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No. 21 Arkansas hosts No. 15 Penn State in gym

BY ANDRES FOCIL
No. 21 Arkansas hosts No. 15 Penn State in gym

GYM’BACKS HOST LSU IN HOME OPENER
The University of Arkansas opened the 2006 home season hosting 11th-ranked LSU in Barnhill Arena Friday. The Gym’Backs fell to the Tigers, 194.725-193.100, in a tightly-scored contest. Arkansas struggled a bit in the meet counting a fall on beam.

HARDMAN RETURNS TO LINEUP
Senior Katie Hardman returned to the Gym’Back lineup against LSU competing on beam. Hardman had off-season knee surgery, then was involved in a serious car accident that slowed her return. Arguably one of the best beam workers on the team, Hardman answered the call tying for second overall with a 9.750 in her first routine of the year.

WIN/LOSS DOESN’T MATTER, BUT
Although a gymnastics teams win/loss record is not important, most teams will tell you it is important to defend your home gym. Arkansas is 9-15 all-time in Barnhill Arena. The Gym’Backs are 2-9 at home against SEC opponents and 7-6 against non-conference foes. The Gym’Backs’ two SEC wins have come against Kentucky and Auburn.

GOOD VAULTING CONTINUES
Prior to this season, the Gym’Back staff would have told you that vaulting was Arkansas’ weakest event. This year, however, the vault has kept Arkansas in meets and the solid performances continued against LSU last weekend. The Gym’Backs’ lowest counted score was a 9.70 and Arkansas peaked with a 9.80 from junior Cassie Drew. Drew’s 9.825 at Missouri was her season-best and she’s been steadily around that mark all year.

AN ALL AROUND KIND OF GIRL
Senior Dana McQuillin has competed for the all-around title in three of Arkansas’ four meets this year. One of the most consistent gymnasts on the team, McQuillin’s high for the year is a 38.70 at No. 14 Missouri in Columbia.

ARKANSAS CLIMBS IN THE POLL
Although Arkansas scored lower against LSU than at Georgia, the Gym’Backs moved up a spot to No. 21 in this week’s poll.

ABOUT PENN STATE
Then-seventh-ranked Penn State dropped its first away meet of the season to Big Ten-foe Minnesota, 194.175 to 193.500 last week. Penn State posted scores of 48.400 on the vault, 48.500 on the bars, 48.050 on the beam and 48.550 on the floor. Senior Jen Orlando finished third in the all-around at the meet, posting a 38.600.
Penn State opened the year with a 194.875 – their highest point total of the year. Penn State has competed against and lost to both Alabama and West Virginia, both of whom are also on Arkansas’ schedule this year.

A LOT IN COMMON
Arkansas and Penn State have a lot more in common as well. The Gym’Backs and Nittany Lions both compete against LSU, Florida and Nebraska this year.

DON’T I KNOW YOU?
Arkansas co-head coach Rene Cook was a gymnast for the Nittany Lions. Then Rene Lyst was the 1992 Big 10 beam champion and co-captained the team in 1993 winning the Northeast Regional beam title.

ARKANSAS-PENN STATE AVAILABLE ON-LINE
This Friday’s meet is one of several schedule for an on-line broadcast this year.
Point your browser to LADYBACKS.COM and watch the meet live. There is no charge for this meet.

ARKANSAS AGAINST PENN STATE
The Gym’Backs have never met Penn State in the three previous seasons.

ARKANSAS SIXTH IN SOUTH CENTRAL REGION
The Gym’Backs are looking to move up in the South Central Region. Arkansas was sixth for the third consecutive week. See the complete South Central poll on the previous page.

SEC STRONG IN THE POLL
The Southeastern Conference is well represented in the most recent national poll with all seven teams ranked in the top 21. Georgia is the highest-ranked team checking in at No. 1 for the second consecutive week. Alabama is No. 3, followed by No. 5 Florida, No. 14 LSU, No. 17 Auburn and No. 18 Kentucky. Arkansas rounds out the SEC teams in the poll at No. 21.

ARKANSAS IN THE SEC
Arkansas has held its own against the SEC – arguably the toughest conference for women’s gymnastics in the country. Here’s a look at the SEC’s team averages on each event this week.



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