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Gym’Backs host South Central Regional Saturday

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Gym’Backs host South Central Regional Saturday

FAYETTEVILLE — Nearly two weeks of final preparations are over and the 18th-ranked University of Arkansas gymnastics team is ready to host the 2006 NCAA South Central Regional Gymnastics Championship in Barnhill Arena Saturday at 6:00 p.m. The regional features third-ranked and Southeastern Conference foe Florida and No. 9 UCLA along with No. 18 Arkansas as the seeded teams. Also attending is Illinois, Illinois-Chicago, Southeast Missouri State and individuals from Illinois State and Texas Woman’s University. "We are so excited to have a regional in Barnhill Arena," said co-head coach Rene Cook. "We’ve been very intense and very focused this week and the team is very excited." Arkansas opens the six-rotation meet with a bye then moves to the floor. Arkansas then moves to the vault, has a bye and finishes with bars and beam. "We like our rotation," said Cook. "We’ve practiced in this order all week and feel comfortable, not only in the order but, of course, being in our own gym." UCLA opens the meet on the vault, Florida begins on the floor while Illinois starts on the bars. UIC opens with the beam and SEMO has a bye before the bars. Arkansas has a bit a familiarity with some of the incoming teams. The Lady Razorbacks faced the Gators twice this year, first during the regular season traveling to Gainesville for a quad meet, and again at the SEC Championships two weeks ago. Arkansas has also met up with UCLA facing the Bruins at the Hawai’i Invitational to open the year. The Gym’Backs have faced Illinois-Chicago three times most recently in regional action in Arizona in 2004, and Arkansas competed with SEMO that same season. This is the Gym’Backs first meeting with Illinois. "We’re very comfortable with the other teams," said co-head coach Mark Cook. "That are all quality programs. This is a huge competition this weekend and it’s extremely important for a lot of reasons. All of us want to get to nationals. It’s a huge goal of ours to get our program to nationals and we just want to leave it all out on the floor." The top two teams at this regional join the top two teams from the five other regionals at the NCAA Championship. Tickets for Saturday’s meet are still available by calling the Lady Razorback Ticket Office at 57-LBACK or by logging on to LADYBACKS.COM.



Sports Category : Gymnastics (W)