Arkansas hosts second-ranked Georgia The 20th-ranked University of Arkansas gymnastics team opens Southeastern Conference action this week hosting one of the nation’s top program as the No. 2 Georgia Gym Dogs come to Barnhill Arena.
Arkansas versus Georgia The Gym’Backs are 0-9 all-time against one of the toughest teams in all of gymnastics. The Gym’Backs have faced Georgia four times in the regular season, four times at the SEC Championships and once in the post-season at last year’s NCAA Championship.
Last time out Arkansas rebounded with a road win and a solid score at No. 14 Penn State Saturday. The Gym’Backs scored a 194.850 behind good vaulting and bar work winning the double-dual meet (Penn State’s men defeated Army.) It was the first time Arkansas has traveled to PSU, returning to co-head coach Rene Cook’s alma mater.
The first poll of the year Arkansas opened the year ranked 15th in the preseason poll but with two meets under its belt, the Gym’Backs find themselves ranked 20th in the first poll of the regular season. This poll is based on an average of the scores from the first two meets and the Gym’Backs were hurt by a disappointing score in the season opener. Georgia also surrendered its top spot to Florida this week. It is the first time since Jan. 9, 2006, that the Gym Dogs were not the number one team in the poll. The last time it was someone other than Georgia it was Florida. See the complete poll on page two.
Peacock shines for second straight week Junior Emily Peacock paced the University of Arkansas to a non-conference win in the program’s first-ever trip to State College, Pa. Peacock tied for the win on the floor with a 9.875. She scored a 9.675 on beam and had a 9.825 on bars.
Youth dominates lineup Arkansas 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 at Penn State Arkansas had 26 performances – six on each event and two all-arounders. The Gym’Backs had 14 of those performances filled with freshmen and sophomores. Arkansas competed two freshmen and two sophomores on vault, four freshmen on bars, three freshmen 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 and some gymnasts numbers grew again last week at Penn State. Here’s a quick look at some of the win totals.
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 Everyone is cleared for competition at this time.
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.
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 dropping their record to 3-8 in home openers.
Better on the road The Gym’Backs are 5-4 all-time in road openers. The Gym’Backs got number five with a dual meet win at No. 14 Penn State Jan. 13.
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 Arkansas returns to Barnhill Arena hosting defending national champion Georgia Jan. 19 in a meet that will air on COX. The Gym’Backs follow up with back-to-back road meets first at LSU Jan. 26 followed by a trip to Utah facing the Utes, BYU and SUU.