Gym’Backs Still Trying for First Win of Season
The Arkansas gymnastics team has been unable to catch a break so far in the 2013 season, but hope to improve their 0-2 record against No. 11 University of Denver Friday, Jan. 25 in Barnhill Arena.
Denver leads the series with Arkansas 4-1. Arkansas topped the Pioneers only once in 2011 at the NCAA Regional meet held at Denver.
“Denver’s a strong program,” co-head coach Mark Cook said. “They’re up there in the top 20, 25 every year, and so they’re a little more improved this year and they’ll come in and they’ll definitely compete hard.”
Denver’s meet at Arkansas is the second weekend in a row that Denver will be on the road for competition.
“They would like to come in here and get a road win,” Cook said. “It helps their score as well. Again, we can’t be affected by what they do. We’ve just got to get back and focus on what we’re capable of doing.”
Freshmen Sydnie Dillard and Heather Elswick proved that they were capable of tying for event title wins in separate events. Dillard earned a 9.825 on the beam and Elswick scored 9.825 on vault.
Dillard also received the SEC Freshman of the Week honor after earning a third-place finish for the meet and second-place finish within the Razorbacks.
This is Denver’s second week to be ranked No. 11 in the GymInfo poll. The Pioneers maintain impressive stats and are ranked in the top 15 in the country in each event.
The Razorbacks feature some impressive stats of their own, including junior Katherine Grable’s position as sixth in the nation in all-around competition. However, Grable did not compete against Kentucky.
“Katherine doesn’t let things really phase her,” Cook said. “She actually trained some while we were on the road, so she’s fine. She’s back in work-outs. She’s ready to go.”
After the Kentucky meet, the Razorbacks fell from their top-10 ranking to unranked.
“We had a rough competition in Kentucky,” Cook said. “We went out there fresh and performed in warm-ups really well; we won warm-ups. When the lights came on and the judges put their flags up, we kind of had some hiccups across the board in all events.”
Cook hopes that the freshmen will grow into the competitions and learn how to improve for each meet while only going at it one meet at a time.
“It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” Cook said.
The Gym’Backs return to Barnhill Arena Friday at 7 p.m. for competition against the Denver Pioneers. After the match, the team will be signing autographs.