FAYETTEVILLE — Six home meets, 10 NCAA Regional participants and the defending national champion highlight the 2007 University of Arkansas gymnastics schedule. The team adds one meet to the typical five-home date schedule this year as the Gym’Backs get ready for the sixth season at Arkansas. “We have a great schedule again this year,” said Arkansas co-head coach Rene Cook. “We are really excited to be going to Michigan in the first meet of the year after coming off Regionals there last year. It’s been a bit of a motivator in the preseason. We are also taking part in the ‘Pink Out’ meet at Alabama this year. That meet had the highest attendance in the country last year and we’re honored to be selected to participate in that this season.” The Gym’Backs open the season a bit later than usual thanks, in part, to a change in the calendar. Arkansas travels to Michigan, the site of the Gym’Backs’ final meet of the 2007 season, taking on the host Wolverines and West Virginia in a tri-meet, Jan. 11. Michigan and West Virginia were both regional teams from a year ago with the Wolverines hosting and edging the Gym’Backs. Michigan went on to the NCAA Championship finishing sixth in their session. Arkansas next hosts back-to-back meets, a trend for the season, welcoming LSU Jan. 18 and Penn State Jan. 25. The Tigers finished the year second in the Southeast Regional and again advanced to the NCAA Championship with a fourth-place showing in their session. Penn State was third in the North Central Regional. The Gym’Backs next face back-to-back road meets traveling first to Florida Feb. 1. The Gators were ranked No. 1 for much of the regular season finishing the year winning the Northeast Regional and checking in third at the NCAA Championship. Alabama is just around the corner Feb. 8 and the Crimson Tide remain as one of the perennial powerhouses after finishing ninth overall in 2007. Kentucky and Auburn come to Barnhill Arena Feb. 15 and 22, respectively. The Wildcats, Tigers and Gym’Backs have spawned heated rivalries during the inaugural years of the Arkansas program. Arkansas edged both teams at the Southeastern Conference Championship last year and all three teams were eliminated at their respective regional meets. SEC action continues against defending national champion Georgia in Athens, Ga., March 1. The Bulldogs hovered in the top few spots in the rankings all season but exploded at NCAAs winning their third consecutive title. Arkansas next travels to UCLA for the second time in program history facing the Bruins March 9. UCLA finished fourth overall after winning the Southeast Regional last year. A pair of home meets wrap up the regular season with the Gym’Backs hosting both Oklahoma March 15, and Michigan State March 21, for the first time. Oklahoma finished second in the Central Region and fourth in their session at the NCAA Championship while State was fourth at the same region. The SEC Championship moves back to Duluth, Ga., and the Gwinnett Center March 29. For more information about Arkansas gymnastics or to purchase tickets on-line, go to LADYBACKS.COM. Tickets are also available by calling 57-LBACK or 877-LADYBACKS.
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