LadyBacks Set To Host NCAA South Central Gymnastics Championships

The 18th-ranked Arkansas Gym’Backs host No. 3 Florida and No. 9 UCLA in the 2006 South Central Regional Championship next weekend. Arkansas welcomes the Gators and Bruins along with three other teams to Barnhill Arena Saturday, April 8, for a 6:00 p.m. meet. Tickets for the regional championship are on sale at the Lady Razorback Ticket Office. Please call 57-LBACK or log on to LADYBACKS.COM for more ticket information. You can also go directly to Arkansas finished the year as one of the top teams in the country earning one of the coveted 18 seeded positions in the draw. "It’s great to be hosting some of the finest programs in collegiate gymnastics," said co-head coach Mark Cook. "UCLA is a five-time national champion and Florida has a history of success and is in the midst of one of their best seasons in recent years. We’re excited to be a part of the post-season." "Obviously this is a tough group of teams to host but regardless of who was coming to the Regional we just have to keep doing what we’ve been doing every single week of the season," said co-head coach Rene Cook. "We have to hit our routines and control the things we can and let the scores fall where they may." In addition to the two other seeded teams (Florida and UCLA) Arkansas also hosts No. 30 Illinois, No. 42 Illinois-Chicago and No. 49 Southeast Missouri State along with four individual gymnasts. "It’s interesting that all of the seeded teams in our region have a UCLA connection," added Rene Cook. Mark Cook is a former coach for the Bruins while Florida’s head coach, Rhonda Faehn, was a collegiate gymnast at UCLA. The 2006 South Central Regional marks the third time in four seasons Arkansas has reached the regional championship and the first time the program has hosted. The Gym’Backs’ first regional experience came in 2004 when the two-year-old program earned a trip to Arizona where the group of freshmen and sophomores finished fourth overall. Arkansas was again back at the Regional Championship last year, this time as one of the top 18 teams in the nation. The Gym’Backs were sent to New Hampshire again finishing fourth overall. In addition to Arkansas’ regional, five other sites will also compete that same weekend. Eighth-ranked Stanford hosts the West Regional with No. 5 Alabama, No. 16 Oregon State, No. 26 Boise State, No. 31 Sacramento State and No. 35 San Jose State. The North Central Region takes place at No. 4 Iowa State and includes No. 11 Arizona State, No. 15 Arizona, No. 19 Denver, No. 21 Minnesota and No. 24 Brigham Young. The Central Region is hosted by No. 7 LSU on Friday and includes No. 6 Oklahoma, No. 17 Penn State, No. 20 Kentucky, No. 28 Michigan State and No. 32 Ohio State. The Northeast Region is hosted by No. 9 Michigan and includes No. 2 Utah, No. 14 Auburn, No. 27 New Hampshire, No. 45 Pittsburgh and No. 52 Rutgers. Finally, the Southeast Regional takes place at No. 1 Georgia and features the Gym Dogs along with No. 12 Nebraska, No. 13 Missouri, West Virginia, North Carolina and North Carolina State.