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No. 21 Gym’Backs host No. 15 Penn State Friday

BY ANDRES FOCIL
No. 21 Gym’Backs host No. 15 Penn State Friday

FAYETTEVILLE — The 21st-ranked University of Arkansas gymnastics team continues its home stand hosting No. 15 Penn State Friday at 7:00 p.m., in Barnhill Arena. Arkansas is wrapping up a two-meet home stand but breaks from Southeastern Conference action hosting the Nittany Lions for the first time in the four-year history of the program. "We’re looking forward to Penn State coming into Barnhill Arena," said co-head coach Mark Cook. "It’s always great to bring in a non-conference team into our facility and show off our program to new teams. Penn State is a good team that has been successful on the national level. This meet is a good opportunity to measure ourselves against them." Arkansas has been solid this year but the scores have been a bit low. New scoring parameters have forced some routine changes and Arkansas has had to make some adjustments. But the Gym’Backs have improved in nearly every meet and have continued to climb in each poll. The Cooks are looking for the team to find it’s rhythm in this meet. "We need to get into a rhythm," said Mark Cook. "Once we do that, we can run with just about anyone in the country." Co-head coach Rene Cook has an added desire in wanting to down Penn State – she’s an alum. Cook, then Rene Lyst, graduated in 1993 as a Nittany Lion and would like to see her new team hold it’s own with her previous team. "The Penn State meet is a little more personal for me," she said. "It’s kind of a big meet for several of the girls on the team (Arkansas) as well. We have several girls who have friends from there and we all really want to compete well against them." Gym’Back sophomore Samantha Cortez finds herself as the team’s lone all-arounder in the meets tentative lineup. Cortez was a part-time all-arounder last year and has competed well in the early goings of this season. Senior Dana McQuillin will most likely break from the all-around skipping the vault to rest a sore knee. Junior Cassie Drew has also seen time on all four events but is not scheduled to compete on bars Friday. Senior Katie Hardman is also back in the lineup. The Buda, Texas, native missed the first three meets of the season due to injury but made a triumphant return on the beam last week against No. 11 LSU. She is again scheduled for the beam against Penn State. The non-conference tilt against the Nittany Lions is also scheduled for television. KPBI and KWBF will air an hour-long version of Friday’s meet on Feb. 18 at 3:00 p.m. The meet also airs live on the internet at LADYBACKS.COM. For more information about Arkansas gymnastics or for tickets please call the Lady Razorback Ticket Office at 57-LBACK.



Sports Category : Gymnastics (W)