RAZORBACKS ARE A PROGRAM-BEST THIRD THIS WEEKThe University of Arkansas gymnastics team moved into a tie for third in this week’s GymInfo Coaches Poll. The ranking is the highest ever for the seven-year-old program and reflects the recent success of three wins and a 5-1 start. The Razorbacks are tied for third overall matching season averages with nine-time and defending national champion Georgia this week. Utah tops this week’s poll with a 196.700 season average. UCLA is second followed by Arkansas and the Bulldogs tied for third. Southeastern Conference foe Auburn is fifth with Stanford, Oklahoma, Florida, Alabama and Oregon State rounding out the top 10. Of that impressive field, the Razorbacks have faced OU, Florida and Bama with wins over all three and finished just behind Oregon State in a tri-meet in Corvallis, Ore., earlier this year. Still on the schedule for Arkansas is No. 31 Kentucky this weekend followed by a trip to No. 5 Auburn. Arkansas hosts No. 3 position-sharing Georgia Feb. 20, and travels to No. 11 LSU as the SEC season winds down. In addition to the overall team ranking, the Razorbacks are ranked No. 1 on the floor exercise this week, also a program first. Arkansas is eighth on vault, sixth on bars and tied for seventh overall on the balance beam.
INDIVIDUALS RANKED AS WELL Junior All-American Casey Jo Magee is the winner of five consecutive all-around titles and is ranked third as an all-arounder this week. Magee is ranked second on the floor, 11th on beam and 12th on bars. Junior All-American Michelle Stout is Arkansas’ top vaulter this year and is No. 13 on the event.
BIG – BUSY – WEEK FOR RAZORBACKSArkansas opened the “week” hosting No. 1 Florida Friday, Jan. 23. The Razorbacks set a school record on the vault and defeated Florida for the first-time in program history. It was also the program’s first win over the top-ranked team in the country. Arkansas departed Sunday for a Monday night meet in Norman, Okla., against the Sooners. The Razorbacks again upset a higher-ranked team and broke a school record scoring a 196.90 en route to the win. Arkansas was supposed to depart for Fayetteville after the meet but crippling ice storms gripped the area and forced Arkansas to remain in Norman overnight. The Razorbacks left Norman around 11 a.m. but poor road conditions forced the team off the road near Henryetta, Okla. Arkansas made do at the Green Country Inn with a truck stop and gas station at the exit. The team hit the road again Wednesday morning to get back to Fayetteville in the late afternoon. Arkansas got right back in the gym hosting Alabama Friday, picking up the first-ever SEC regular season win over the Crimson Tide.
MAGEE GETS IT DONEArkansas junior Casey Jo Magee has won five consecutive all-around titles. She set a school record with a 39.525 against No. 1 Florida, led Arkansas to a win over the top-ranked Gators for the first time in school history, led the Razorbacks to a road win at No. 7 Oklahoma two days after the Florida meet and helped the team to a school record with a 196.90 in Norman. Magee added a 39.425 in a win over Alabama Friday.
MORE ABOUT MAGEEIn the note above, it was mentioned that Casey Jo Magee has won five consecutive all-around titles. She leads the program with nine total all-around titles and has won 29 total titles in two-plus seasons. In addition to the all-around, Magee has won five uneven bar titles, 11 beam titles and four floor titles. How does that compare? Magee’s 29 titles is 11 more than second-place Emily Peacock who had 18, 16 more than teammate Michelle Stout who has 13 and 19 more than the fourth-place athlete Dana McQuillin.
MAGEE EARNS SEC WEEKLY HONORJunior Casey Jo Magee earned Southeastern Conference Gymnast of the Week honors the league office announced Tuesday. The Eugene, Ore., native won her fourth and fifth consecutive all-around titles this week leading tNo. 3 Arkansas (5-1, 2-0 SEC) to a pair of wins at No. 7 Oklahoma Monday and against No. 9 Alabama Friday. The honor is the first for Magee and the sixth weekly league honor in program history. Magee is the winningest all-arounder in program history and is the only gymnast to win more than three consecutive titles. In addition she became the first gymnast to earn a pair of all-around titles in the same week. Magee moved up to third in the nation after a pair of all-around wins over regional and conference opponents. She helped Arkansas move up to a program-high tie for third in the national rankings this week and paced Arkansas to a school-record 196.900 in the win over Oklahoma.
MICHELLE STOUT HAVING GOOD YEARJunior Michelle Stout has had a great start to 2009. The All-American has won a share of five consecutive vault titles with season-bests at No. 9 Oregon State and against No. 1 Florida. In addition, she has finished inside the top seven in all of the other events in every meet. Stout posted a career-best 39.400 as an all-arounder finishing second against No. 1 Florida. She also tied for second at No. 7 Oklahoma and was second against No. 21 Ohio State in the opener.
MICHELLE STOUT PART IIMichelle Stout has won 13 individual titles as a Razorback. She has one all-around title, is the program-leader with 10 vault crowns. She has one bars and one beam title as well.
TV TIMELast week’s meet will be televised by ESPN2 on a tape delay basis. The meet airs Feb. 15, at 5 p.m. on the Deuce. The Razorbacks last home meet was a televised event on CST and the meet against Georgia in February will also air on CST.
ABOUT KENTUCKY (from ukathletics.com)Kentucky enters the weekend with a 1-3 after opening the year with a win over Utah State. Since then, Kentucky has lost three in a row to Alabama, LSU and Florida slipping to No. 31 in the poll. The Wildcats’ best score of the year is a 195.225 against the Tigers.
GETTIN’ PINK WITH THE WILDCATSThe Razorbacks will help the Wildcats celebrate their annual Pink Meet with proceeds from the event benefiting area breast cancer organizations. Fans will get in for $1 if they are wearing pink. All ticket proceeds benefit breast cancer research, education and treatment at the Markey Cancer Center. In addition, they are giving away a free pink mug for the first 300 fans.
THE SERIESArkansas has always competed well against the Wildcats of Kentucky. In fact, Kentucky is the only SEC team that Arkansas has never lost to. The Razorbacks are 11-0-1 with the tie coming in 2003, the first year of Arkansas gymnastics, when the teams tied at the SEC Championship.
A LOOK AT NUMBERS Arkansas Stat Kentucky t3 Team Rank 31 8 Vault 11 6 Bars 27 t7 Beam 44 1 Floor 26 196.900 Team High Score 195.225 1 (SC) Regional Ranking 6 (C) 2 All-Americans 0
THE FIRST TIMEArkansas faces Alabama as the higher-ranked team for the first time in program history. The Crimson Tide has been ranked as high as No. 2 (2-16-07) and as low as No. 12 (3-9-08) but has almost always been ranked higher than Arkansas. The only exception came Feb. 25, 2005, when Alabama was not ranked due to a snafu in the on-line input process.
UP NEXTThe Razorbacks get back into a regular routine as they travel to Kentucky and Auburn on the next two Fridays. Arkansas has never lost to the Wildcats with an 11-0-1 record all-time. Auburn is always tough in their home gym and Arkansas is 7-5 against the Tigers all-time. The Razorbacks are 3-1 in the last four meetings with Auburn finishing ahead of Arkansas at last year’s SEC Championship.