FAYETTEVILLE — The 17th-ranked University of Arkansas gymnastics team returns to the gym Friday facing the No. 14 Missouri Tigers in Columbia, Mo., at the Hearnes Center. Arkansas is coming off a solid start to the young season with a third-place showing at the Hawai’i Invitational Jan. 3, where the Gym’Backs faced third-ranked UCLA, No. 13 Oregon State, No. 18 Washington and Sacramento State and California, both of whom were receiving votes in the preseason poll. The low-scoring meet didn’t allow any of the teams to set records but the high level of competition did allow the Gym’Backs to measure their skills against some of the countries best programs. "We anticipated a bit of a slow start and some inconsistencies this season," said co-head coach Mark Cook. "That’s not a negative but a positive as we progress through the season. One of our main goals is to gain momentum as the season progresses and Hawai’i was a good first step." The Tigers are coming off a sixth place showing at the Super Six meet, one of the nation’s toughest meets outside of the national championship. Missouri scored a 192.700 with a fifth place individual bar finish highlighting the meet. Missouri and Arkansas enter the meet with several similarities. Both are relatively young with Arkansas boasting it first-ever senior class. Missouri has three seniors and four juniors on the squad. "We’re excited about this meet," said Mark Cook. "We have a little bit of a rivalry going because we’re so close. We’re coming off a good performance in Hawai’i and we’ve had a good week of workouts so this is a chance for us to see where we’re at." Missouri has historically had the upper hand over the Gym’Backs winning three of the four meetings. Arkansas’ lone win came in the teams’ first meeting in quad action in 2003. The meet is the second of three consecutive road meets for Arkansas. The Gym’Backs travel to No. 2 Georgia next Friday before opening the 2006 home schedule hosting No. 8 LSU in Barnhill Arena Jan. 27. The LSU meet is the first of five regular season home meets for Arkansas as the Gym’Backs also host Penn State, Kentucky, Auburn and Washington. In addition to the regular season, the Gym’Backs host the 2006 NCAA South Central Regional Meet April 8, in Barnhill. Tickets for the regular season and the Regional meet are currently on sale in the Lady Razorback Ticket Office. Please call 57-LBACK or log on to LADYBACKS.COM for more information.