Hogs Back in Top 25 in Time
The Razorback gymnastics team earned its first victory in an upset against No. 11 Denver and is focusing on individual improvements for their Friday meet against No. 1 Florida.
The win boosted the Razorbacks back into the rankings at No. 22 after a week of being unranked.
The Florida meet will be the eighth time in a row that the two teams will have competed while one of the two is ranked No. 1. In the 31 times Florida and Arkansas have met, Arkansas has only topped its opponent three times.
“Florida is always good,” co-head coach Rene Lyst said. “They’re a solid team, they’re coached well, they’ve got phenomenal athletes but as we know, you’ve got to compete every time you go out there.”
Florida comes to Fayetteville with Southeastern Conference Gymnast of the Week, Kytra Hunter. Hunter posted the highest all-around score in the nation in their meet against Auburn. Hunter scored a 9.90 or better in each event she tackled.
Florida freshman Bridget Sloan took the SEC Freshman of the Week award in the first week of the season, proving that her past as the 2009 World all-around champion and part of the 2008 silver medal Olympic team will continue to be improved upon.
The Gators have earned one or more spots in the SEC weekly awards in three of the four weeks of competition.
The win at home over Denver showcased some experience and improvements throughout the Razorback team, which will be important in Friday’s matchup.
“We were fairly solid throughout the meet until floor,” Lyst said. “We had some good vaulting. We had a much improved bar rotation. Beam was, I thought, phenomenal.”
Freshman Erin Freier won the bar event title with a 9.850 and also had an “exceptional” beam routine, Lyst said.
“It was really nice to see her put all three of her events together really well,” Lyst said. “She’s been kind of coming on a little late here, toward the end of the preseason, toward these few meets, and it’s nice to see her progressing well.”
Katherine Grable continued to impress during the Denver meet, scoring a 9.875 in both vault and floor and earning an all-around title. Grable dropped to ninth in the nation in all-around.
“Kat’s a pro. She knows how to do her job, to get out there. She hits her routines and she’s a phenomenal athlete,” Lyst said.
The team and the coaches realize they are going against the best, and that’s what they like to do to keep improving and hopefully come out on top, Lyst said.
“We’ve just got to focus on our process and hit our routines and be a little cleaner and sharper than last week and keep building the momentum,” Lyst said.
The Razorbacks and Gators compete in Barnhill Arena Jan. 25, at 7 p.m.
“It’s always exciting to be at home,” Lyst said. “We had a great home crowd last week. The students were great. It’s a lot of fun in Barnhill when we have a big crowd.”