FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The No. 14-ranked University of Arkansas women’s gymnastics team jumps back into Southeastern Conference play this Friday, as they travel to the Bluegrass State for a Top-25 matchup against No. 24 Kentucky. Start time from Memorial Coliseum is set for 6 p.m.
|No. 14 Arkansas (4-5) vs. No. 24 Kentucky (3-4)|
|Feb. 20, 2015 | 6 p.m.|
|Memorial Coliseum | Lexington, Ky.|
|Arkansas |Kentucky | SEC|
|Twitter | Facebook|
Arkansas (4-5, 1-3 SEC) enters this week’s action as the No. 14-ranked team in the country in the GymInfo Rankings. It is the second-straight week that the Razorbacks have been placed in the No. 14 slot, as they currently hold a 195.958 average through six meets this season.
The Razorbacks rank in the Top-10 in two events, as their average score of 49.233 places them at No. 7 on the floor exercise, while their 49.242 is the eighth-highest average in the nation. Arkansas also ranks inside the Top-15 on the uneven bars, as its score of 48.954 is the 15th-best in the country, while the team’s balance beam score of 48.529 is currently places them at No. 29 in the event.
For Kentucky (3-4, 1-3 SEC), they come into this week’s meet ranked 24th in the country with an average score of 195.113. The Wildcats rank inside the Top-25 in three events, as they peak at No. 21 on the uneven bars with a score of 48.888, and are 23rd on both the balance beam (48.613) and the floor exercise (48.863). UK is also ranked 33rd nationally on the vault with an average score of 48.750.
Last Time Out
The Razorbacks posted a season-best 196.650 to defeat both Illinois State (192.025) and Southeast Missouri (191.150) in tri-meet action in Barnhill Arena. Arkansas was led by sophomore Amanda Wellick, who captured three event titles (V, FX, AA) and tied her career-best of 9.950 on the vault. Senior All-American, Stephani Canizaro, also won an event title, as her 9.875 on the uneven bars brought home her second event title of the year in the event.
The 24th-ranked Wildcats are coming off a 194.425-performance against the Co-Defending National Champion, and top-ranked, Oklahoma in Oklahoma City. Freshman Sydney Waltz was one of the highlights of the night for Kentucky, as she captured her first career event title, by winning the balance beam with a career-best 9.875 against the No. 1 Sooners.
Arkansas holds a dominating 20-3-1 all-time lead in a series that dates back to the 2003 season. The Razorbacks won both meetings last season to break a three-meet losing streak to the Wildcats. Arkansas is 5-1 all-time in Lexington, but have not won there since 2011.
On The Road Again
For the fourth time this season, Arkansas will compete in a meet away from Barnhill Arena. The Razorbacks are 1-4 in meets away from Fayetteville this season.
For the sixth-straight week, Arkansas is ranked inside the Top-10 in the floor exercise, as they come in at No. 7 in this week’s Gyminfo Rankings with a 49.233 team average score. The Razorbacks have two gymnasts ranked inside the top 30 nationally, as sophomore Amanda Wellick is ranked ninth with a 9.900 and junior Heather Elswick also comes into this week with the 27th-best average score on the floor with a 9.867. The duo are each coming off a 9.9-plus performance against Ill. State/SEMO, as Wellick boasted a 9.925 to win the event title and Elswick followed with a 9.900. It was the second time this year that both gymnasts recorded a 9.9-plus score in the same meet.
Sticking Their Landing
The Razorbacks come into Friday’s meet ranked eighth nationally on vault. Arkansas is holding an average score of 49.242. Sophomore Amanda Wellick is currently 11th in the nation with a 9.908 average through six meets. Junior Heather Elswick is also ranked inside the top 30, as her mark of 9.871 is the 30th-best average in the nation.
An Historic SEC Freshman of the Week
On Tuesday, Paige Zaziski was honored by the Southeastern Conference with her second SEC Freshman of the Week award. Zaziski, who shared the honor with Florida’s Kennedy Baker, becomes just the second Arkansas gymnast in program history to win multiple SEC Freshman of the Week awards, as she joins former All-American, and current assistant coach, Jaime Pisani, who captured a pair of honors back in the 2009 season.
Zaziski won the award by posting a career-best 9.775 on the floor exercise to go along with a trio of 9.8-plus scores in the other three events to post an all-around scored of 39.225, which was tied with Florida’s Baker for the highest freshman all-around score in the conference. It was the third-straight meet that the Chesterfield Township, Michigan, native has scored a 39 or better in the all-around.
Sophomore Amanda Wellick has been racking up the event titles in a rapid pace this season, as she has won nine event titles through six meets this season. The Wheaton, Ill., native has captured three all-around titles, three floor exercise titles and three vault titles. Last week vs. Illinois State and SEMO, she won the vault and floor exercise and all-around titles. It was the second meet this year where she won three titles.
She’s Also Rocking The Floor
Wellick also has been a force on the floor exercise this season for Arkansas. Performing from the anchor spot, Wellick has posted a score of 9.875-plus on all six of her routines this season. She is currently ranked ninth in the nation on the floor, and tied her career-best of 9.950 last week against Illinois State/SEMO.
A Strong Vault Duo
Junior Heather Elswick and sophomore Amanda Wellick have sparked the Arkansas vault rotation to a No. 8 ranking in the nation. Welllick, who performs from the anchor spot is currently in a tie for ninth in the nation with an average score of 9.900, while Elswick is 30th with a 9.846. The pair have posted a 9.850-plus score in 10 of their combined 12 routines this season, and have twice scored a 9.9 or better in the same meet.
For more information on the Arkansas women’s gymnastics team, follow @RazorbackGym on Twitter.