Kentucky Preview: Return of the 'Backs
WHO: No. 9 Arkansas vs. No. 23 Kentucky
WHEN: Friday, Feb. 26 at 7 p.m.
WHERE: Barnhill Arena
WHAT: Pink Meet presented by Arkansas Dentistry & Braces
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Following a 28-day absence from Barnhill Arena, the Arkansas gymnastics team returns home on Friday, Feb. 26, when the No. 9 Razorbacks take on SEC rival Kentucky. Fresh off a three-meet road swing, Arkansas hosts the No. 23 Wildcats for a 7 p.m. first vault.
Over the past three meets – at No. 6 LSU, No. 2 Florida and Maryland – the Razorbacks averaged 196.092; not a bad number, but far below the 196.475 the team averaged in its four meets prior to the road trip.
With Regional Qualifying Scores (RQS) in effect as of this week, Arkansas’ opening-meet score of 195.150 at the Cancun Classic is subsequently dropped and the team has the opportunity to build on its current average of 196.315. That mark puts the Razorbacks in the top 10 nationally, including No. 5 among SEC teams.
At Arkansas’ previous home meet on Jan. 29, 4,619 fans came to see the No. 8 Razorbacks in a comeback victory over No. 9 Auburn by a score of 196.600-195.975. That crowd was the ninth-largest in program history, and senior Stephani Canizaro knows that a large number of supporters is one key for the team to perform its best.
“We’re so excited to be back in our house this week in front of our home fans,” she said. “The team has really been sharpening our routines to make them the best they can be. Our goal right now is to improve one thing in each routine and on each event.”
Last week in College Park, Braie Speed set a career high with a 9.850 on vault, while Makenzie Anderson also posted a new career best 9.800 on floor exercise. Against Kentucky the team hopes to eclipse its season high of 196.700 and burst into the 197 range against a quality SEC opponent.
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