FAYETTEVILLE – The eighth-ranked University of Arkansas gymnastics team opens the 2008 home season hosting No. 7 LSU in Barnhill Arena Friday at 7:00 p.m.
Arkansas began the year ranked 14th in the preseason poll and opened with a solid 195.250 at Michigan in the first meet. As a result, the Gym’Backs vaulted up the rankings before the home opener.
Despite the climb in the national poll to eighth in the country, Arkansas finds itself fifth in the Southeastern Conference. The SEC and the country are lead by No. 1 Florida, No. 2 Georgia and No. 3 Alabama this week. LSU is ranked seventh, followed by No. 8 Arkansas and No. 18 Kentucky. Auburn was unranked this week.
“LSU is a tough team,” said co-head coach Rene Cook. “That’s evident from their ranking, their scores and their history. That said, we feel we’re pretty well matched with them for this meet. We’re at home and very excited to be at home this week. We have the same goal as the first meet and that is to be consistent and tough. We want it to come down to the last routine.”
Arkansas did just that at Michigan in the opener. The balanced effort was evidenced by even numbers of 48.850 on both the vault and bars and 48.775 on the beam and floor. A few individual performances stood out as well with freshman Stacy Bartlett making her collegiate debut with a second-place finish on the beam.
“We were very focused and disciplined at Michigan,” said Cook. “This is a tough team and we are excited to see that here at home.”
Arkansas faces a tough schedule in 2008 with all seven members of the SEC regulars in the top 25. The Gym’Backs follow up the LSU contest with a break from league action hosting No. 14 Penn State Jan. 25. Arkansas then has back-to-back road meets traveling to No. 1 Florida and No. 3 Alabama in a pair of televised contests.
For more information and tickets for the 2008 season, please log on to LADYBACKS.COM or call the Razorback Ticket Office at 57-LBACK.