS-LSU AVAILABLE ON-LINE
This Friday’s meet is one of several schedule for an on-line broadcast this year.
Point your browser to LADYBACKS.COM and watch the meet live. There is no charge for this meet.
Arkansas Against The TIGERS
The Gym’Backs have never defeated LSU in the three seasons of the program. LSU has won the seven meetings, once in Fayetteville, twice in Baton Rouge, three times at the SEC Championship and once at the NCAA Regional meet. LSU has never been ranked lower than 15th when meeting Arkansas and has been as high as second in the country when facing the Gym’Backs.
ARKANSAS SIXTH IN SOUTH CENTRAL REGION
The Gym’Backs are looking to move up in the South Central Region. Arkansas was sixth last week as well but closed the gap with a better score at Georgia. See the complete South Central poll on the previous page.
SEC STRONG IN THE POLL
The Southeastern Conference is well represented in the most recent national poll with all seven teams ranked in the top 22. Georgia is the highest-ranked team checking in at No. 1 this week after the high-scoring win over Arkansas Friday. Alabama is No. 3, followed by No. 5 Florida, No. 11 LSU, No. 16 Kentucky and No. 17 Auburn. Arkansas rounds out the SEC teams in the poll at No. 22.
Finally At Home
Arkansas opens the home season Friday, Jan. 27, hosting No. 11 LSU at 7:00 p.m. Arkansas is 0-7 lifetime against the Tigers but has been steadily closing the gap in recent meets. This is LSU’s second trip to Fayetteville since 2003.
The LSU meet is the first of five regular season home meets for Arkansas as the Gym’Backs also host Penn State, Kentucky, Auburn and Washington.
In addition to the regular season, the Gym’Backs host the 2006 NCAA South Central Regional Meet April 8, in Barnhill. Tickets for the regular season and the Regional meet are currently on sale in the Lady Razorback Ticket Office. Please call 57-LBACK or log on to LADYBACKS.COM for more information.