FAYETTEVILLE – The Southeastern Conference gymnastics season continues Friday as the 10th-ranked University of Arkansas Gym’Backs host No. 35 Kentucky in Barnhill Arena at 7:00 p.m.
Arkansas is off to its most successful start as the team remained top 10 for the opening six weeks of competition. The Gym’Backs come off back-to-back season-high meets, most recently scoring a 195.95 at No. 4 Alabama Friday.
In addition, sophomore Michelle Stout made her season debut as an all-arounder in Tuscaloosa, winning the title and earning SEC Gymnast of the Week.
Kentucky comes to Fayetteville also in the midst of an upswing. The Wildcats are ranked 35th this week but have also put together good numbers recording several season and career bests in their last meet.
“Kentucky has the potential to be a very strong team,” said co-head coach René Cook. “But our goal against them is the same as it is for every opponent – to not count a fall. We take the approach that we are competing against every other team in the country at each meet, not just the other team in the gym.”
In addition to Stout’s success, Arkansas has gotten great leadership from seniors Samanatha Cortez and Emily Peacock. Cortez has been competing for the all-around title while Peacock has been a bars, beam and floor specialist this year.
“Our success is a credit to the team,” said Cook. “Sam and Emily have really pulled this team together all year. They did a great job at Alabama as well and we really finished strong.”
The Gym’Backs host a pair of SEC members in back-to-back meets as the two-at-home, two-on-the-road schedule continues. Arkansas hosts No. 16 Auburn Friday, Feb. 22, at 7:00 p.m., before hitting the road for a pair of meets. The Gym’Backs travel to top-ranked Georgia March 1, and are at No. 7 UCLA with No. 4 Alabama March 9.
Then it’s back home for the final two regular season meets of the year as the Gym’Backs welcome No. 8 Oklahoma and No. 22 Michigan State.
Tickets for all home meets are still available and can be purchased in advance by calling the Razorback Ticket Office at 57-LBACK. For more information about Arkansas gymnastics, log on to LADYBACKS.COM.