FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The 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. "The hard work and dedication of everyone involved has really paid off," said Arkansas co-head coach Rene Cook. "The recent success helps us in the perception of our program by the judges, our opponents, and recruits. We just need to stay focused. If we keep it simple we can continue our success. We always concentrate on one meet at a time, one routine at time, one skill at a time. Keeping things in perspective keeps it from becoming overwhelming. They have all worked hard and have been focused and dedicated. The success of the early part of this season is providing a sense of satisfaction and confidence because they know what they have put into it. “The energy is the gym is at an all-time high,” added co-head coach Mark Cook. “This is a special team and they’ve set lofty goals for themselves. It’s great to see that drive pay off in competition. It’s also nice to see that the success just makes this team hungrier. We have a lot of the season remaining and a lot of goals left to accomplish and we’re working hard this week to prepare for Kentucky.” 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. 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.
2009 GYMINFO NATIONAL POLLMonday, Feb. 2, 2009