No. 14 Gym'Backs open 2008 season at Michigan

FAYETTEVILLE – The 14th-ranked University of Arkansas gymnastics team opens the 2008 season traveling to Ann Arbor, Mich., for a tri-meet with the host ninth-ranked Wolverines and No. 22 West Virginia Friday.

Arkansas opens the meet on the floor, rotating to vault, bars and beam.

“Our biggest focus is to not count a fall,” said co-head coach René Cook. “If we can go out and be consistent in our first competition we will be successful. If we are consistent, we should be neck-and-neck with Michigan. I’m sure West Virginia will push us as well so we really have to go out and be aggressive.”

Arkansas throws a relatively young team out on the floor for the first meet of the season. The Gym’Backs are paced by a pair of seniors in Samantha Cortez and Emily Peacock and have one junior, Alexandra LaChance.

The bulk of the Gym’Backs’ routines will be made up of the six-member sophomore class including 2007 NCAA Championship participant Casey Jo Magee.

As with most spring sports, the Gym’Backs have been working out since the early fall and are anxious for the competition.

“This team has been prepared to compete for quite a while,” said Cook. “We want to go out and make a statement that we are a serious contender and we can do that by competing consistently. We also want to continue to improve and we need a competition to continue that process.”

The Michigan meet is the first of an 11-meet regular season schedule for Arkansas. The Gym’Backs open at home hosting No. 10 LSU Friday, Jan. 18, followed by a non-conference match-up with No. 13 Penn State Friday, Jan. 25.

Tickets for all of the home meets are available by calling the Razorback Ticket Office at 57-LBACK. For more information and the complete 2008 gymnastics schedule, please log on to LADYBACKS.COM.