No. 11 Gym’Backs travel to the SEC Championship The 11th-ranked University of Arkansas Gym’Backs travel to the 2007 Southeastern Conference Championship this week in North Little Rock’s ALLTEL Arena. This is Arkansas’ fifth appearance at the SEC meet and the first time the meet has been held in Arkansas.
The Schedule Arkansas departs Fayetteville around 6:00 p.m. Thursday traveling to Little Rock. The Gym’Back coaches have a coaches meeting Friday at 11:30 followed by a media luncheon and competition draw. During the lunch, one athlete from each team will draw for her team’s starting event. Arkansas then practices in ALLTEL beginning at 1:00 p.m. The Gym’Backs share the practice session with Georgia, Auburn and Florida with Arkansas warming up first on bars (then beam, floor and finally vault). There is a second practice session beginning at 3:30 for LSU, Kentucky and Alabama.
The Meet The meet is scheduled for a Saturday, March 31, 6:00 p.m. start. This marks the 27th year that the SEC will crown a team champion in gymnastics. Georgia, the 2006 NCAA Champions, will look to defend their SEC title and take home their seventh SEC crown in the last eight years, while Alabama will be aiming at winning their sixth conference title. Florida, who finished third last season, will also vie for the SEC Championship, as will Auburn, Arkansas, LSU and Kentucky. The meet will be televised by FSN and is scheduled to air April 7 at 6:00 p.m. Central. Live stats are available on-line at SECSports.com.
What’s that? The SEC Championship will be held on a podium for the second consecutive season. That means competition apparatus is elevated on platforms to better showcase each event. It gives fans a much better view of the event and allows gymnasts to truly be in the spotlight. The National Championship is typically held on podium when space permits. The SEC is the first conference to use a podium for it’s league meet.The meet schedule3:26-3:41 p.m. Open stretch – No Equipment
5:55 p.m. March In — 6:00 p.m. National Anthem — 6:05 p.m. Competition Begins
How good is the SEC? Unbelievable. This week the SEC again dominates the national standings and holds the top four spots while all seven teams are in the top 26. Florida is ranked No. 1, followed by No. 2 Georgia, No. 3 Alabama, No. 4 LSU, No. 11 Arkansas, No. 17 Auburn and No. 26 Kentucky this week. Here’s a look at each school and where they rank on each apparatus.R
ecapping Arkansas Quad The Gym’Backs posted a season-best 196.450 in the final home meet of the year. That mark ranks tied for second all time. Arkansas won its fifth meet in a row downing No. 18 Missouri, No. 36 SEMO and No. 51 Texas Woman’s University in the final home meet of the 2007 season. The Gym’Backs scored a season-high 196.450. Seniors Cassie Drew and Rachel Barnett concluded their home careers with Drew finishing second on the beam tying her career-best with a 9.90. Barnett tied for the win on the floor with a season-best tying 9.90 as well. Drew just missed her career-best scoring a 39.300 for second in the all-around.
Arkansas moves up in the poll The Gym’Backs had a very successful meet again last week and were rewarded by moving up a spot to No. 11 in this week’s poll. The race is tight with Michigan and Penn State nipping at the Gym’Backs. Arkansas ranks 15th on vault, 14 on bars, sixth on beam and 12th on the floor this week as well.Individuals in the polls Arkansas has one individual ranked in the top 25 again this week. Casey Jo Magee is tied for 16th on the balance beam with a 9.870 RQS, a 9.840 average and a 9.950 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.
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 6-2 this year with wins at Penn State, at Kentucky, at Auburn, at Arizona State and against BYU and SUU. The losses are to LSU and Utah. The SEC Championship counts as a road score for the Gym’Backs and will effect the poll and therefore seeding for the NCAA Regionals coming up.
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.
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 in the home quad, 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 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. With an individual win on the bars in the Arkansas quad, junior Emily Peacock has 14 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.
The SEC Championship meet will be televised by FSN and is scheduled to air April 7 at 6:00 p.m. Please check your local listings.
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.
Up Next The Gym’Backs travel down the road to ALLTEL Arena for the 2007 SEC Championship (see note above).
About NCAA Regional selectionRegional competition consisting of six teams, five all-around competitors (who are not on a qualifying team) and one individual specialist per event [who has a minimum regional qualifying score (RQS) of 9.4] will be conducted in each of six regions to determine the participants in the national championships. The top two teams and the top two all-around competitors (who are not on an advancing team) from each regional will receive an automatic berth to the national championships. In addition, the event winners at the regional championships advance to the national championships (in that event only) if they are not part of a qualifying team or the all-around qualifiers. Effective with the 2007 championships, in years when there are not a sufficient number of all-around competitors qualifying for the regional championships, the allocated slots shall be filled with individual event specialists with the next highest score and who have achieved the minimum RQS of 9.4. Gymnastics Committee will seed 18 teams; however, circumstances may require departure from these guidelines.The recognized format for 18 seeded teams is as follows:
1. Teams will be seeded 1-18 on a national basis, based on RQS.2. Each of the six regional sites will consist of three seeded teams (i.e., 18 seeds).3. Because of pre-selected regional hosts, the following guidelines will be used to place seeded teams into regional sites:a. Pair according to the recognized 18-seeded format.b. Identify region hosts.c. All host teams stay home to compete, regardless of seed.d. If two or three host teams are paired, the lowest-seeded host in the group will be exchanged with a non-host that holds a spot not greater or less than two seeded positions (and preferably one position), when possible.e. When teams are paired or when a seeded pairing does not have a seeded host, every effort will be made to maintain geographic proximity for the higher-seeded team, while at the same time trying to avoid, when possible, pairing all in-region seeded teams and pairing conference rematches of the seeded teams.4. Three non-seeded teams (to complete a six-team regional) will be selected by RQS from within the host region and stay within their home region to compete.
Upcoming NCAA Regional Information
Selection Information — Monday, April 2, 2 p.m. ET Central Regional April 14 — Coleman Coliseum — Tuscaloosa, Ala.Host: University of Alabama North Central Regional April 14, — Magness Arena — Denver, Colo.Host: University of Denver Northeast Regional April 14 — Crisler Arena — Ann Arbor, Mich.Host: University of Michigan South Central Regional April 14 — McKale Memorial Center — Tucson, Ariz.Host: University of Arizona Southeast Regional April 14 — West Virginia Univ. Col. — Morgantown, W.V.Host:West Virginia UniversityWest Regional April 14 — Haas Pavilion — Berkeley, Calif.Host: University of California, BerkeleyChampionships April 26 to 28, — Jon M. Huntsman Center — Salt Lake City, UtahHost: University of Utah