No. 11 Arkansas travels to NCAA Regionals Saturday

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The 11th-ranked University of Arkansas gymnastics team travels to Minneapolis, Minn., for the NCAA North Central Regional Championship Saturday. Arkansas is making its fifth NCAA Regional appearance in six seasons and is looking for one of the top two spots in the meet. “Our goal, of course, is to finish as one of the top two teams,” said Arkansas co-head coach René Cook. “Are goals are really the same for every meet – we want to hit our routines and not count a fall. We are working hard on controlling the things we can – our attitude and effort.” Arkansas finished the regular season as one of the top teams in the country and was seeded for the meet. The Gym’Backs are the second seed and face No. 2 Utah, No. 14 Arizona, No. 23 Iowa, No. 27 Southern Utah and No. 28 Minnesota Saturday. The top two teams from each of the six regional sites advance to the NCAA Championship April 24-26, in Athens, Ga. “We’ve had one of our longest training periods since starting the season,” said Cook. “And we’ve trained hard. In fact, someone joked that it felt like preseason. They are ready. We have traditionally performed well at the regional meet and we focusing on what we need to do.” Arkansas’ most successful regional appearance came in 2006 when the inaugural senior class become the first Gym’Backs to qualify for the NCAA Championship. Paced by the senior-laden class, Arkansas finished second at the South Central Regional in Barnhill Arena upsetting perennial powerhouse UCLA to move on. This year’s senior class, Samantha Cortez and Emily Peacock, were sophomores on that record-setting team. “Sam and Emily have been great leaders their entire careers,” said Cook. “They know what is expected of them and they know what to expect in a meet. Nothing rattles them or this team at this point in the season. This team really believes in itself. Our conference really prepares us well for this meet. There really isn’t much more for us to do but get on the plane and get to the meet.” The meet is slated for a 6:00 p.m. central start and results will be available at LADYBACKS.COM.