No. 15 Arkansas opens with tough home meet The 15th-ranked University of Arkansas gymnastics team opens with a tough home meet to start the 2007 season welcoming the Super Six Challenge Jan. 5. The meet features No. 3 Florida, No. 7 Nebraska, No. 9 LSU, No. 14 Penn State, No. 15 Arkansas and No. 17 Denver in the six-team event.
About the Super Six This is the eighth season for the Super Six Challenge, one of the premier meets of the collegiate gymnastics regular season. Former Southeastern Conference Commissioner Roy Kramer initiated the Super Six Challenge because he wanted to create a showcase event for the league’s gymnastics programs. Florida (6) , Georgia (6) and Alabama (7) have made the most appearances at the Six Challenge and have each played host to the event twice – Georgia (2000, ‘03), Alabama (2001, ‘04), Florida (2002, ‘05). This is the fifth appearance in the event for Penn State. Alabama (2000, ‘04, ‘06) has won three times and Georgia (2002, ‘03) twice while the two powerhouses shared the 2001 crown. Florida turned in its best Super Six Challenge finish of second in 2004 and Penn State’s top finish of fifth came in 2003.
2007 Super Six competition order
Can I get some TV with that? Sure ya can. The meet will be televised by ESPN2 on a tape-delay basis. The meet airs Jan. 14 at 3:30 p.m. Eastern/2:30 p.m. Central on “The Deuce”.
More TV please No 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.
Returning Record-Holders Arkansas returns record-holders on three of the five events as the 2007 season begins. Samantha Cortez and Mallory Machnik return tied for the Arkansas vaulting records with 9.90. Junior Emily Peacock returns as the uneven bars record-holder with a 9.950 and senior Rachel Barnett returns as the floor exercise record-holder with a 9.950.
Machnik out for season Junior Mallory Machnik is likely out for the season. She is seeking a medical redshirt due to a recurring injury.
Healed! Sophomore Alexandra LaChance is healed. LaChance suffered a broken leg at the mid-point of the 2006 season. She missed much of the year but made a vaulting return at the NCAA Championship and is cleared for this season. Senior Cassie Drew is also back in the lineup. Drew had an ankle injury that kept her out of the lineup at the NCAA Championship but is ready to go in 2007. Sophomore Breanne Guy recently suffered a lower leg injury and is currently recovering in a walking boot. She is considered day-to-day.
Big Meets Bookend the Schedule Arkansas opens and closes the 2007 season with two of the biggest “home” meets in school history. The Gym’Backs lead off with the Super Six Challenge with six of the nation’s toughest teams in a meet televised by ESPN2. Arkansas closes the regular season at the SEC Championship hosted by ALLTEL Arena in nearby North Little Rock, Ark.
2007 opponents fared well in 2006 Fifteen of Arkansas’ 22 regular season opponents advanced to the NCAA Regional Championship a year ago. Six of those reached the NCAA Championship including four SEC opponents.
The first time we meet Arkansas makes the program’s first trip to Utah this year facing the Utes, BYU and Southern Utah University. The Gym’Backs also make their first trip to State College, Pa., facing Penn State in mid-January.
Strong schedule is an understatement Fourteen of Arkansas’ 22 regular-season opponents are ranked in the preseason top 25 poll.
You’re new here aren’t you? Arkansas faces Brigham Young and Southern Utah University Feb. 2 at a quad meet hosted by Utah. They are the only teams on this year’s schedule that Arkansas has never faced in the history of the program.
Frequent flyer miles add up Arkansas competes in seven different states this year. The Gym’Backs have competed in 17 different states including Arkansas prior to this year. They add Utah and Pennsylvania to the list this season.
Gym’Backs open ranked 15th The 2007 Gym’Backs open the year ranked 15th in the preseason coaches poll. Arkansas finished the year ranked 12th by virtue of a 12th place finish at the 2006 NCAA Championship. The Gym’Backs graduated five seniors (the program’s first senior class) and jump into 2007 ranked 15th to start the year.
More about rankings Arkansas has ranked among the nation’s top teams for attendance in each of its first four seasons. Last year, the Gym’Backs finished 11th in the nation for average attendance. Here’s a look at the top 10.
Individuals in last year’s ranking The final regular season individual rankings were posted March 27, the week before regionals. Arkansas was well-represented in those final rankings. Samantha Cortez and Cassie Drew were ranked on vault with Cortez 50th with a 9.804 average and Drew 92nd with a 9.779 average. Emily Peacock checked in tied for 22nd on bars with a 9.787 average while former Gym’Back Melissa Leigh was tied for 53rd. Drew was tied for 99th on beam with a 9.550 average while Peacock was tied for 51st on floor with a 9.755 average. Rachel Barnett was tied for 59th on floor with a 9.748 average. Finally, Drew was tied for 53 as an all-arounder with a 38.697 average and former Gym’Back Dana McQuillin was 58th.
About the Super Six Teams
Arkansas – 12-27…Sixth in SEC…Second at South Central Regional…Twelfth at NCAAs…Seven letterwinners returning…Five letterwinners lost.
Florida – 20-4…Third in SEC…First at South Central Regional…Fourth at NCAAs…Ten letterwinners returning…Two letterwinners lost.
LSU – 19-16…Fourth in SEC…Second in Central Regional…Eighth at NCAAs…Seven letterwinners returning…Six letterwinners lost.
Denver – 20-8…Fourth at Regionals…Twelve letterwinners returning…Two letterwinners lost.
Nebraska – 3-3-1…Second in the Big 12…Second at Regionals…Fifth at NCAAs…Ten letterwinners returning…None lost.
Penn State – 10-5…Third in Big 10…Third at Regionals…Eight letterwinners returning…Four letterwinners lost.
Up Next The Gym’Backs are just getting started and face a long and challenging season. Arkansas hits the road for the first away meet traveling to University Park, Pa., taking on Penn State in consecutive meets. Arkansas returns to Barnhill Arena hosting defending national champion Georgia Jan. 19 in a meet that will air on COX.