Arkansas Sets Attendance Record, Gymbacks Score High in Home Opener
FAYETTEVILLE – The Arkansas gymnastics team set fire to Barnhill Arena on Friday night, recording a home-opener high score of 196.825 against no.3 Denver in front of a record 6,714 fans.
Redshirt-freshman Bailey Lovett and junior Sophia Carter’s outstanding performances on the floor earned them each a score of 9.950 and the event title. It’s the first event title the Gymbacks this season and the first for Lovett’s career.
Denver’s Maddie Karr earned three event titles with a score of 9.925 on the vault, uneven bars and balance beam. Karr also claimed the all-around title, finishing with a combined score of 39.675.
Rotation One | Vault
Redshirt-junior Sarah Shaffer once again was the strong hold for Arkansas on the vault. Her Yurchenko layout half earned her a 9.875 in the fifth position and with a solid 9.825 from sophomore Kennedy Hambrick and her Yurchenko full, the Gymbacks finished with a 49.000 as a team.
Rotation Two | Bars
Arkansas showed immense progress on the bars Friday evening, as not a single Gymback scored below a 9.800. Both senior Hailey Garner and Lovett scored a 9.875, sticking back-to-back dismounts for Arkansas. In the anchor spot, junior Sydney Laird’s beautiful ray and double layout led to the first 9.900 of the season for Arkansas en route to the team’s final bars score of 49.350.
Rotation Three | Beam
Lovett continued to shine for Arkansas on beam, executing her front aerial, back layout series beautifully for the crowd. She would finish her routine with stuck dismount and a 9.850 on the board. Senior Jessica Yamzon, freshman Kiara Gianfagna and Carter each contributed a 9.825 to the Gymbacks final score of 49.050 on beam.
Rotation Four | Floor
The Gymbacks flourished on the floor tonight, closing out the night with three straight scores of 9.900 or better. Sophomore all-arounder Kennedy Hambrick sparked the success with a 9.900 in the fourth position, nailing her front handspring rudi layout. Lovett and Carter fired up the engines with back-to-back 9.950’s for the Razorbacks. Lovett executed her double layout and double tuck beautifully and Carter followed with a striking double pike last pass.
Arkansas travels to Norman on Monday for a mid-day meet against no.1 Oklahoma before returning to Barnhill Arena to host SEC opponent, Kentucky on Friday, Jan. 24. Friday’s meet begins at 7:00 p.m. (CT) and will be aired on the SEC Network.