Arkansas travels to No. 14 Penn State The 15th-ranked University of Arkansas gymnastics team continues the 2007 season with the teams first road trip of the year traveling to No. 14 Penn State Saturday for a double-dual meet with the PSU men’s team. A double-dual? That’s right. The meet will run like a quad meet but two men’s teams (PSU and their opponent) will compete at the same time.
Arkansas versus Penn State The Gym’Backs are now 0-2 against the Nittany Lions in the all-time series history. Arkansas dropped a dual meet to Penn State last year in Barnhill Arena falling 194.650-194.575 in a nip-and-tuck contest. The Gym’Backs finished behind Penn State last week at the Super Six Challenge in Fayetteville.
Last time out Arkansas struggled in their 2007 opener finishing sixth at the Super Six Challenge. Arkansas scored a 192.800 – the second lowest score in school history.
Penn State part two Arkansas takes on Penn State for the second time in as many weeks. Penn State was third at the Super Six in Fayetteville last week.
Peacock shines in opener Junior Emily Peacock was a bright spot in the Arkansas lineup in the opener at the Super Six Challenge. Peacock opened with a 9.875 on bars and had a 9.675 on beam. She finished with a 9.625 on the floor for the Gym’Backs.
Freshman goes all-around Freshman Casey Jo Magee was one of two all-arounders for Arkansas in the opener. Magee, along with senior Cassie Drew, was solid in her first collegiate meet. Magee posted a 9.675 on vaults, a 9.825 on bars, a 9.80 on beam and a 9.350 on the floor.
Can I get some TV with that? Sure ya can. The Super Six Challenge 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.
Injury Update Sophomore Breanne Guy recently suffered a lower leg injury and is currently recovering in a walking boot. She is considered day-to-day. Freshman Amy DeFilippo competed in the first two rotations at the Super Six but tweaked her ankle during the vault warm-up. She is listed as day-to-day. Freshman Sarah Nagashima had a pre-existing injury and is cleared for competition. She is currently working her way into the lineup.
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.
Arkansas in openers The Lady Razorbacks were 3-3 in home peners prior to the 2007 season. Arkansas finished 0-5 at the Super Six Challenge last week dropping their record to 3-8 in home openers.
Better on the road The Gym’Backs are 4-4 all-time in road openers. Arkansas has a chance to improve on that mark and avenge last week’s set-back to Penn State with a road meet at the Nittany Lions this Saturday.
Even in SEC openers Arkansas is an even 2-2 in Southeastern Conference openers. The Gym’Backs have downed Kentucky twice as the conference opener. The losses came at the hands of Florida and Georgia. This year, Arkansas opens SEC competition with defending national champion Georgia.
ALLTEL Arena hosts SEC Championship North 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 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.