FAYETTEVILLE. – Icy conditions in Northwest Arkansas have not affected tonight’s gymnastics meet between No. 10 Arkansas and No. 12 Kentucky. The Razorbacks and Wildcats are still scheduled to compete tonight at 7 p.m. in Barnhill Arena.
The Razorback Athletic Department strongly encourages all fans to use their best judgment in regards to determining their attendance at tonight’s meet and other athletic events for this weekend. Personal safety should be fans first concern. Fans attending athletic events should allow extra time and proceed with caution when traveling to and from athletic venues as well as when walking around the facilities.
Following two straight road meets against teams ranked in the top 10, Arkansas’ 10th-ranked gymnastics team returns to Barnhill Arena for Friday’s 7 p.m. meet against No. 12 Kentucky.
The Razorbacks opened the year at home with a win over No. 20 Arizona, but have been on the road at No. 4 Florida and No. 1 Alabama the last two weeks.
Arkansas is ranked No. 10 in the nation with a 195.608 score, but the Razorbacks are less than four-tenths of a point out of the No. 3 spot in the country (195.992).
The Wildcats are off to a good start after ending last season ranked No. 30 in the country.
“Kentucky has always had good teams,” Arkansas co-head coach Mark Cook says. “They’ve had some trouble on some events in the past, but they are performing up to their ability right now.
“We’re excited to be back home,” he says. “The girls are happy. We’ve had great workouts.”
Arkansas leads the all-time series 13-0-1 and has won 12 consecutive meetings.
Last year, No. 3 Arkansas posted a 195.075-194.500 victory in Lexington, and later topped UK again in the SEC Championship.
In the regular-season meet, sophomore Jaime Pisani won vault and the all-around title, and was second on beam and floor. Senior Casey Jo Magee won beam, and was second on bars and in the all-around.
Magee and Pisani are leading the team this season. Magee won beam at Alabama on Friday with a 9.925, which ties for the third-best score in school history. She also won beam at Florida the previous week and has three individual titles this season. Pisani also has three titles, including the all-around in the opener against Arizona.
Pisani is No. 9 in the nation in the all-around while Magee is No. 13. Senior Sarah Nagashima is tied for No. 15 on beam, Pisani is No. 17 on floor and Magee No. 24 on bars.
The Razorbacks posted season-high team scores on vault (49.00) and beam (48.950) last week in Tuscaloosa.
Other highlights include Magee (9.85) and freshman Kelci Lewis (9.65) matching their season highs on bars, sophomore Mariah Howdeshell recording a season-high on vault (9.70) while Lewis (9.80) matched her best, and Howdeshell (9.70) and Nagashima (9.85) matching their season bests on beam. Nagashima also had a season-high 39.10 in the all-around.
“That was a hard environment to compete in,” Cook says. “We had a few mistakes on bars, but we finished really strong on beam.”
In the individual events, Arkansas is ranked No. 22 in the nation on vault, tied for No. 6 on bars, No. 5 on beam and No. 10 on floor.
Promotions for Friday include a Signature Bank Backpack giveaway to the first 500 fans and a UA student-only drawing for a $250 gift certificate for school supplies at the UA Bookstore.
In addition, several professors of team members will be recognized at the conclusion of the meet.