Drew named SEC Gymnast of the Week Senior Cassie Drew earned Southeastern Conference Gymnast of the Week, the league office announced Tuesday. The Raleigh, N.J., native is just the third gymnast in program history to earn the weekly award in what is the toughest conference for gymnastics in the country. Drew has had a solid year but was pivotal in Arkansas’s win at No. 14 Auburn last week. The victory was the second consecutive SEC win with Drew tying for the individual beam title with a career-best 9.90. Drew also added a season-best 9.850 on the floor and was just shy of a career mark with a season-high 39.275 in the all-around.
Arkansas hosts first of two quads The 11th-ranked Gym’Backs host the first of a pair of quad meets this year welcoming No. 23 WVU, No. 37 Pittsburgh and No. 39 New Hampshire Friday March 9, at 7:00 p.m. The Gym’Backs host their second quad March 23, hosting Missouri, Southeast Missouri and Texas Woman’s University.
Arkansas moves up in poll The Gym’Backs had a very successful meet at No. 14 Auburn scoring a season-best 196.325. The score moved the Gym’Backs up one spot to number 11 in this week’s poll. The last time Arkansas was ranked as high as 11th was weeks six and seven of the 2005 season. The Gym’Backs were as high as ninth in the early weeks of 2004.
Individuals in the polls Arkansas has a couple of individuals, both freshmen, ranked in the top 25 again this week. Casey Jo Magee is tied for 19th on the balance beam with a 9.840 RQS, a 9.822 average and a 9.90 high score. Michelle Stout is tied for 24th on vault this week. She has a 9.855 RQS, with a 9.842 average and a high of 9.95 which is also a school record.
About This RQS Qualification for regional competition is based on a team’s and an all-around competitor’s six best regular-season-meet scores, of which three must be away. To obtain the regional qualifying score (RQS), the high score is eliminated and the remaining five scores are averaged.
SEC season over – kind of Arkansas wrapped up the SEC regular season Friday with a win at Auburn. Arkansas finishes the regular season with a 2-4 league mark for the fourth consecutive season (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007). Arkansas also won its last two SEC meets in 2006 (Auburn and Kentucky). The Gym’Backs lost their last four meets of the year in both 2004 and 2005 after winning their opening meets (Auburn and Kentucky). Arkansas was 1-5 in the SEC in 2003 and now has a 9-21 record against the conference in five seasons. The Gym’Backs get another crack at everyone in the league at the SEC Championship in North Little Rock, Ark., March 31.
A chance to improve the home record The Gym’Backs have two regular season home meets remaining, both of which are quad meets. Arkansas is 16-25 all-time at home but the Gym’Backs gain the advantage with a 12-10 non-conference home record. Arkansas is 0-3 against non-SEC teams in Barnhill this year and 0-5 against league teams (0-8 total).
Quad meets have been good The Gym’Backs are 11-4 all-time in quad meets throughout the five years of the program. Arkansas is 7-2 in home quads and 4-2 in road four-team meets.
Stout likely to return Freshman Michelle Stout was limited to one event (vault) at No. 14 Auburn last week. The Endwell, N.Y., native was injured in practice last week and was rested against Auburn. She is day-to-day but likely to return to more events in the quad this week.
About UNH The Wildcats posted their best score of the year, 195.250, in a win over Maryland last week. UNH is 10-6 coming into the weekend. They have two losses to Denver, one to Pittsburgh and have defeated West Virginia (all teams Arkansas also faced or faces). Three seniors and four juniors lead the team this year.
About Pittsburgh The Panthers are 7-6 overall and 3-1 in EAGL action. They too just set a season-best with a 194.275 in their final home meet of the season. They finished fifth in regional action last year and 33rd overall but return 10 letterwinners to this year’s team. They have faced UNH, West Virginia, Penn State and Missouri who are also on Arkansas’ schedule.
About West Virginia West Virginia has been busy this year coming into the weekend with a 16-7 overall record. The Mountaineers have a win over Pittsburgh and a win against Kentucky along with losses to Kentucky, Penn State, UNH and Nebraska as they share those common opponents with Arkansas. The Gym’Backs have a bit of history with WVU in that current Arkansas assistant Dave Kuzara was at West Virginia before joining the Gym’Backs.
Series Records Arkansas is 0-1 against New Hampshire finishing behind the Wildcats in Durham at the 2005 Regional Championship. Arkansas scored a 193.950 finishing behind UNH who posted a 194.700 on their home floor. Arkansas is 1-0 against Pittsuburgh. The Gym’Backs edged the Panthers at the same regional meet mentioned above. Arkansas outscored Pitt 193.950-193.100. Arkansas and West Virginia have met three times with WVU holding a 2-1 advantage. The Gym’Backs lost in Morgantown in 2003, won in Fayetteville in 2004 and finished behind WVU in a quad meet at Florida last year.
Success On The Road Arkansas posted a 196.350 at No. 14 Auburn marking the best road score in program history. The road has been good to Arkansas this year as the Gym’Backs also scored well at Kentucky wit a 195.850 – a mark that ranks fourth all-time. See the box on the previous page for the top road scores in school history.
SEC Looks Good In The Poll The Southeastern Conference continues to be one of the toughest conferences for gymnastics in the country. Nearly all seven SEC members are ranked in the top 25 with Florida and Georgia holding the top two positions, respectively. Alabama holds onto No. 4 followed by No. 6 LSU, No. 11 Arkansas and No. 16 Auburn, Kentucky is just outside the top 25 checking in at No. 30 this week.
Arkansas Moves Up In The Region After four weeks in the No. 4 spot in the South Central Region, Arkansas moved up a spot to the No. 3 position in week 7 where they remain. The Gym’Backs moved ahead of Arizona and trail Nebraska and Oklahoma. Arkansas faced, and lost, to Nebraska at the Super Six Challenge but has not faced Oklahoma this season. The Gym’Backs host Missouri, Southeast Missouri and Texas Woman’s University, all of whom are also ranked, later this year in Barnhill Arena.
Youth dominates lineupArkansas 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 Kentucky, Arkansas had 26 performances – six each on vault, bars, beam and floor and two all-arounders. The Gym’Backs had 14 of those performances filled with freshmen and sophomores. Arkansas competed three freshmen and a sophomore on vault, four freshmen on bars, two freshmen 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. With a pair of individual wins at Kentucky, junior Emily Peacock has 12 victories – the most ever in the history of the program.
More TV pleaseNo 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. Arkansas’ meet at Kentucky airs March 2 at 5:00 p.m. Central.
2007 Opponents Doing Well In 2007 All but one of Arkansas’ 2007 opponents are ranked in the top 50 this week. Arizona State is not ranked at all because of a reporting issue. Florida, a team the Gym’Backs will face at least three times before the season ends, leads the pack and is ranked No. 1 again this week. Georgia is ranked second followed by No. 4 Alabama, No. 5 Utah, No. 7 Nebraska, No. 8 LSU, No. 13 Denver, No. 14 Auburn, No. 16 Penn State, No. 19 Missouri, NO. 21 West Virginia, No. 26 Kentucky, No. 27 BYU, No. 34 SUU, No. 35 New Hampshire, No. 37 SEMO, No. 39 Pittsburgh and No. 49 TWU.
ALLTEL Arena hosts SEC ChampionshipNorth 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.
Senior Day Looms In The Distance Arkansas has just three regular season meets remaining before the SEC Championship in North Little Rock, Ark. The Gym’Back seniors are winding down there careers and the duo of Cassie Drew and Rachel Barnett will be celebrated in Arkansas’ final home meet. Drew and Barnett’s accomplishments will be reviewed following the Arkansas quad meet with Missouri, Southeast Missouri and Texas Woman’s University March 23, in Barnhill Arena. Stick around after the meet and thank these seniors.
Class Records Seeing Some Shake Up Arkansas has had a couple new entries into the class records (see page 49 of the 2007 media guide). Here’s a look at the latest entries. Michelle Stout set both a school and a freshman record for vault with a 9.95. Junior Emily Peacock tied the bars record and set the floor record with a 9.90 this year while junior Samantha Cotrez tied the junior vault record. Senior Cassie Drew tied the vault record for her class as well with a 9.80.
Up NextArkansas returns home for the first of two non-conference quad meets. The Gym’Backs host New Hampshire, Pittsburgh and West Virginia March 9, travel to Arizona State March 16 and celebrate Senior Night March 23 hosting Missouri, Southeast Missouri and Texas Woman’s University in the final home meet of the 2007 season.