About ArkansasThe University of Arkansas recorded its second-best team total of the year with a 195.575 against No. 32 Missouri in Barnhill Arena Sunday. Arkansas has a quick turn around hosting the final home meet of 2005 welcoming No. 2 Nebraska, No. 5 UCLA and No. 11 Oregon State on Saturday at 7:00 p.m.
First Quad of the YearArkansas hosted a pair of quad meets last year and has competed in one tri-meet (at Washington) this season. This is the first multiple-team event the Gym’Backs have hosted in 2005.
I Like The FormatArkansas likes the multiple-team format. In 2003, the Gym’Backs were 5-1 in quad meets with both occuring on the road. Last year, Arkansas was a perfect 6-0 in quads, both at home.
Speaking of FormatThe teams for this week’s quad will rotate in Olympic order. Arkansas starts on vault, UCLA on bars, Nebraska on beam and Oregon State on floor. Here’s the rotation order:
Time Keeps on TickingArkansas’ 2005 season is winding down but the Gym’Backs have big meets remaining on the short schedule. Arkansas hosts a top-notch quad meet with Nebraska, Oregon State and UCLA this weekend, followed by a trip to the Southeastern Conference Championship March 26 in Duluth, Ga. Arkansas will most likely receive a bid to the NCAA Regional competition and hopes to earn a spot in the NCAA Super Six hosted by Auburn April 21-23.
About the SEC ChampionshipArkansas makes its third trip in three seasons to the seven-team SEC Championship in Duluth, Ga., next week. Arkansas finished tied for sixth in 2003 and was sixth last year. This year the Gym’Backs hope to improve on their final standings and return their first all-SEC selection in Melissa Leigh on bars.
About NebraskaThe No. 2 Nebraska women’s gymnastics team posted a season-high 197.10 to avenge a February loss to No. 10 Iowa State, earning a win over the Cyclones (196.275) on Sunday in front of 2,547 fans at the Bob Devaney Sports Center. The Huskers improved to 9-4 on the season, scoring a 49.0 or better on all four events to extend NU’s home unbeaten streak in the Devaney Center to 57 regular-season competitions. In addition to outscoring the Cyclones on every event, Nebraska swept all five individual event titles and set or tied 13 season- or career-high marks. Despite Nebraska’s success, the Huskers fell one spot to No. 3 in this week’s poll after a season-best meet by Utah.
Arkansas versus NebraskaThis is the first meeting between the Gym’Backs and Huskers.
About UCLAThe Bruins come to Fayetteville with this week’s Pacific-10 Conference Gymnast of the Week in Kristen Maloney. This is Maloney’s third honor of the season. Maloney made history this weekend, becoming the first UCLA gymnast ever to score a perfect 10 on all four events during her career. She scored a perfect 10 on bars, the first of her career on that event, in UCLA’s 197.85-196.65 win over then-No.6 Florida. She had previously earned perfect 10s on vault in 2004 and on beam and floor in 2001. The Bruins, ranked fifth this week, scored a season-best 197.85 defeating Florida last week improving to 11-3 overall.
Arkansas versus UCLAArkansas is 0-1 against the Bruins falling to UCLA in Los Angeles in 2003.
About Oregon StateOregon State (13-3) returns to action Saturday after a week away from competition. All four teams are jockeying for position for the NCAA Regionals which take place early next month. Nebraska will host the South Central Region, but the other three teams will travel for regionals and are seeking favorable match-ups. Oregon State has a very short history with the Razorbacks. Earlier this season, the Beavers faced Arkansas for the first time in history upsetting the LadyBacks on the final rotation in a triangular meet at Washington.
Arkansas versus Oregon StateArkansas is 0-1 against OSU. The Gym’Backs were second to the Beavers earlier this year in a tri-meet at Washington. OSU outscored Arkansas 195.975-195.550 in Seattle.
Bright Spot In DenverJunior Dana McQuillin won her first all-around title of the 2005 season at No. 12 Denver Saturday. The West Orange, N.J., native scored a 38.950 and won the bars title with a 9.775 in the Rocky Mountain state.
All-AroundersThe Gym’Backs have steadily had a pair of athletes compete for the all-around title this year in junior Dana McQuillin and freshman Samantha Cortez. McQuillin won her first all-around title of the year last week. Cortez has competed for the all-around title in all but three meets (Washington tri-meet, Denver and Missouri) this year. Cassie Drew competed for her first all-around title of the season against Missouri.
If You Build It…They have been coming. Gym’Back fans stepped up with the largest attendance this year with 4,617 fans through the turnstiles. Arkansas has ranked fourth in the nation in the previous two seasons for attendance but numbers have been down this year due to inclement weather on meet nights.
Tough Schedule For ArkansasArkansas took on one of the countries top schedules this year facing five teams who reached the NCAA Championships and 12 of the 14 opponents participated in an NCAA Regional last season.
What About This Year?Last year’s success is great but how are those opponents doing this year? Glad you asked. This week, LSU, who finishing first at the 2004 Central Regional and forth in Session 2 at the Championships, is ranked second in the country. Nebraska, a team Arkansas hosts in three weeks, jumped to No. 1 followed by No. 4 UCLA, whom the Gym’Backs also host at the Quad meet. SEC foes Florida, Alabama and Georgia are ranked sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively, Oregon State is No. 11 while this week’s opponent, Denver, is No. 12. Kentucky sailed ahead to No. 16, followed by No. 19 Minnesota and No. 20 Auburn. Washington checks in at No. 22 and rounds out the list of ranked opponents for the Gym’Backs.
McQuillin Has Season BestJunior Dana McQuillin recorded a season best 39.100 in the all-around competition against No. 4 Florida finishing tied for third overall. She tied three season bests including a 9.750 on bars, a 9.850 on beam and a 9.80 on floor. She captured her first all-around title of the year at No. 12 Denver March 5.
Vaulting Into The LeadArkansas enjoyed a season-best and tied the program-best on the vault against No. 4 Florida. The Gym’Backs posted a 49.075 on the event and scored 49.00 or better on three of the four events.
9.90s Come In GroupsArkansas posted a pair of 9.90s, both on the vault, against the Gators. Freshmen Samantha Cortez and Mallory Machnik each reached that score becoming the second and third athletes of the year to post that mark. Junior Katie Hardman recorded a 9.90 on beam at No. 4 LSU earlier this year.
Multi-MediaArkansas gymnastics goes multimedia this season when the Gym’Backs offer their meets online. Three of the five home meets will be available pay-per-view on LADYBACKS.COM while two events will air free of charge. Both the Missouri meet and the Quad are online with the Missouri event airing free and the quad as a pay-per-view event. In addition Arkansas is packaging athlete routines and will display some of that video on each athlete’s bio page in the weeks to come.
The Friendly ConfinesArkansas began the season with three consecutive road meets and five of the first six meets were away from home. But the Gym’Backs wrap up the season with four of their final five at home. Arkansas was 8-6 in Barnhill Arena in the first two seasons of action and is 0-4 this year for an 8-10 all-time mark.
This Week In The PollArkansas moved up to No. 14. The Gym’Backs spent two weeks at No. 11 and have fluttered between No. 11 and No. 15 much of the season. Back-to-back low scores against Alabama and Denver saw Arkansas tumble a couple spots recently but a solid mark against Missouri moves the Gym’Backs up one spot.
About The PollArkansas has been in and out of the poll in various spots the first two seasons finishing last year ranked 20th overall. The Gym’Backs entered 2005 ranked 24th in the preseason poll and have climbed as high as No. 11 this year.
More About The PollUnlike other collegiate athletic rankings, collegiate gymnastic rankings are not based on wins and losses or votes. Gymnastic teams are ranked by their meet scores alone. Teams are ranked by their highest score from Jan. 10-17. From Jan. 24-Feb. 14, teams will be ranked by their season average. Starting Feb. 21, teams and gymnasts will be ranked by a Regional Qualifying Score (RQS). An RQS is based on a team’s top six regular-season scores, with three scores coming from away meets. To obtain the RQS, the team’s or gymnast’s highest score is dropped and the remaining five scores are averaged.
Holding On In The South Central RegionArkansas ranks third this week in the South Central Region poll. The Gym’Backs trail both Nebraska and Oklahoma but are just ahead of Arizona and Arizona State.
|11||Texas Woman’s Univ.||192.025||SC||191.032||195.950|