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No. 11 Gym’Backs host No. 9 OU Saturday

BY ANDRES FOCIL
No. 11 Gym’Backs host No. 9 OU Saturday

FAYETTEVILLE – The 11th-ranked University of Arkansas gymnastics team begins the final stretch of the regular season hosting the first of two home meets with No. 9 Oklahoma Saturday, March 15, at 2:00 p.m., in Barnhill Arena. Arkansas comes off a quad meet victory in which the Gym’Backs tied their season-high score and defeated No. 6 Alabama and No. 8 UCLA along with No. 44 CS-Fullerton. “It was a very successful trip to California,” said co-head coach mark Cook. “We really achieved our goals. The team was mentally tough and focused. I’m very proud of the team effort. “We did a great job,” echoed co-head coach René Cook. “We hit our routines and even though we weren’t perfect, we didn’t get rattled. It was a great step for our program.” The Cooks are hoping to play off that success as they host South Central Region rival Oklahoma. The Sooners are undefeated this season and are just ahead of Arkansas in both the regional and national rankings. “Oklahoma’s recent history shows they are a very strong program,” said René Cook. “But I think we match up really well against them. They are hosting a regional this year and it will be good to see them in person before the postseason.” In addition to being undefeated, the Sooners are coming off a 24-for-24 performance and season-best 196.750 against one of Arkansas’ Southeastern Conference rivals, Auburn. Oklahoma has dominated the all-around competition with Kiara Redmond Sturms winning eight of 10 titles this year. Arkansas uses a very balanced approach in its meets. Seniors Samantha Cortez and Emily Peacock have stepped up to lead the team but every position has contributed to the Gym’Backs’ success this year. “Both Emily and Sam are doing great,” said Rene Cook. “They are showing great leadership and really getting it done for us.” Peacock is coming off a solid performance in California counting all three of her routines on bars, beam and floor. Cortez competed for the all-around title, tying one career-best and setting another with a 9.90 on both the vault and floor. Sophomore Casey Jo Magee won the individual beam title with a season-high 9.925 as well. Sophomore Sarah Nagashima recently returned to the lineup and competed vault, beam and floor while sophomore Amy DeFilippo has been steady on vault, bars and beam all season. Saturday’s meet is the first of the final two home meets of the 2008 season. Arkansas hosts No. 14 Michigan State Friday, March 21, at 7:00 p.m. Tickets for both meets are still available. Please call the Razorback Ticket Office at 57-LBACK or log on to LADYBACKS.COM for more information.



Sports Category : Gymnastics (W)