FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The No. 12-ranked University of Arkansas gymnastics team will make its 2015 Barnhill Arena debut on Friday night, as they entertain sixth-ranked, and defending Southeastern Conference Champion, Alabama, at 7:45 p.m. in front of a national televised audience.
The meet will be the nightcap of a live gymnastics doubleheader featured on the SEC Network, which will be the first-ever live SEC broadcast in conference history. Friday will also be Fan Appreciation Night, sponsored by Contour from Cox, at Barnhill Arena, as fans in attendance will have a chance to win a prize during each touch period.
|No. 12 Arkansas (0-1) vs. No. 6 Alabama (1-0)|
|Jan. 16, 2015 | 7:45 p.m.|
|Barnhill Arena | Fayetteville, Ark.|
|Arkansas | Alabama | SEC|
|SEC Network | Watch ESPN|
|Twitter | Facebook|
A Historic Broadcast
Friday’s meet will be a part of the SEC’s first-ever live gymnastics broadcast. The SEC Network will broadcast a live gymnastics doubleheader starting at 6 p.m. with No. 3 Florida hosting No. 21 Auburn, followed by the No. 12-ranked Razorbacks taking on No. 6 Alabama.
An Unusual Start Time
Because of the live SEC Network telecast, start time for Friday’s meet has been pushed back an hour to 7:45 p.m.
Last Time Out
Last Friday, the then No. 13-ranked Arkansas gymnastics team opened the 2015 season with a 197.625-194.900 loss at co-defending champion, and then second-ranked, Oklahoma. Sophomore Amanda Wellick captured the all-around event title against the now top-ranked Sooners. After competing behind former national champion, Katherine Grable, in the all-around as a freshman, Wellick was able to capture her first career all-around event title against Oklahoma to start her 2015 season.
The Razorbacks come into Friday’s meet ranked No. 12 in the Gyminfo Rankings after posting a 194.900 at now No. 1 Oklahoma. The Razorbacks also come into the meet ranked inside the top 10 in a pair of events, as the floor exercise lineup is seventh in the nation (48.975) and the vault lineup is eighth (49.100) after their performances against the Sooners.
For Alabama, the Crimson Tide comes to Barnhill Arena as the No. 6 team in the nation after its 196.225-194.375 win over No. 18-ranked Arizona at Coleman Coliseum. Alabama is currently ranked inside the top 10 in three events according to the Gyminfo Rankings, as they are No. 2 in the floor exercise (49.300), No. 3 on the vault (49.375) and No. 6 on the balance beam (49.050).
The Crimson Tide hold a 28-2-1 advantage in a series that dates back to the 2003 season. These two meet last season, with Alabama winning 197.875-194.900 at the SEC Championship. The Razorbacks last win against Alabama came in 2009, when they won 196.625-196.525.
Gymnasts to Watch
Arkansas sophomore Amanda Wellick got the 2015 season started off on the right note, as she captured her first career all-around event title at No. 1 Oklahoma. A year after competing behind former national champion, Katherine Grable, Wellick was able to capture her first career all-around title by posting a 38.800 score against the Sooners. Wellick currently holds the 12th-highest score in the nation in the floor exercise with a 9.875 and the 24th-best score on the vault with a 9.850.
Alabama sophomore and All-American, Katie Bailey, currently holds the seventh-best all-around score (39.375) in the nation, after capturing the all-around event title against No. 18 Arizona. Bailey is ranked inside the top 25 in three events, as she is ranked 15th in the vault (9.875), 18th on the balance beam (9.850) and 23rd on the uneven bars (9.850).
Fan Appreciation Night
It will be Fan Appreciation at Barnhill, as fans will have a chance to win a slew of prizes, which includes a two tickets to this Saturday’s men’s basketball home game against Ole Miss and a pair of Beats by Dre headphones. Friday’s meet is being sponsored by Contour from Cox.
Fan Appreciation Night will feature a giveaway during each touch period, as fans can register for the giveaway prizes by signing up at the marketing table located in on the west end of Barnhill Arena prior to the 7:45 p.m. start time.
Freshman Paige Zaziski had a spectacular beginning to her Razorback career on Friday. She opened with a 9.850 on the bars and a 9.900 on the vault. Both scores led the team in each rotation, and her 9.900 vault score is tied for the third-highest freshman score on the vault in the nation.
She’s A Natural
Sophomore Samantha Nelson posted a 9.825 on her first collegiate vault attempt last Friday at No. 2 Oklahoma.
For more information on Arkansas gymnastics, follow @RazorbackGym on Twitter.