FORT WORTH, Texas – The No. 8-ranked University of Arkansas gymnastics team is set to take on the country’s top teams on Saturday night, as they will compete in the 2015 Metroplex Challenge at the Fort Worth Convention Center. The meet is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. and will be webcast live on www.gymnastike.org
This year’s Metroplex Challenge will not only feature the eighth-ranked Razorbacks, but will also include the nation’s top two teams in No. 1 Oklahoma and No. 2 LSU. Big 12 opponent Iowa State will also be in Fort Worth this weekend to compete with the trio of top 10 teams.
|No. 8 Arkansas (1-2) vs. No. 1 Oklahoma (5-0), No. 2 LSU (4-0), Iowa State (1-3-1)|
|Jan. 31, 2015 | 7 p.m.|
|Fort Worth Convention Center | Fort Worth, Texas|
Series vs. Arkansas
|Oklahoma; 11-1, LSU; 23-5-1, Iowa State; 1-1|
|Arkansas | Oklahoma | LSU | Iowa State|
|Twitter | Facebook|
Four teams, three of which are ranked inside the top 10 of the Gyminfo Rankings, will meet up in Fort Worth, Texas to compete in this year’s Metroplex Challenge.
No. 8 Arkansas comes in with an average score of 195.825 after posting its second-straight 196-plus score last Friday at No. 12 Auburn. Arkansas comes into Saturday as the third-best floor exercise team in the nation, as they are averaging a 49.275 in the event. They are also ranked inside the top 15 on the vault and uneven bars, as their vault score of 49.175 puts them at No. 10 and the team’s 48.900 is good enough for 15th-best in the country. Arkansas is tied for 29th on the balance beam with an average score of 48.475.
Top-ranked and Co-Defending National Champion, Oklahoma, will be competing in its second meet in three days on Saturday, as they posted a 197.650 at No. 20 Denver on Thursday. On the year, Oklahoma is averaging a collegiate-best 197.325 overall and rank inside the top five in the nation all four events. The Sooners are No. 1 uneven bars team, second on the vault and floor exercise and the fourth-best in the balance beam.
LSU is not far behind the Sooners, as they come into this weekend’s meet as the second-ranked team in the Gyminfo Rankings. The Tigers are coming off a season-high 197.350 against Missouri and are only one of two teams in the country to average a 197-plus score with a 197.025. LSU is top-ranked balance beam team in the nation and second-best on the uneven bars. The Tigers are also place inside the top five on the floor exercise and are the seventh-best team on the vault.
For Iowa State, the Cyclones are averaging a score of 194.758 to place at No. 28 in the Gyminfo Rankings. Saturday will be the third-straight meet that ISU will compete against multiple teams, as they have participated in a pair of tri-matches leading up to the Metroplex. The Cyclones come into the weekend as the 17th-best balance beam team in the nation, while they are also tied for 25th on the uneven bars. Iowa State’s floor exercise rotation is ranked the 30th-best, while its vault team is 37th.
Welcome To The Top 10
For the first time this season, the Razorbacks were featured inside the top 10 in the Gyminfo Rankings as they came in at No. 8 this week with an average score of 195.825. It is the first time that Arkansas has been inside the top 10 in a year, as they were ranked No. 10 in the Week Three Gyminfo Rankings last season.
We Meet Again
Saturday will mark the second time this year that Arkansas compete against No. 1 Oklahoma. The two teams opened the 2015 season in Norman, Okla., as the then-ranked No. 2 Sooners defeated the then-ranked No. 13 Razorbacks, 196.250-194.900. Oklahoma leads the all-time series 11-1.
The Tigers hold a 23-5-1 advantage in the all-time series with Arkansas. LSU has won five-consecutive meetings, as the Razorbacks last victory against them came on Jan. 20, 2012 with a 197.225-196.325 win.
Iowa State Series
The Cyclones and Razorbacks have split a pair of meetings in a series that dates back to 2006.
Facing No. 1
Arkansas has face the No. 1-ranked team six times in the regular season and are 2-4 against them. The two wins came against Florida, with the last coming in 2011.
For the second-straight week, Arkansas is ranked as the third-best floor exercise team in the nation. The team is currently averaging 49.275 and posted five 9.800-plus scores last week at No. 12 Auburn. The Razorbacks have three gymnasts ranked inside the top 25 of the national rankings, as sophomore Amanda Wellick leads the trio with the eighth-best average in the nation at 9.908. Junior Heater Elswick is ranked 21st with a 9.867 and sophomore Samantha Nelson is currently 24th with a 9,863.
Sticking Their Landing
The Razorbacks come into Saturday’s meet ranked 10th nationally on vault. Arkansas is holding an average score of 49.175. Sophomore Amanda Wellick currently holds the 14th-best average score in the nation with a 9.900 through three meets.
Last Friday, Arkansas posted a 196.250 at No. 12 Auburn. The score gave the Razorbacks their second-consecutive 196-plus score, as they scored a season-best 196.375 in an upset win over No. 6 Alabama a week earlier. The last time Arkansas posted back-to-back 196-plus scores came last season, when they scored a 196.700 to upset No. 9 Nebraska on March 8, followed by a 196.650 against No. 2 Oklahoma on March 14.
SEC Freshman of the Week
On Tuesday, the Southeastern Conference announced that Paige Zaziski was named the SEC Freshman of the Week for the week of Jan. 26. The Chesterfield, Mich., native collected the team’s highest-score on the uneven bars and balance beam, as she posted a career-high in both events. On the bars, she tied her personal-best score of 9.850 and then collected a career-high 9.800 on the beam.
Last week the Arkansas gymnastics team posted a season-best score on the balance beam with a 48.825. After committing falls in the first two meets of the year, the Razorbacks had a clean rotation and had all six gymnasts post a 9.7-plus score.
Sophomore Amanada Wellick has been racking up the event titles in a rapid pace this season, as she has won six event titles through three meets. The Wheaton, Ill., native has captured two all-around titles, two floor exercise titles and two vault titles. Last week at Auburn, she won both the vault and floor exercise titles.
For more information on the Arkansas gymnastics team, follow @RazorbackGym on Twitter.