School Record Highlights Home Meet
University of Arkansas freshman Michelle Stout set a school record with a 9.95 on the vault leading Arkansas to it’s second-best team score of the year with a 195.775 against No. 1 Florida Friday. Stout also tied her season/career-bests on the bars and beam and set a new best as an all-arounder with a 39.325 to finish second overall. Stout won the individual vault title as well.
Entire Team Performs Well
Arkansas had a very solid team performance against Florida, setting or tying 12 season or career bests. In addition to Stout’s school record vault and other highlights (see first note) six other Gym’Backs posted season-highs. There were two on vault (Breanne Guy, Stout), two on bars (Stout, Allison Daniels), three on beam (Stout, Alex LaChance, Emily Peacock), three on floor (Cassie Drew, LaChance, Samantha Cortez) and two on the all-around (Drew, Stout).
Arkansas Moves Up In Poll
The Gym’Backs moved up a spot to No. 15 this week in the poll as RQS numbers are just beginning to show. Teams are still ranked by their average scores but more and more programs have enough numbers for RQS (regional qualifying score). Arkansas’ No. 15 ranking this week matches the preseason start for the Gym’Backs this year.
SEC Looks Good In The Poll
The Southeastern Conference continues to be one of the toughest conferences for gymnastics in the country. All seven SEC members are ranked in the top 25 with Florida and Georgia holding the top two positions, respectively. The Pacific 10 has five teams in the top 25 while the Big 10 and the Big 12 each have four teams ranked in the top 25.
Arkansas Individuals in the poll
Arkansas also has three Gym’Backs ranked in the top 20 as individuals this year. Freshman Casey Jo Magee ranks 16th on the beam Teammate junior Emily Peacock ranks 25th on bars and freshman Michelle Stout is tied for 19th overall on the vault after her record-setting 9.95 against No. 1 Florida Friday.
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 against Florida, Arkansas had 26 performances – six each on vault, bars, beam and floor and two all-arounders. The Gym’Backs had 13 of those performances filled with freshmen and sophomores. Arkansas competed two freshmen and two sophomores on vault, four freshmen on bars, two freshmen and a sophomore on beam, one freshman and one sophomore on floor and one freshman in the all-around.
You always win
The fledgling gymnastics program that is the Gym’Backs has performed well in several meets throughout the first four-plus years of existence – but that hasn’t always translated into wins (individual or for the team). However, the Gym’Backs do have their fair share of individual titles. Here’s a quick look at some of the win totals.
About Alabama (from rolltide.com)
The No. 3 ranked Crimson Tide had a solid meet on three events but was marred by a three-fall performance on the balance beam. The Tide started off strong on the event with sophomore Ashley O’Neal and freshmen Casey Overton and Ricki Lebegern all scoring career high marks. Overton, who went in the competitive lineup for the first time last week, scored a team-best 9.875 while O’Neal and Lebegern both went 9.85.
Arkansas Versus Alabama
The Gym’Backs are 0-9 all-time against Alabama. Arkansas’ best score against the Crimson Tide came in 2004 when the Gym’Backs posted a 196.450. Arkansas and Alabama have met four times in dual meet action, four times at the SEC Championship and once at the NCAA Championships. Alabama was technically unranked when the teams met for a dual meet in 2005 (a reporting technicality that was worked out the next week) otherwise the Crimson Tide have never been ranked lower than fifth when facing Arkansas.
Alabama out-ranks Arkansas as a team this year (No. 5 to No. 15). In addition they rank higher than Arkansas on vaults (2 to 14) bars (7 to 18) beam (11 to t18) and floor (1 to 11).
Arkansas Is Fourth In The Region
The Gym’Backs are ranked fourth in the regional rankings this week.
Did you know – Vault (Athletes on this year’s roster only – not all-time)
Of the 12 gymnasts on this year’s roster, junior Samantha Cortez holds seven of the top 10 vault marks. She has posted three 9.90s during her career and four 9.85s. In addition, freshman Michelle Stout set a new school record with a 9.95 on the vault against No. 1 Florida. She holds three of the top 10 vault marks.
Did you know – Bars (Athletes on this year’s roster only – not all-time)
Junior Emily Peacock has been a dominate gymnast for Arkansas on the uneven bars. She holds the school record on the event with a 9.95 and has all but two of the top 10 marks among her current teammates.
Did you know – Beam (Athletes on this year’s roster only – not all-time)
It’s senior Cassie Drew’s turn to shine on balance beam as she holds four of the top seven marks (several athletes have a 9.850). Drew has scored a 9.90 three times most recently at the Gym’Back Quad in 2005.
Did you know – Floor (Athletes on this year’s roster only – not all-time)
Senior Rachel Barnett holds the top two spots on the current roster for the floor exercise. She has scored a 9.950 twice in her career most recently against No. 14 LSU in 2004. Cassie Drew and Emily Peacock have also faired well on the floor for Arkansas.
Did you know – All-Around (Athletes on this year’s roster only – not all-time)
Arkansas again has looked to senior Cassie Drew for leadership as an all-arounder. Drew holds seven of the top spots. Freshman Michelle Stout checks in at No. 1 however, with a 39.325 set against top-ranked Florida in a second-place effort.
More TV please
No problem. Nine of Arkansas 13 regular-season meets are slated for television. In addition to ESPN2 televising the Super Six Challenge, Arkansas will be on FSN at Kentucky and at the SEC Championship. The Gym’Backs get some camera time from COX when they host Georgia and at LSU and KFTA is airing Arkansas’ home meets with Florida and Alabama.
Big Meets Bookend the Schedule
Arkansas opens and closes the 2007 season with two of the biggest “home” meets in school history. The Gym’Backs lead off with the Super Six Challenge with six of the nation’s toughest teams in a meet televised by ESPN2. Arkansas closes the regular season at the SEC Championship hosted by ALLTEL Arena in nearby North Little Rock, Ark.
2007 opponents fared well in 2006
Fifteen of Arkansas’ 22 regular season opponents advanced to the NCAA Regional Championship a year ago. Six of those reached the NCAA Championship including four SEC opponents.
ALLTEL Arena hosts SEC Championship
North Little Rock’s ALLTEL Arena plays host to this year’s Southeastern Conference Gymnastics Championship. The 2007 Championship at ALLTEL marks the 10th venue to host the league’s teams. Arkansas first competed at the SEC Championship in 2003 when Birmingham hosted the event. The championship moved to Duluth, Ga., in 2004 and 2005 when teams competed in a multi-purpose facility that actually had ice from the previous week’s hockey game under the floor. The SEC Championship returned to Birmingham in 2006 with the new civic center hosting the event. For the first time in league history, the championship was competed on a platform with all of the events raised up off the floor in a set-up that more closely mirrored the national championship.
This year, the league championship moves to North Little Rock, Ark., and the platform is again going to be used. The North Little Rock venue has seen its share of high profile Southeastern Conference events having hosted the SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament twice, first in 2003, and again in 2006. Ironically, the SEC Women’s Basketball Championship moves to Duluth, Ga., and the Gwinnett Center – the site of the 2004 and 2005 gymnastics championships.
Arkansas returns from back-to-back road meets (LSU and Utah) to host consecutive home meets. The Gym’Backs welcome No. 1 Florida Feb. 9, followed by No. 5 Alabama Feb. 16. The Gym’Backs then face a two-date road swing with meets at No. 22 Kentucky (FSN) and No. 11 Auburn, as conference meets wind down.