FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The return of fifth-year senior Amanda Wellick from injury, two NCAA individual participants and a competitive schedule are just a few of the many highlights awaiting the University of Arkansas gymnastics team in 2018.
Wellick suffered a season-ending injury in early January last season and missed what would have been her senior year. She has since returned to the gym and is expected to be in Arkansas’ lineup this season.
The All-American leader’s talents will be needed as the Razorbacks again take on a challenging schedule in 2018 facing four teams, including the National Champion, from last year’s Super Six. Six of Arkansas’ opponents were among the final 12 teams that advanced to the NCAA Championship and 13 of 15 regular season foes were NCAA Regional participants a year ago.
The season opens with a road meet at Super Six regular LSU as Arkansas jumps into the Southeastern Conference schedule from day one on Jan. 5. A home meet with Kentucky on Jan. 12, followed by a road trip to Missouri on Jan. 19 follow. Both the Wildcats and Tigers were NCAA Regional teams a year ago.
Arkansas returns home on Jan. 26, hosting a resurging Georgia team who was among the final 12 a year ago. February opens with a road meet at Alabama on Feb. 2. The Razorbacks have won three in a row over the Crimson Tide. Alabama finished last season ranked No. 6 in the nation.
The Razorbacks host Auburn on Feb. 9, before taking on Missouri and LSU for the second time, along with George Washington, Northern Illinois and Lindenwood at the GymQuarters Invitational in St. Louis, Missouri. It is the first of three possible meets in St. Louis in 2018.
A road meet at NCAA Champion runner-up Florida on Feb. 23, and a home meet with Arizona on March 2, precede a trip to defending national champion Oklahoma March 9. The regular season closes with an Arkansas quad meet featuring Denver and Iowa State along with one other team yet to be named.
The always-tough SEC Championship takes place in St. Louis this year as do the NCAA Championships.
In addition to the return of Wellick, Arkansas also welcomes back NCAA Individual participants Braie Speed and Jessica Yamzon from last year’s team. The Razorbacks, who battled injury much of last season, finished on a high note tying for third place in NCAA Regional action.
Ten gymnasts return from that team and welcome five newcomers for the 2018 season. Season tickets are expected to go on sale shortly.