After a mid-season bye week, Arkansas’ gymnastics team is well rested and ready for its road trip to Lexington for a Friday-night showdown at No. 15 Kentucky.
Last time out
The Gymbacks took down No. 10 Georgia inside Stegeman Coliseum, 196.875-195.950, for the Razorbacks’ first-ever win in Athens.
Sarah Shaffer won her first floor title of the season, while Kennedy Hambrick took home her second all-around title in four meets.
After an uncharacteristic leadoff fall on the beam, Bailey Lovett followed with a career-high 9.925 for a share of the event title with Hambrick. Arkansas also recorded a season-high 49.175 on the vault and the second-highest team score of the season in the win, 196.875.
Arkansas enters the week ranked No. 5 in the all-around by Road to Nationals, while remaining at the No. 3 spot on both the beam and floor exercise.
Four Gymbacks rank among the top 15 in the nation in each of the four events: Sophia Carter ranks ninth on the floor, Maggie O’Hara ranks 11th on the uneven bars, Hambrick ranks 12th on the balance beam and Amanda Elswick ranks 13th on the vault.
The scout and series
Arkansas is looking to bounce back from a close loss against Kentucky in Barnhill last season, aiming for its first win against the Wildcats of the Jordyn Wieber era.
Overall, the Gymbacks are on the hunt for the program’s first win in Lexington since 2011.
The Gymbacks are also competing for their first back-to-back road wins since 2016, when Arkansas defeated Maryland and then Missouri on the road.
Kentucky will be hosting the Razorbacks after a loss to Alabama at home (196.775-196.400), the Wildcats are 2-2 on the season and 1-1 at home, claiming a win versus Auburn (196.225-194.575) in week two.
In their meet against Alabama, the Wildcats surpassed the 49-point threshold on every event for the first time this season, producing season highs on the balance beam (49.175) and floor (49.250).
The Wildcats are led by 10th-year coach Tim Garrison, who notched his 100th career victory last season.
Kentucky returns All-SEC junior Josie Angeny, as well as 2020 SEC All-Freshman honoree Raena Worley.
The Wildcats, however, are looking to replace the production of 11-time All-American Mollie Korth and three additional 2020 graduates.
Friday night’s meet will be available on SEC Network+ and is slated to start at 6 p.m.
Information from Arkansas Communications is included in this story.