Razorbacks glad to be back home

By: Tom Murphy
Published: Friday, February 26, 2016
Arkansas' Amanda Wellick competes during a meet against Auburn on Friday, Jan. 29, 2016, at Barnhill Arena in Fayetteville.
Photo by Michael Woods
Arkansas' Amanda Wellick competes during a meet against Auburn on Friday, Jan. 29, 2016, at Barnhill Arena in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas gymnastics Coach Mark Cook is relieved to be back home tonight after what he called three "grueling" road meets the past three weeks.

The No. 9 Razorbacks (4-5 overall, 2-3 SEC) take on No. 22 Kentucky (6-4, 1-4 SEC) tonight at 7 at Barnhill Arena in their first home meet since a Jan. 29 victory over Auburn.

"The goal is to beat Kentucky, but we also want to be more clean, hit on more of our routines and compete with more energy," Cook said. "These last three meets on the road, we've been pretty flat."

Arkansas has beaten two SEC opponents -- No. 3 Alabama and No. 8 Auburn -- who have better regional qualifying scores, the rankings format that kicked in this week. But because Arkansas' score trails Auburn by 0.18, the Razorbacks would not be in the top four-team session at the SEC Championships in North Little Rock on March 19 if the meet were to be held today.

No. 2 Florida, No. 3 Alabama, No. 7 LSU and No. 8 Auburn would comprise the top session, while No. 9 Arkansas, No. 10 Georgia, No. 16 Missouri and No. 22 Kentucky would be in the other session.

"We're just a tenth, or hundredths behind Auburn, so we need to have some good meets going down the stretch," Cook said.

The Razorbacks, with a score of 196.315, are also just a few hundredths ahead of Georgia (196.310), so improving on their season average is critical in their final three meets against Kentucky, Missouri and Utah State prior to the SECs.

Arkansas is led by junior Amanda Wellick, who has competed in the all-around in all eight meets this season. Wellick jumped to No. 12 in the country with an all-around score of 39.3 this week. She is also No. 5 in the vault (9.9).

Kentucky is led by freshmen Sidney Dukes, who ranks No. 18 in the all-around (39.22), and Katie Stuart, who is coming off career highs of 9.9 on the vault and 9.85 on the beam.

Sports on 02/26/2016

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