Gym’Backs Open ThirdThe University of Arkansas gymnastics team opened the 2006 season with the first of three consecutive road meets near Honolulu, Hawai’i, last week. Arkansas finished third in the tightly scored meet behind third-ranked UCLA and No. 13 Oregon State. The No. 20 Gym’Backs edged No. 18 Washington and were also better that Sacramento State and California, both of whom received votes in the preseason poll.
The Long Road AheadArkansas next travels to No. 14 Missouri for dual meet action. The Gym’Backs have won their opening dual contest two of the three previous seasons downing No. 23 Kentucky in 2004 and Minnesota last year.
Arkansas Against The TigersThe Gym’Backs are just 1-3 all-time against Missouri. The lone Arkansas win came in the first meeting in a quad meet at Auburn when Arkansas outscored the Tigers, 194.975-194.900. Arkansas has since dropped the next three head-to-head meetings, most recently a 196.050-195.575 decision in Fayetteville.
Scores Low For First WeekArkansas finished third at their opening meet scoring just 190.625 – their lowest point total ever since adding gymnastics four seasons ago. The rest of the teams were also scored low with third-ranked UCLA getting a 193.775 to win it. Florida seems to have one of the highest opening weekend scores with a 195.9 against Illinois in Gainesville. Georgia was also among the high scorers in the nation with a 195.7 in Cancun. The Super Six meet, one of the biggest meets outside the national championship, also saw lower scores. Alabama won the meet with a 194.25 followed by Nebraska with 194.1, Iowa State with 194.05, LSU with a 193.9 and Missouri with a 192.20.
More About The First MeetDespite the overall low scores, Arkansas did get a 9.80 on vault from sophomore Samantha Cortez. Cortez’s best on the event is a 9.90 but the Hawai’i 9.80 was one of the higher numbers counted in the opener.Sophomore Emily Peacock also counted a 9.80 on bars for the Gym’Backs. Peacock’s score was good for fourth place on the event for Arkansas.
Arkansas Moves Up In PollThe Gym’Backs vaulted from No. 20 in the preseason poll to No.17 this week after the first competition of the season. The Gym’Backs are ranked 18th on vault, No. 19 on bars, tied for 21st on beam and 17th on floor.
More Poll NotesArkansas takes on No. 14 Missouri this weekend. The Tigers rank 16th on vault, eighth on bars, No. 13 on beam and No. 15 on floor exercise.
About Missouri (From mutigers.com)Opening the 2006 campaign, Missouri finished sixth with a 192.700 at the Super Six Challenge in Baton Rouge, La. Senior Jodie Heinicka tied for fifth on the uneven bars after recording a 9.850. ESPN2 will air the meet on Sunday, Jan. 15 at 1:30 p.m. CT. Mizzou started things off strong on bars with a 48.675, led by Heinicka’s 9.850. Freshmen Alicia Hatcher and Adrianne Perry showed poise in their collegiate debuts with a 9.775 and 9.725, respectively. Perry’s score was a career high on the event. The Tigers then moved to beam, where they scored a 47.855 as senior Lauren Schwartzman and sophomore Katie Kluga both earned 9.700s. After a third rotation bye, Perry and Schwartzman led the way on floor with 9.675 apiece while junior Amanda Pezzullo added a 9.600 as the Tigers recorded a 47.725. Mizzou closed out the night on vault with a 48.425 as Heinicka anchored the Tigers with a 9.775 and junior Whitney Crater posted a 9.750.
Pink Out Meet At MissouriThe Tigers open their home schedule in the second annual Pink Out meet against No. 17 Arkansas on Friday, Jan. 13 at 7:00 p.m. in the Hearnes Center. Mizzou, together with University of Missouri Healthcare and Ellis Fischel Cancer Hospital, will help promote breast cancer awareness and research efforts. The first 500 fans will get free t-shirts and $1 from every ticket sold will be donated to the Ellis Fischel Cancer Center to benefit breast cancer research.
All-Around SuccessArkansas opened the year with a pair of all-arounders in Cassie Drew and Dana McQuillin. McQuillin, a senior from West Orange, N.J., paced the Gym’Back attack with a 37.950 while Drew turned in a 37.825 in th every competitive meet.
Freshmen Solid In DebutFreshmen Alexandra LaChance and Breanne Guy both got a taste of collegiate competition in Hawai’i last week. LaChance opened with vault, beam and floor while Guy vaulted for the Gym’Backs. Look for the duo along with fellow freshmen Allison Schmohl and Kelley Owen to continue to contribute.
Five Seniors Lead The WayArkansas will enjoy the final season of the program’s first-ever senior class in 2006. Making their final appearances as Gym’Backs are Katie Hardman, Melissa Leigh, Audra Loveless, Hannah McLeod and Dana McQuillin – all part of the inaugural class in 2003.
Another Road Trip AwaitsArkansas continues its road trip traveling to defending national champion Georgia Jan. 20. The Gym’Backs have always scored well against Georgia despite not winning those contests. The teams have met six times – three at the SEC Championships, twice in Fayetteville and once in Athens. Georgia has never been ranked lower than eighth during those meetings.
Finally At HomeArkansas opens the home season Friday, Jan. 27, hosting No. 8 LSU at 7:00 p.m. Arkansas is 0-7 lifetime against the Tigers but has been steadily closing the gap in recent meets. This is LSU’s second trip to Fayetteville since 2003.