FAYETTEVILLE – Arkansas’ gymnastics team has earned a spot in an NCAA Regional for the eighth consecutive season.
The Razorbacks have advanced to the post-season every year the program has existed with the exception of the first season in 2003.
This year, the Razorbacks are going to Denver, where they just competed on March 12. The regional is scheduled for Saturday, April 2, at 5 p.m. (central).
"We are confident in our system and the recruits we bring in to continue to compete at the highest level," co-head coach Mark Cook says. "This is an important meet, but this is not the end point for us. We need to be ready to go to the next step."
The other five teams in the field are Florida, Boise State, Denver, Arizona and Brigham Young. Florida is the No. 1 seed in the regional while Arkansas is the second seed.
"You compete all year for the opportunity to get to the NCAAs and this is the first step," co-head coach René Cook says. "We’re happy to be in the top 12 and we’re happy to be going back to Denver."
There are six regionals with the top two teams advancing from each regional to the NCAA Championship April 15-17 in Cleveland.
Arkansas has advanced to the NCAA Championship four times, including each of the last three seasons. Last year, the Razorbacks finished second to eventual national champion UCLA in the NCAA West Regional in Los Angeles.
As for this year’s regional field, Arkansas is 1-1 this season against Florida, beating the No. 1 Gators in Fayetteville on Feb. 25 and finishing behind them in last week’s SEC Championship; 0-1 against Denver, losing at UD on March 12 after leading through three events; and 0-1 against BYU, falling to the then-No. 28 Cougars in Fayetteville on Feb. 18.
"We’re going to see two teams that we saw earlier this year that beat us by marginal scores," René Cook says. "We’re happy for the opportunity to compete against them again."
Arkansas lost at home to BYU, 195.10-195.05, and lost at then-No. 18 Denver, 195.725-195.70.
"Going to Denver earlier this year was a good call," Mark Cook says. "When you schedule, you look at potential sites and that should help us prepare. Plus, we’ve seen three of those teams already."
Overall, Arkansas is 4-2 against Arizona, beating the Wildcats during the regular season and in the West Regional last year; 2-1 against BYU, including this year’s result; 0-4 against Denver, including this year’s meet; and 2-24 against Florida, with both wins coming over the Gators in Fayetteville when they were ranked No. 1. This will be the first meeting for Arkansas and Boise State.
"The girls are motivated to redeem those losses," Mark Cook says. "We have to do our job, but they are motivated."
"Florida is a great team and Boise State will be a very strong contender to get to the NCAA (Championship), as all of the teams are, but we like the challenge," René Cook says. "We’re very comfortable with the field. We will be fighting neck-and-neck with everyone. We have to do our job, but we can’t wait."
The top 18 teams in the nation were seeded and teams 19 through 36 were assigned based on region. Here are all six regions with teams listed in order of seeding.
Denver Regional, Colorado, University of DenverFloridaArkansasBoise StateDenverArizonaBrigham Young
Tuscaloosa Regional, Alabama, University of AlabamaAlabamaPenn StateIllinoisAuburnCentral MichiganKentucky
Corvallis Regional, Oregon, Oregon StateOregon StateNebraskaIowaSouthern UtahSan Jose StateMichigan State
Ann Arbor Regional, Michigan, University of MichiganStanfordMichiganOhio StateIowa StateMinnesotaKent State
Norman Regional, Oklahoma, University of OklahomaOklahomaUtahWashingtonNew HampshireMissouriNorth Carolina
Athens Regional, Georgia, University of GeorgiaUCLAGeorgiaLSUNorth Carolina StateMarylandWest Virginia