RAZORBACKS MOVE TO NO. 8Arkansas remained in the top 10 for the second consecutive week moving to No. 8 Monday. This week’s poll is calculated by average and the Razorbacks are averaging 195.850 after two meets. Arkansas takes on top-ranked Florida who is averaging 196.50 this week.
TV TIMEThis week’s meet will be televised. The Razorbacks have a tv opportunity as part of Florida’s COX Sports Television package. Although the met is taped Friday, it actually airs Jan. 30, at 7 p.m. Check local listings but this is likely a satellite-only event in our area. DJ Driscoll calls the action along with former Razorback gymnast Kylee Small. Small was a member of the inaugural team at Arkansas.
THE FIRST TIMEFor the first time in program history, Arkansas will host a Friday meet and travel for a Monday meet. The home-and-away weekend is common practice for many teams in the SEC as well as other top teams in the country. Why? Coaches believe it prepares a team to compete in the tough, three-day format of the NCAA Championships at the end of the season.
OREGON STATE RECAPWow, what a meet. It came down to the final gymnast in the final routine but No. 9 Oregon State was able to slip past Arkansas last Friday. Arkansas picked up two event winners, had a season-best team score and posted several season and career-bests.
MAGEE GETS IT DONE – AGAINJunior Casey Jo Magee opened the year winning the all-around title as well as the bars, beam and floor titles – the first time a Razorback gymnasts has won four of the five possible titles. She won her second all-around title at Oregon State with a season-best 39.425.
MAGEE WINS FOR WINSCasey Jo Magee leads the Arkansas program with 21 individual titles during her career (with nearly two full years still to compete). It’s two more than second-place Emily Peacock and double that of Dana McQuillin who had 10 wins.
WHAT’S THE BREAKDOWN?Casey Jo Magee has six all-around titles, three bars titles, 11 beam titles and one floor exercise title. Her lone floor crown came against Ohio State and she has never won the vault title.
STOUT GETS TITLEJunior Michelle Stout also picked up her second win Friday taking top honors on the vault – the event she earned her All-America honor in last year. Stout’s winning 9.90 vault was a season-best.
ABOUT FLORIDAFor the second consecutive year, the No. 1 University of Florida gymnastics team (2-0, 1-0 SEC) needed a big performance on the final event to take the win in its dual meet with No. 4 Auburn (1-2, 0-2 SEC). The Gators needed to hit their floor exercise routines to overcome the 0.175 deficit after the third rotation. Florida’s floor set total of 49.45 – the nation’s highest of this young season – moved the Gators past the Tigers for a 196.50-196.25 win. Four Gators finished among the meet’s top three floor performers, including the event winner Corey Hartung. She matched her collegiate best of 9.95 for the sixth time of her career to win her second consecutive floor title.
THE SERIESArkansas has never defeated the Gators as Florida holds an 18-0 series advantage. Arkansas has faced Florida more than any other SEC team as they are often paired in a regional. The Razorbacks are 0-5 in Fayetteville, 0-3 in Gainesville and 0-10 in neutral gyms.
ABOUT OKLAHOMAThen-ninth-ranked Oklahoma (1-1) posted the highest score in the NCAA this season en route to a 197.175-189.600 victory against Texas Woman’s University (0-1) on Saturday night. The Sooners claimed every team and individual event title of the dual meet in front of a capacity crowd of 1,107. Posting their best team score since Jan. 24, 2004 (197.300), the Sooners now claim the highest score in the NCAA in 2009. With the win, Oklahoma has won 32 of its last 34 regular-season match-ups dating back to Jan. 19, 2007. Oklahoma un-seated the Razorbacks in the top spot in the South Central Regional this week as well.
A GOOD REGIONAL BATTLEThis week, Arkansas and Oklahoma square off in a good regional battle. Razorback Michelle Stout ranks first in the region on vault and Casey Jo Magee is first on bars followed by Sarah Nagashima who is sixth. Oklahoma has gymnasts who are tied for second, fourth and sixth on the beam and the Razorbacks’ top beam performer is Magee who is 10th. OU’s Ashley Jackson ranks first on the floor exercise but Magee is second.
THE SERIESArkansas is 0-4 against the Sooners. The Razorbacks first faced Oklahoma at the 2005 NCAA Regional Championship in Durham, N.H. and the teams met again in 2006 at the NCAA Championships in Corvallis, Ore. The only regular-season meeting came last year in Fayetteville when No. 9 Oklahoma downed No. 11 Arkansas, 196.750-196.624 as the Razorbacks tied the school record for team score. They met again at the NCAA Championship in Athens, Ga.
THE SEC IN THE POLLTalk about tough. The Southeastern Conference is once again the league to beat with all seven of its members ranked in the top 25 to start the year. This week, Florida holds onto the top spot followed by No. 4 Georgia, No. 6 Auburn, No. 8 Arkansas and No. 9 Alabama all in the top 10. LSU is just outside the top 10 at No. 11 and Kentucky rounds out the league teams at No. 35 this year.
ARKANSAS’ SCHEDULE VERSUS THE POLLNearly every team on Arkansas’ 2009 schedule was ranked in the preseason top 25 this year. The schedule includes No. 1 Georgia, No. 3 Florida, No. 6 Alabama, No. 7 LSU, No. 9 Oregon State, No. 10 Oklahoma, No. 15 Auburn, No. 21 Ohio State, No. 22 Minnesota, No. 25 Kentucky and California who is receiving votes. The Razorbacks travel to Texas Woman’s and face TWU as well as Pennsylvania – they are the only two teams not mentioned in the preseason poll.
SPEAKING OF THE SCHEDULEThis year, the Razorbacks face some new challenges with its schedule. Arkansas takes on No. 21 Ohio State, California, Bowling Green and Pennsylvania for the first time in program history. Arkansas also travels to Oklahoma for the first time and it is the first regular-season meeting for the teams. Other interesting twist comes Jan. 23 and 26. The Razorbacks have a home meet with No. 3 Florida on Friday and turn around to travel to No. 10 Oklahoma Monday for a meet. It is common in the SEC for teams to have the quick turn-around but it is a first for the Razorbacks.
TELEVISION SCHEDULE FOR RAZORBACKSOnce again Arkansas will be well-represented on television. CST will carry Arkansas’ meet with Florida and the Alabama meet airs on ESPN2. Arkansas also adds a CST meet as they host the nine-time and defending national champion Georgia.2009 SEC Gymnastics Television ScheduleDATE MEET AIR DATE / (ET)* NETWORK1/16 GEORGIA @ LSU 1/24 @ 7 p.m. FSN1/23 ALABAMA @ GEORGIA 2/8 @ 4 p.m. ESPN21/30 ALABAMA @ ARKANSAS 2/15 @ 6 p.m. ESPN21/30 KENTUCKY @ FLORIDA 2/7 @ 9:30 p.m. FSN2/6 FLORIDA @ LSU 2/14 @ Noon FSN2/27 AUBURN @ ALABAMA 3/6 @ 6:30 p.m. FSN2/28 FLORIDA @ GEORGIA 3/8 @ 11 a.m. ESPN23/21 SEC CHAMPIONSHIP (Sommet Center-Nashville, TN) 3/28 @ 7 p.m. FSN* subject to change* ESPN2 telecasts will be available in 90 million homes across the nation.* FOX Sports telecasts will be available in 28 million homes across the region on FOX Sports Net South, Sun Sports Network and FOX Sports Net Southwest.* SEC-TV airs Thursday nights at 6:30 pm ET / 5:30 pm CT
UP NEXT FOR ARKANSASThe Razorbacks hit the road for the first away meet of 2009 traveling to No. 13 Oregon State for a tri-meet with California who is No. 45. Arkansas returns home Friday, Jan. 23, hosting No. 3 Florida to open Southeastern Conference competition.