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No. 15 Gym’Backs face No. 12 Auburn on the road

BY ANDRES FOCIL
No. 15 Gym’Backs face No. 12 Auburn on the road

FAYETTEVILLE — The University of Arkansas gymnastics team hits the road for its third away meet since starting the season traveling to No. 12 Auburn Friday. The meet, which will air on FSN Saturday, Jan. 29, at 4:00 p.m., pits the 2-0 Gym’Backs against the 1-1 Tigers in Arkansas’ final road competition before opening at home next week. "We’ve performed well on the road in our first two meets," said co-head coach Mark Cook. "We know we’re up against some very good competition at Auburn this week. We were able to beat them last year in Fayetteville and they’ll be motivated to do well at there place Friday." Last year’s meet saw Arkansas eek out a 196.425-196.225 win over their Southeastern Conference rival in Barnhill Arena. Then sophomore Dana McQuillin walked away with the all-around title and won the vault competition while Katie Hardman captured the beam win and Rachel Barnett won on floor. "We know they’ll be tough," said co-head coach Rene Cook. "We just have to focus on our team. It’s why you compete. They are a great team and they host a great meet but we are ready to challenge ourselves as well." The Gym’Backs have won their first two meets over Minnesota and SEC foe Kentucky to start the year. All three freshmen have contributed early and are again expected to shoulder a full load at Auburn. Verona, N.J., native Samantha Cortez will compete for the all-around title along with McQuillin this week. Emily Peacock tries her hand in three events while Mallory Machnik is up on vault and floor. McQuillin is one of two co-captains for the Gym’Backs and has competed for the all-around title in nearly every meet since coming to Arkansas. She is without fellow co-captain Hannah McLeod who is out with a sprained ankle. Juniors Katie Hardman, Melissa Leigh and Audra Loveless round out the traveling upperclassmen this week. "We have so much more team chemistry this year," said Loveless. "We have more depth than before and we’ve added a lot more difficulty to our routines. That makes it exciting for both the fans and the team. We can’t wait to compete. We don’t really pay attention to the scoring. We just go out and control what we can. WE just want to compete better each week." The Gym’Backs have done that improving on their score in the previous two outings. Arkansas returns to Fayetteville hosting NCAA runner-up and sixth-ranked Georgia Friday, Jan. 28, at 7:00 p.m., in Barnhill Arena. 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)