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Gymnasts prepare for Pac-10 double-dual

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Gymnasts prepare for Pac-10 double-dual

RAZORBACKS MOVE TO NO. 5
Arkansas jumped up the national rankings to the No. 5 spot in this week’s poll.  It is the 10th time in the seven-year history Arkansas has been in the top 10 and is the highest team ranking in program history.  Arkansas was ninth Jan. 12, 2004 (the first week of the season) and eighth Jan. 14, 2008 (the first week of the season).  Arkansas’ best year in the polls was, by far, last year.  The Razorbacks were in the top 10 seven of 15 ranking periods with a stop at No. 8 (Jan. 14), No. 9 (Jan. 28) and three consecutive weeks at No. 10 (Feb. 4-Feb. 18).  Arkansas finished the year at No. 10 in 2008.

NO. 5 AS A TEAM, NO. 1 ON BARS
That’s right.  Arkansas is tied for the top spot in the country on uneven bars this week.  Although it is the first week of the season, it is the first time in program history the Razorbacks have been No. 1.  Arkansas tied with Utah as both teams counted a 49.075 on bars last week.

NOT BAD IN OTHER AREAS
In addition to the No. 5 team ranking and the tie for No. 1 on bars, the Razorbacks are in good standing on the other events.  Arkansas is 16th on vault, seventh on beam and third on the floor exercise.  The No. 3 floor ranking is also a program best.

OHIO STATE RECAP
The 12th-ranked University of Arkansas gymnastics team scored a program-best opening score with a 195.775 defeating No. 21 Ohio State in Barnhill Arena.   Arkansas (1-0, 0-0 SEC) swept all the individual titles behind a team-leading performance from junior All-American Casey Jo Magee.  Magee won the all-around title, the fifth of her career, and took top honors in the uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise. Junior All-American Michelle Stout picked up the win on the vault for Arkansas.  Arkansas competed four all-arounders and took the top three places in the meet. Magee won with a 39.300 followed by Stout with 39.200 and Nagashima with a career-best 39.050.

MAGEE GETS IT DONE
Junior Casey Jo Magee opened the year winning the all-around title as well as the bars, beam and floor titles – the first time a Razorback gymnasts has won four of the five possible titles.  She is tied for 105th on the vault in the country this week but moves up significantly ranking tied for 11th on bars, tied for sixth on beam and tied for 15th on the floor ex.

MAGEE WINS FOR WINS
Casey Jo Magee leads the Arkansas program with 20 individual titles during her career (with nearly two full years still to compete).  Magee, with her four individual titles against Ohio State, has 20 for her career – three more than second-place Emily Peacock and double that of Dana McQuillin who had 10 wins.

WHAT’S THE BREAKDOWN?
Casey Jo Magee has five all-around titles, three bars titles, 11 beam titles and one floor exercise title.  Her lone floor crown came against Ohio State and she has never won the vault title.

STOUT GETS TITLE
Junior Michelle Stout also picked up a win Friday taking top honors on the vault – the event she earned her All-America honor in last year.  Stout’s winning 9.85 vault has her tied for 18th in the country this week.

NAGASHIMA SHINES FOR ARKANSAS
Junior Sarah Nagashima competed for the all-around title for just the second time in her career last week.  The Seattle, Wash., native posted a career-best 39.050 as an all-arounder including a career-best 9.80 on the balance beam to tie for third on the event.  She ranks 26th in the country as an all-arounder this week.

ABOUT OREGON STATE
Oregon State moved to No. 13 in this week’s poll after a convincing win at BYU last weekend.  Jami Lanz and Mandi Rodriquez tied for the all-around win leading the Beavers to a 194.550-188.975 win.  Oregon State is 3-1 on the year after a second-place finish at the Cancun Classic.  Stanford won the meet followed by Oregon State who scored a 194.575 to defeat Denver and BYU.

THE SERIES
Arkansas and Oregon State have met five times with the Beavers leading the series 3-2.  Arkansas defeated OSU in 2005 in Fayetteville and finished better than OSU at last year’s NCAA Championships.
    The Razorbacks first NCAA Championship appearance in 2006 took place in Corvallis, Ore.  It was Arkansas’ only appearance in the Beaver’s home arena.

ABOUT CALIFORNIA
The Cal Bears enter the weekend 0-2 after finishing third behind Sac State and UC-Davis last weekend.  The Bears scored a 186.650 and are ranked 45th this week.  California went 3-4-5 in the all-around with Jessica Kelley leading the Bears with a 38.275.  Sophia Hocini (37.65) and Stefanie Cheng (37.400) were the other all-arounders.

THE SERIES
Arkansas is 1-0 against the Bears.  The Razorbacks faced Cal in Hawai’i in 2006 in a six-team meet. 

THE SEC IN THE POLL
Talk about tough.  The Southeastern Conference is once again the league to beat with all seven of its members ranked in the top 25 to start the year.  This week, Florida moves into the top spot followed by No. 4 Auburn, No. 5 Arkansas, No. 6 Alabama, No. 8 Georgia and No. 14 LSU.  Kentucky has not competed yet.

ARKANSAS’ SCHEDULE VERSUS THE POLL
Nearly every team on Arkansas’ 2009 schedule was ranked in the preseason top 25 this year.  The schedule includes No. 1 Georgia, No. 3 Florida, No. 6 Alabama, No. 7 LSU, No. 9 Oregon State, No. 10 Oklahoma, No. 15 Auburn, No. 21 Ohio State, No. 22 Minnesota, No. 25 Kentucky and California who is receiving votes.  The Razorbacks travel to Texas Woman’s and face TWU as well as Pennsylvania – they are the only two teams not mentioned in the preseason poll.

SPEAKING OF THE SCHEDULE
This year, the Razorbacks face some new challenges with its schedule.  Arkansas takes on No. 21 Ohio State, California, Bowling Green and Pennsylvania for the first time in program history.  Arkansas also travels to Oklahoma for the first time and it is the first regular-season meeting for the teams.
    Other interesting twist comes Jan. 23 and 26.  The Razorbacks have a home meet with No. 3 Florida on Friday and turn around to travel to No. 10 Oklahoma Monday for a meet.  It is common in the SEC for teams to have the quick turn-around but it is a first for the Razorbacks.

TELEVISION SCHEDULE FOR RAZORBACKS
Once again Arkansas will be well-represented on television.  CST will carry Arkansas’ meet with Florida and the Alabama meet airs on ESPN2.

2009 SEC Gymnastics Television Schedule
DATE     MEET     AIR DATE / (ET)*    NETWORK
1/16     GEORGIA @ LSU     1/24 @ 7 p.m.     FSN
1/23     ALABAMA @ GEORGIA     2/8 @ 4 p.m.     ESPN2
1/30     ALABAMA @ ARKANSAS     2/15 @ 6 p.m.     ESPN2
1/30     KENTUCKY @ FLORIDA     2/7 @ 9:30 p.m.     FSN
2/6     FLORIDA @ LSU     2/14 @ Noon     FSN
2/27     AUBURN @ ALABAMA     3/6 @ 6:30 p.m.     FSN
2/28     FLORIDA @ GEORGIA     3/8 @ 11 a.m.     ESPN2
3/21     SEC CHAMPIONSHIP
    (Sommet Center-Nashville, TN)     3/28 @ 7 p.m.     FSN
* subject to change

* ESPN2 telecasts will be available in 90 million homes across the nation.
* FOX Sports telecasts will be available in 28 million homes across the region on FOX Sports Net South, Sun Sports Network and FOX Sports Net Southwest.
* SEC-TV airs Thursday nights at 6:30 pm ET / 5:30 pm CT

UP NEXT FOR ARKANSAS
The Razorbacks hit the road for the first away meet of 2009 traveling to No. 13 Oregon State for a tri-meet with California who is No. 45.  Arkansas returns home Friday, Jan. 23, hosting No. 3 Florida to open Southeastern Conference competition.




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