FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas gymnastics team opens the 2008 season ranked 14th in the preseason GymInfo Coaches Poll announced today.
Arkansas finished 2007 ranked 15th overall, but the preseason rankings move the Gym’Backs up one position to start the program’s sixth year of competition.
“I’m pleased to see our peers show their confidence in our program ranking us in the 14th spot,” said co-head coach Mark Cook. “I hope we can improve on that and finish in the top 10 this year.”
The Gym’Backs enter just their sixth season of competition. Despite that, the Gym’Backs have made an impression on both the Southeastern Conference and the nation consistently ranking in the top 20, earning five consecutive NCAA Regional bids and advancing to the NCAA Championship in the program’s fourth year.
This year, a young squad with just three upperclassmen, look to continue the tradition of success. Seniors Samantha Cortez and Emily Peacock along with junior Alexandra LaChance return to lead the team. Sophomore Casey Jo Magee, who earned a trip to the NCAA Championship as an individual, also returns as one of the team’s leaders.
All seven SEC teams are ranked in the preseason top 25, once again proving the toughness of the league. Three-time defending NCAA champion Georgia opens as the top-ranked team.
The Gym Dogs host this year’s NCAA Championship in Athens, Ga.
Florida begins the year ranked second followed by No. 6 Alabama, No. 10 LSU, No. 14 Arkansas, No. 19 Auburn and No. 24 Kentucky.
In addition to the challenging SEC schedule, Arkansas compete against No. 4 UCLA, No. 8 Oklahoma, No. 9 Michigan, No. 13 Penn State, No 21 Michigan State and No. 22 West Virginia. The Gym’Backs also face Cal State Fullerton at a quad meet at UCLA. CS-Fullerton is receiving votes in the preseason poll.
Arkansas’ season begins on the road Jan. 11 as the Gym’Backs travel to Michigan facing the Wolverines and West Virginia. Arkansas opens at home hosting SEC rival LSU Jan. 18 and non-conference Penn State Jan. 25.
For more information and a complete schedule, please log on to LADYBACKS.COM.
GymInfo – 2008 Women’s Pre-Season Coaches Poll
|Rank||Team||Points||Fist Place Votes|
|25||North Carolina State||72|
Other team receiving votes: Minnesota, BYU, Washington, Boise State, Southern Utah, Iowa, North Carolina, Utah State, Sacramento State, California, San Jose State, Cal State-Fullerton, Central Michigan, Maryland, Pittsburgh, Illinois-Chicago, SE Missouri