GYM’BACKS HOME FOR THREE IN A ROWThe University of Arkansas gymnastics team is in Fayetteville hosting three meets in a row. Arkansas hosted No. 19 Kentucky and welcomes No. 13 Auburn and No. 30 Washington in back-to-back Friday meets with the Huskies coming to town on a Sunday.
ABOUT LAST WEEKThe Gym’Backs recorded a season-best 196.350 narrowly edging higher-ranked Kentucky, 196.250, in Southeastern Conference action. Arkansas posted 14 individual season-bests and tied three others. In addition, the Gym’Backs had season-highs on three of the four events in the win.
PEACOCK POSTS RECORDSophomore Emily Peacock set a school record with a 9.95 on the bars against No. 18 Kentucky Friday. The San Antonio, Texas, native’s mark was just better than senior Melissa Leigh’s 9.925 – a mark Leigh set twice. Peacock had tied the 9.925 record last year, breaking the mark last week.
TEAM TOTAL IS HIGHArkansas’ team score of 196.350 is the best mark of the season and the fifth-best team score in school history. The vault mark of 49.000 was the second highest mark of the year (49.025 at the Florida Quad) and ties for the fourth best vault total in program history.All of Arkansas’ other event totals were season bests. The 49.20 on bars ties for third all-time while the floor mark of 49.175 ranks eighth all time.
SEASON-BESTS ABOUNDArkansas set or tied 17 individual season bests in the meet with Kentucky. On the vault, Mallory Machnik (9.825) and Dana McQuillin (9.775) recorded season bests while Breanne Guy (9.75) and Audra Loveless (9.80) tied their bets. Five of the six Gym’Backs set season highs on the bars headlined by the school record from Emily Peacock (9.95). Also recording season bests were McQuillin (9.750), Katie Hardman (9.825), Samantha Cortez (9.775), and Melissa Leigh (9.90).The beam saw a pair of season highs from Machnik (9.85) and Hardman (9.875) while Cassie Drew (9.8) tied hers. Drew (9.825), McQuillin (9.750), Hardman (9.8), Rachel Barnett (9.875) and Peacock (9.875) all recorded season-bests on the floor.
THE WIN AGAINST THE WILDCATSArkansas got its first win at home this year against Kentucky, 196-350-196.250, in a meet that came down to the wire. The Gym’Backs had a slight edge, 147.175-146.90, heading into the final rotation and got a season-high 49.175 on the floor to win. Kentucky scored a 49.350 in their final event (the beam) and was just short of the win.
MORE ABOUT THE WINThe victory over the Wildcats is the sixth in seven meetings between the teams. Arkansas defeated Kentucky in the first meeting in 2003, and tied the Wildcats at the SEC Championship that same season (Arkansas’ inaugural year of gymnastics). The Gym’Backs have won each of the next five meetings.
WIN/LOSS DOESN’T MATTER, BUT…Although a gymnastics teams win/loss record is not important, most teams will tell you it is important to defend your home gym. Arkansas is 10-16 all-time in Barnhill Arena. The Gym’Backs are 3-9 at home against SEC opponents and 7-7 against non-conference foes. The Gym’Backs’ three SEC wins have come against Kentucky (twice) and Auburn.
SCORES UP, POLL DOWNArkansas scored its best team total of the year but fell one spot to No. 20 in the latest poll. Arkansas also bettered their individual rankings on the vault, bars and floor but moved up one spot from 23 to 24 on the beam this week as all the teams went to the RQS.
TV TIME CONTINUESArkansas has been on television three times this year. First against Penn State when FOX 46/KPBI aired the event via tape delay. Arkansas was again on TV at Florida in an ESPN2 broadcast – the first national broadcast for the Gym’Backs. Arkansas returned to the airwaves against Kentucky as the SEC Meet of the Week. Last week’s event was televised by FSN and airs Saturday, March 4 at 5:00 p.m. Central on FSN.Arkansas meet with Auburn is also televised, this time by COX Sports. The meet airs Saturday, March 11, from 8:30-10:00 p.m.
ABOUT AUBURN (from www.auburntigers.com)Auburn posted its second-highest score of the year, but it was not enough as No. 1 Georgia was able to fend off the 13th-ranked Tigers by the closest margin in series history, 196.550-196.150, in front of a crowd of 4,327 on Friday at Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum. After holding a 148.350-147.025 following the third rotation, Georgia’s Tiffany Tolnay and Nikki Childs each fell on beam, which opened the door for Auburn (7-8, 1-4 SEC). With the tension mounting and Georgia (12-0, 5-0 SEC) clinging to its lead, Nicole Barnett posted a career-best 9.875 on floor before the Gym Dogs were able to secure the win with scores of 9.925 and 9.900 in their fifth and sixth routines by former Olympian Courtney Kupets and 2005 All-American Katie Heenan, respectively.Prior to the loss against Georgia, Auburn had defeated five consecutive opponents including LSU.
ARKANSAS VERSUS AUBURNThe Arkansas-Auburn series is tied a 3-3 with Arkansas winning the last two meetings between the programs. The Gym’Backs edged Auburn at Auburn last year, 194.275-194.225, and got passed the Tigers at the SEC Championship later that year, 195.325-195.125.
SEC STRONG IN THE POLLThe Southeastern Conference is well represented in the most recent national poll with all seven teams ranked in the top 20. Georgia is the highest-ranked team checking in at No. 1 for the sixth consecutive week. Florida jumped over Alabama and is ranked second followed by the Crimson Tide at No. 4. LSU checks in at No. 7 while Auburn remains at No. 13. Kentucky and Arkansas round out the SEC in the polls ranking No. 19 and No. 20, respectively.
LOOKING AHEADArkansas is home for three in a row hosting Kentucky, Auburn and Washington before finishing the regular season at Nebraska.
ABOUT THE NCAA REGIONAL MEETArkansas hosts the South Central Regional meet April 8 at 6:00 p.m., in Barnhill Arena. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for youth and students. Please call the Lady Razorback Ticket Office at 57-LBACK for more information.