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No. 14 Arkansas travels to No. 15 LSU Friday

BY ANDRES FOCIL
No. 14 Arkansas travels to No. 15 LSU Friday

FAYETTEVILLE — The 14th-ranked University of Arkansas gymnastics team faces its first Southeastern Conference road test traveling to No. 15 Louisiana State Friday. Arkansas has put together successful back-to-back meets with a win over No. 14 Penn State and a near miss with a high score of 196.075 against No. 2 Georgia. Co-head coaches Mark and Rene Cook are looking for that to springboard the Gym’Backs into this meet with LSU Friday. "The team is much more confident after the Georgia meet," said Rene Cook. "The vault competition alone gave us a boost and it just got better as the meet went on. We’ve definitely seen a more aggressive attitude in the gym this week as we prepare for LSU." LSU has had a solid start to the season but a shaky home opener against Illinois last week saw the Tigers struggle on both beam and floor. "LSU has a very talented team," said Rene Cook, "and they’re very tough. We expect them to be on fire and really gunning for us. We feel like we have the talent and ammunition to compete with them. We just have to do our job and see what happens." "LSU is always an interesting place to compete," continued Mark Cook. "It’s fun but intense and their fans are always festive. Our team is looking forward to going down there and giving them our best shot." Arkansas is relying on a pretty young lineup for many of the routines this year. Freshmen Michelle Stout and Casey Jo Magee have both competed for the all-around title and will again compete all four events in Baton Rouge. Junior Emily Peacock is competing three events, the bars, beam and floor, for Arkansas and she has been an early leader for the Gym’Backs. Junior Samantha Cortez remains in the lineup after a tough fall from beam against Georgia last week. "Sammy had a bad fall and she’s a little sore, but we know she’ll step up and compete," said Rene Cook. Arkansas has never defeated LSU in the four-year history of the Gym’Back program and, while a win would be nice, the Cooks are looking for a good score. "There are a lot of good teams in the country this year who are hitting their routines early," said Rene Cook. "The higher you are ranked going into each competition helps your perception and sometimes helps you get the benefit of the doubt. We want to continue to hit our routines and fix the little things to push our scores up with each meet as well." The LSU trip is the first of two consecutive road meets for Arkansas. The Gym’Backs travel to No. 3 Utah Feb. 2 for a quad meet that includes No. 25 BYU and No. 34 Southern Utah. Arkansas returns home for a pair of SEC match-ups with No. 1 Florida Feb. 9, and No. 5 Alabama Feb. 16. For more information about Arkansas gymnastics or for tickets please call the Lady Razorback Ticket Office at 57-LBACK or log on to LADYBACKS.COM.



Sports Category : Gymnastics (W)