FAYETTEVILLE – Coming off another NCAA Championship appearance, Arkansas’ gymnastics team is once again facing a challenging schedule and competing against the other top programs in the country.
Last year’s final rankings for this year’s 11 opponents include four in the top 10, seven in the top 20 and nine in the top 26.
"Our goal is to be one of the top programs in the country again this year, and one reason we’ve had success is because we compete against many of the top teams in the nation," co-head coach Mark Cook says. "By being in the SEC, we automatically have a very competitive schedule, but we also like to challenge ourselves and prepare for the post-season in our non-conference schedule."
In its eight-year history, Arkansas has advanced to the NCAA Championship four times, including three consecutive years, earned a spot in an NCAA Regional seven straight seasons and ranked among the national attendance leaders all eight years.
In 2010, Arkansas finished second in the NCAA West Regional and 11th in the NCAA Championship, and recorded eight wins over teams ranked in the top 25. Arkansas was No. 11 in the final rankings, No. 16 and first in the Southeastern Conference in academic rankings, and No. 11 in attendance.
The 2011 schedule includes home meets against Alabama, Georgia, Brigham Young, Florida and West Virginia. The Razorbacks go to Oklahoma, Kentucky, Auburn, LSU, Illinois-Chicago and Denver.
"We have a young team, but this schedule will prepare us for the SEC Championship and NCAAs," Cook says. "This year we host Alabama, Georgia, Florida, BYU and West Virginia at home in Barnhill Arena. It’s a very good home schedule and balances out the strength of the schedule. Our fans do a great job of supporting us, and we’re looking forward to the season and competing for them."
Arkansas begins the season Jan. 7 at Oklahoma and opens the home schedule on Jan. 14 against Alabama. The Razorbacks spend the next two weeks on the road, going to Kentucky on Jan. 21 and Auburn on Jan. 28. Georgia visits Barnhill Arena on Feb. 4 followed by a trip to LSU on Feb. 11. BYU is in Fayetteville on Feb. 18 with another home meet the following weekend, against Florida on Feb. 25. After a road date at Illinois-Chicago on Feb. 27, West Virginia closes the home slate on March 4. Arkansas ends the regular season at Denver on March 12.
The SEC Championship is in Birmingham, Ala., on March 19. NCAA regionals are April 2 with the NCAA Championship in Cleveland April 15-17.
Last year’s final rankings for this year’s opponents include Oklahoma at No. 2, Alabama No. 3, Florida No. 5, LSU No. 9, Georgia No. 13, Denver No. 15, Auburn No. 19, Kentucky No. 21, West Virginia No. 26, BYU No. 33 and Illinois-Chicago No. 49.
2011 Arkansas Gymnastics Schedule
Baton Rouge, La.
* SEC meet
Home meets in bold and all caps