comscore script

No. 13 Gym’Backs face tough road test at No. 3 Utah Friday

BY ANDRES FOCIL
No. 13 Gym’Backs face tough road test at No. 3 Utah Friday

FAYETTEVILLE — The 13th-ranked University of Arkansas gymnastics team faces a tough road test in quad meet action at No. 3 Utah Friday. The Gym’Backs take on the host and third-ranked Utes along with No. 22 Brigham Young and No. 39 Southern Utah in quad meet action at the Huntsman Center. The meet is the fifth in a row in which Arkansas has faced a top 20 team and the third against a top five team. "We’re excited to go to Utah," said co-head coach Mark Cook. "This is the first time to go there with this program and it’s an important meet if we are to achieve our goal of getting back to Nationals. They’ll have 10,000 fans and it will be really exciting." Arkansas, in just its fifth season of gymnastics, has faced Utah twice in previous seasons and is meeting BYU and SUU for the first time. Utah is hosting the 2007 NCAA Championship and the coaches are looking forward to a sneak peak at the venue this weekend. "Utah always provides a fun atmosphere," said co-head coach Rene Cook. "This meet is similar to what we see in the SEC week in and week out so it really should be good for the team to experience that." Arkansas has used a very balanced attack and has scored well in its last three meets. The Gym’Backs have a pair of seniors in Rachel Barnett and Cassie Drew along with juniors Samantha Cortez and Emily Peacock who have guided the team. But it’s Arkansas’ freshmen class that is getting noticed. Casey Jo Magee and Michelle Stout have been regulars as all-around competitors for the Gym’Backs and several other newcomers have preformed well in meets this year. "Our freshmen have both met and exceeded expectations this year," said Mark Cook. "Some are still trying to get their wings while others have really stepped up." Arkansas enters the meet this week ranked 10th in the country on floor, one of the highest rankings on the event in program history. "Our floor has done a great job this year," said Rene Cook. "They have been consistent and clean – just getting the job done. The routines are really entertaining for both our home and away crowds and its fun to see." The Gym’Backs’ schedule continues to challenge the young team. Arkansas returns home and to Southeastern Conference action hosting No. 1 Florida Feb. 9, and No. 4 Alabama Feb. 16. The Gym’Backs travel to No. 24 Kentucky Feb. 23 and to No. 10 Auburn March 2 as the season continues. The Gym’Backs also welcome gymnastics on one of the biggest stages as ALLTEL Arena hosts the 2007 SEC Gymnastics Championship March 31. Tickets for the SEC Championship as well as all home meets can be purchased by calling the Lady Razorback Ticket Office at 57-LBACK or by logging on to LADYBACKS.COM.



Sports Category : Gymnastics (W)