BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Verizon Arena in North Little Rock, Ark., will host the 2013 SEC Gymnastics Championship, SEC officials announced this week. The meet is scheduled for Saturday, March 23.
The eight SEC schools that sponsor gymnastics (Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Missouri) will participate in the SEC Championship. The meet’s format will consist of two sessions of four schools each (Seeds 5-8 and Seeds 1-4) with seeding based on regional qualifying score.
"The Southeastern Conference is pleased to bring this championship to North Little Rock," SEC Commissioner Mike Slive says. "Our fans are in for a great experience as they share the excitement in watching these outstanding student-athletes perform at a wonderful venue."
Tickets will go on sale Nov. 1 at www.SECDigitalNetwork.com or by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000.
"I am looking forward to having the SEC Championship in North Little Rock," co-head coach Rene Lyst says. "There is a new format for the championship this year with four teams competing in two sessions. This format will be much more audience friendly. The last time the meet was in North Little Rock we had an impressive crowd. With the success of the program in the past few years, we look to top that. Bringing the best collegiate gymnastics to Central Arkansas is great for the state, our fans and our program."
North Little Rock was also the site of the 2007 SEC Gymnastics Championship.
In just its 10 years of existence, the Razorback program has earned nine consecutive bids to an NCAA Regional, advanced to the NCAA Championship six times in the last seven years and reached the Super Six twice.
"We are excited to have the SEC Championship held for the second time in North Little Rock," co-head coach Mark Cook says. "The Verizon Center is a great venue, and we can’t wait to walk into the arena hearing the roar of Razorback Nation. There will be a new format with the addition of Missouri to the conference. Two sessions will be held with the top four teams competing in the evening session. It is our intent for the Razorbacks to be in that evening session as one of the top teams. Go Hogs!"
Last year’s squad earned the first No. 1 ranking in program history, had individuals ranked No. 1 in the all-around, on floor and on bars, finished second in the NCAA Fayetteville Regional, finished third in the NCAA Championship to advance to the Super Six for the second time in four years and placed sixth in the nation.
Four Razorbacks combined to earn eight All-America honors and departed senior Jaime Pisani was named SEC Gymnast of the Year.
Arkansas has finished ranked among the nation’s top 15 eight straight years with four top 10 finishes in the last five years.
Arkansas has also ranked in the top 15 in average attendance all 10 years, including a No. 8 ranking in 2012.
The SEC has won 17 national championships since 1987, including two consecutive championships by the University of Alabama in 2011 and 2012.
The SEC Gymnastics Championship was held at on-campus sites from 1981-2000. It was then moved to neutral sites and held in Birmingham, Ala. (2001-2003, ’06, ’11), Duluth, Ga. (2004-05, ’08, ’12), Jacksonville, Fla. (2010), North Little Rock, Ark. (2007) and Nashville, Tenn. (2009).