No. 12 Gym’Backs travel to Tempe The 12th-ranked University of Arkansas Gym’Backs travel to Tempe, Ariz., taking on No. 23 Arizona State University Friday in dual meet action. This is Arkansas’ first trip to Tempe and the first time these teams have met in a dual or during the regular season.
Recapping the Quad Arkansas had a solid showing in a home quad last Friday, scoring a 196.250 and defeating New Hampshire, Pittsburgh and West Virginia. Arkansas posted a season-best 49.175 on bars while several individuals scored season highs. Rachel Barnett tallied a season-high 9.9 on floor, Amy DeFilippo had a 9.850 on bars, Casey Jo Magee had a 9.850 on vault, Sarah Nagashima scored a 9.825 to tie her season/career-best, Emily Peacock had a 9.90 on bars and Michelle Stout had a 9.80 on bars also season bests.
Arkansas moves down 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 last 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. Arkansas was equally as good in the quad scoring a 196.250 but fell one spot to 12th this week when Michigan jumped over the Gym’Backs scoring a season-best 196.500 last week.
Individuals in the polls Arkansas has one individual ranked in the top 25 again this week. Casey Jo Magee is tied for 19th on the balance beam with a 9.855 RQS, a 9.827 average and a 9.90 high score.
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 one regular season home meet remaining. Arkansas is 19-25 all-time at home but the Gym’Backs gain the advantage with a 15-10 non-conference home record. Arkansas is 3-3 against non-SEC teams in Barnhill this year and 0-5 against league teams (3-8 total).
Quad meets have been good The Gym’Backs are 14-4 all-time in quad meets throughout the five years of the program. Arkansas is 10-2 in home quads and 4-2 in road four-team meets.
About Arizona State The Sun Devils have a 2-6 overall record this year but like Arkansas, compete in a very tough conference for gymnastics. Don’t let the win-loss record fool you though, ASU is a tough competitor ranked 23rd in the country this week. Their wins have come at home against Washington and California with a season-best 196.525 against the Huskies. Sophomore Nicole Harris comes back to the Sun Devil squad as the lone returning All-American. Last season Harris capped her stellar season by gathering second team All-American status on beam after scoring a 9.875 at the NCAA Championships in Corvallis, Ore.
Series Records Arkansas is 0-1 all-time against Arizona State. The teams met last year at the NCAA Championship in Corvalis, Ore., where the Sun Devils out-scored Arkansas 195.500-194.375.
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 with 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. In addition, Arkansas’ 2007 road record is 5-2 this year with wins at Penn State, at Kentucky, at Auburn and against BYU and SUU. The losses are to LSU and Utah.
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 but there was a bit of a shake up on the top this week. Georgia vaulted over Florida this week for the top spot after scoring a 198.00 – the nation’s top score this year. Florida is second and the two teams are separated by 0.01 in the RQS this week. Alabama jumped from fourth to third, while LSU is No. 8. Arkansas checks at No. 12 followed by No. 13 Auburn and Kentucky who is tied for 29th overall.
Arkansas Third 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 13 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.
2007 Opponents Doing Well In 2007 All of Arkansas’ 2007 opponents are ranked in the top 50 this week. Georgia took over the top spot stealing it from Florida this week. The Gators are second followed by No. 3 Alabama, No. 5 Nebraska, No. 7 Utah, No. 8 LSU, No. 13 Auburn, No. 16 Penn State, No. 17 Denver, No. 18 Missouri, No. 21 West Virginia, No. 22 BYU, No. 23 Arizona state, No. 29 Kentucky, No. 31 Utah State, No. No. 34 SUU, No. 37 UMH, No. 38 Pittsburgh, No. 29 SEMO and No. 50 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 two 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 Next The Gym’Backs 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.