2008 GYMNASTICS FACT SHEET #1 – at MichiganArkansas opens season at tri-meet The University of Arkansas Gym’Backs open their sixth season of collegiate competition at a Michigan-hosted tri-meet. The Gym’Backs face Michigan and West Virginia in the opener.
Mark your calendar The Gym’Backs have looked ahead to the Michigan meet since ending the season at Michigan last year. Arkansas finished third at the Michigan-hosted Northeast Regional just behind the Wolverines. Arkansas scored a 195.875 finishing third to Michigan’s 196.050 as the Wolverines earned the trip to the NCAA Championship.
4/14/07 at NCAA North East Regional Championship
|No. 1 Florida||49.425||49.075||49.425||49.400||197.325|
|No. 12 Michigan||49.150||48.925||48.650||49.325||196.050|
|No. 13 Arkansas||49.300||48.700||49.275||48.600||195.875|
|No. 43 UNH||48.525||47.450||48.775||48.175||192.925|
|No. 41 Pittsburgh||48.475||48.125||47.325||48.625||192.550|
|No. 53 Rutgers||48.100||46.575||47.800||48.400||190.875|
Gym’Backs live on the web All of the 2008 home meets will be streamed live at LADYBACKS.COM. Click on “All Access” and sign up today. Non-subscribers can view live scores on the web as well.
Seniors look to lead Arkansas has two seniors on the roster this year in Samantha Cortez and Emily Peacock. The Gym’Backs are a bit light at the top with just three upperclassmen with lone junior Alexandra LaChance returning for her third season.
Back-to-back-to-back-to-back Arkansas’ 2008 schedule works in twos. The Gym’Backs open the home season with back-to-back meets in LSU and Penn State. Then Arkansas has two on the road, followed by two at home, then two road and two more home to wrap up the regular season.
TV loves the Gym’Backs Arkansas again has a great television lineup for the 2008 season. The Gym’Backs’ road meet at Florida will be televised on a tape delay basis by SUN Sports. Arkansas’ meet at Alabama is the Crimson Tide’s Pink Out and will air on ESPPN 2. The meet at defending national champion Georgia has been picked up by FSN as well. In addition, Arkansas’ home meets will air in the Natural State – stay tuned as more information becomes available.
Arkansas finishes 15th The Gym’Backs finished 2007 ranked 15th in the country. The final event rankings, which are tallied just prior to the NCAA Ch ampionship, had the Gym’Backs ranked tied for 16th on vault, 16th on bars, 10th on beam and 13th on the floor.
The preseason poll – the best ever In the preseason poll, Arkansas checks in at No. 14 to begin the season. The poll ranks the top 25 with several others who receive votes. Arkansas begins the year ranked No. 14 for the first time in program history and that is the highest the Gym’Backs have been ranked in the preseason poll. Arkansas was ranked No. 15 to begin the 2007 season. Arkansas was not ranked in the preseason poll in the program’s inaugural year in 2003. The Gym’Backs received votes in 2004, were No. 24 in 2005, No. 20 in 2006 and No. 15 in 2007. See the complete poll as well as the final 2007 poll on the next page.
The SEC is strong — Again The Southeastern Conference is the strongest league for women’s gymnastics. Last year, the SEC sent four of its seven members to the NCAA Championships. All seven earned trips to the NCAA Regional Championships. Georgia emerged as the National Champion for the third consecutive year with Florida third, LSU seventh and Alabama ninth in the final meet. Meanwhile, Arkansas finished the year ranked 15th, followed by No. 23 Kentucky and No. 24 Auburn. That success and respect continues again in 2008 as evidenced by the preseason poll. The SEC holds the top two spots with No. 1 Georgia and No. 2 Florida on top. Alabama checks in as a preseason No. 6 followed by No. 10 LSU, No. 14 Arkansas, No. 19 Auburn and No. 24 Kentucky.
Don’t overlook the Non-Conference Schedule In addition to the tough SEC slate, Arkansas faces a challenging non-conference schedule as well. Arkansas opens the year at No. 9 Michigan facing both the Wolverines and No. 22 West Virginia. The Gym’Backs host back-to-back home meets with No. 10 LSU and No. 13 Penn State, followed by trips to No. 2 Florida and No. 6 Alabama. Arkansas next hosts No. 24 Kentucky and No. 19 Auburn, followed by trips to No. 1 Georgia and No. 4 UCLA where they also meet No. 6 Alabama and CS-Fullerton who is receiving votes. Arkansas wraps up the regular season hosting No. 8 Oklahoma and No. 21 Michigan State.
Fans still supporting Gym’Backs For the fifth consecutive year since adding gymnastics, Arkansas has ranked in the top 15 in the country for attendance. The 2007 season saw the Gym’Backs rank 12th with a 2317.67 per meet average. Arkansas finished the season ranked fourth in 2003 and 2004. The Gym’Backs were sixth in 2005 and 11th in 2006. See the box in the right column for the top 15.
Young team in 2008 Arkansas fields a young team for the 2008 season. Two seniors and one junior return to lead the Gym’Backs. Seniors Samantha Cortez and Emily Peacock and junior Alexandra LaChance will be expected to carry a heavy load for the Gym’Backs.
Sophomore class key to the 2008 success Arkansas will rely heavily on the sophomore class as well. The second-year collegiate gymnasts will carry most of the routines and their scores will significantly impact the team’s success. Returning NCAA participant Casey Jo Magee will likely see much time as an all-arounder again this year with expanded roles for the rest of the class.
Thin at the freshman position Arkansas has three freshman on this year’s team. The newcomers are Stacy Bartlett, Molly Lewis and Kathryn Maschino. Lewis recently had shoulder surgery and will not be ready for the opener. She is currently the only Gym’Back on injured reserves.
About Michigan The University of Michigan women’s gymnastics team was picked No. 9 in the GymInfo Preseason Coaches Poll, earning one first-place vote Monday (Dec. 17). The Wolverines finished in a tie for 11th place in the nation in 2007 after they advanced to the program’s 15th straight NCAA Championships. Michigan is paced by a veteran squad with seven juniors and seniors including fifth-year senior Lindsey Bruck who’s 2007 season was cut short due to injury.
About West Virginia The No. 22 West Virginia University gymnastics team opened the 2008 season scoring 192.125 points to place third in the evening collegiate session of the fifth annual Cancun Classic at the Hilton Golf and Beach Resort in Cancun, Mexico Friday night. West Virginia also has seven juniors (2) and seniors (5) on their roster.
Yes, It’s a tri-meet Obviously, with three teams scheduled to compete this is a tri-meet. Arkansas opens the meet on floor, moving to vault, bars and finishing on beam. That is the same rotation the Gym’Backs drew for the 2007 NCAA Regional meet at Michigan last season.
More multiples on the schedule The Gym’Backs will compete in a quad meet March 9 when they travel to UCLA. Arkansas faces the host Bruins along with SEC rival Alabama and meets Cal State Fullerton for the first time. The Michigan and UCLA meets are the only regular season multiple-team meets for the Gym’Backs this season. All six of Arkansas’ home meets are dual meets this year.
Did you know? Did you know that Arkansas’ Director of Gymnastics Operations was a Michigan gymnast? That’s right. Lauren Mirkovich helped the Wolverines to four Big Ten titles while competing at Michigan.
Did you know part 2? Did you know that Arkansas assistant coach Dave Kuzara is a former assistat at West Virginia? Kuzara is also a Michigan graduate and worked with the Wolverine program as well.
The 2008 SEC Championship returns to Georgia The state of Georgia is going to be busy this year. The SEC Championship returns to the Gwinett Center in Duluth for the third time since 2003. In addition, the University of Georgia will host the 2008 NCAA Championship behind the three-time defending national champion Georgia Gym Dogs.
2009 is approaching Yes, the 2008 season is just starting but the Gym’Backs can look forward to 2009 as well. Arkansas has been selected to host the 2009 NCAA South Central Regional Championship April 4, in Barnhill Arena. It is the second NCAA Regional Arkansas has hosted. The Gym’Backs also hosted the 2006 South Central Regional upsetting UCLA to finish second overall and advance to the program’s first NCAA Championship.