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No. 11 Gym’Backs host first of two quad meets

BY ANDRES FOCIL
No. 11 Gym’Backs host first of two quad meets

FAYETTEVILLE — The 11th-ranked University of Arkansas gymnastics team hosts the first of two quad meets Friday welcoming New Hampshire, Pittsburgh and West Virginia to Barnhill Arena. Arkansas has had a big couple of weeks. The Gym’Backs have won back-to-back Southeastern Conference meets at Kentucky and at No. 14 Auburn scoring a 196.325 to move up to number 11 in this week’s poll. In addition, senior all-arounder Cassie Drew earned SEC Gymnast of the Week honors edging out some of the best gymnasts in both the conference and country for the award. As the conference regular season closes for Arkansas, the Gym’Backs stay busy with three big meets, two of which are at home, prior to the SEC Championship in ALLTEL Arena March 31. Arkansas first faces No. 23 West Virginia, No. 37 Pittsburgh and No. 39 New Hampshire Friday at 7:00 p.m. "We’re really excited to be home this week," said co-head coach Mark Cook. "We’re a little tired after back-to-back road meets. This is a little larger meet (than a dual) and we’re facing some teams we haven’t seen recently. We’re really going to be looking for a high home score to stay in the top 18 nationally this week." The Gym’Backs are used to facing the nation’s top teams with all seven SEC teams ranked in the top 30. Florida remains in the No. 1 spot followed by No. 2 Georgia, No. 4 Alabama, No. 6 LSU, No. 11 Arkansas, No. 16 Auburn and No. 30 Kentucky. And although this Friday’s competition isn’t quite as highly ranked, Arkansas knows it still faces a tough challenge from all three teams. "Dave (Kuzara, Arkansas assistant coach) reminded the team that all three of these programs have been and will again be at regionals," said co-head coach Rene Cook. "We can’t take any of them lightly or lose focus in any way. West Virginia, Kuzara’s former team, comes in ranked 23rd and is 14th in the country this week on the floor. They are 18th on vault as well. Arkansas has steadily climbed in the polls to a season-high number 11 this week. The Gym’Backs are ranked 14th on vault, 13th on bars, 15th on beam and are tied for 10th this week on the floor. Friday’s quad meet is followed by a dual meet at No. 21 Arizona State March 16. Arkansas wraps up the regular season March 23, with the final home meet welcoming Missouri, Southeast Missouri and Texas Woman’s University. For more information and tickets please call the Lady Razorback Ticket Office at 57-LBACK or log on to LADYBACKS.COM.



Sports Category : Gymnastics (W)