Tom Murphy is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of Louisiana Tech University, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 football poll.
Arkansas looks to build off first victory
Hailey Garner of Arkansas dismounts from the beam against Missouri on Friday, Jan. 13, 2017 at Barnhill Arena in Fayetteville.
Arkansas broke out of a rough start with a home upset against No. 5 Alabama last week, and now the No. 24 Razorbacks gymnasts will try to carry their momentum on the road against No. 17 Auburn at 7 tonight at Auburn Arena.
"We were really proud of the girls and the way they responded at the Alabama meet, and now we're trying to get a little bit better," Arkansas Coach Mark Cook said. "Auburn's going to have a great crowd. There's going to be a lot of energy."
At a glance
Arkansas gymnastics at Auburn
WHEN 7 p.m. Central
WHERE Auburn Arena, Auburn, Ala.
RECORDS Arkansas 1-3, 1-2 SEC; Auburn 0-5, 0-4
RANKINGS No. 24 Arkansas (195.038); No. 17 Auburn (195.645)
SERIES Auburn leads 15-14
LAST YEAR Arkansas won 196.6 to 195.975 in Fayetteville, Auburn won 196.975 to 196.5 at SEC Championship in North Little Rock
COACHES Mark Cook (15th year at Arkansas); Jeff Graba (seventh year at Auburn)
EVENTS Vault: No. 20 Auburn 48.905, No. 24 Arkansas 48.838; Bars: No. 9 Auburn 49.07, No. 46 Arkansas 48.356; Beam: No. 15 (tie) Arkansas 48.95, No. 24 Auburn 48.665; Floor: No. 14 Auburn 49.005, No. 18 Arkansas 48.894.
TOP GYMNASTS (Top 100)
Vault: No. 48 Sydney McGlone (Ark) 9.837, No. 66 (tie) Gracie Day (Aub) 9.82, No. 79 Braie Speed (Ark) 9.812, No. 96 (tie) MJ Rott (Aub) 9.795.
Bars: No. 51 (tie) Emma Engler (Aub) and Day (Aub) 9.83, No. 83 (tie) Abby Milliet (Aub) 9.808.
Beam: No. No. 68 (tie) Jessica Yamzon (Ark) 9.813, No. 73 (tie) Milliet (Aub) 9.808, No. 80 (tie) Samantha Nelson (Ark) 9.8,
Floor: No. 66 (tie) Emma Slappey (Aub) 9.837, No. 73 Rott (Aub) 9.83, No. 91 (tie) Katie Becker (Aub) 9.817.
All-Around: No. 64 (tie) Yamzon (Ark) 38.844, No. 77 (tie) Milliet (Aub) 38.7.
Auburn will hold its annual “Are You Shorter Than Jeff Graba?” meet, in which fans shorter than the diminutive Graba will receive free admission. … Auburn has a 7-1 lead in the last eight meets between the programs and is 4-3 at home against Arkansas.
Arkansas, hit hard by injuries to senior All-American Amanda Wellick and freshman Sarah Shaffer, both all-arounders, began to find its footing with a season-high 195.85 last week in its third consecutive dual-meet victory over the Crimson Tide. Jessica Yamzon won her first all-around title in that meet with a 39.225, leading a surge by Arkansas (1-3, 1-2 SEC) freshmen, which included Michaela Burton, Hailey Garner and Kirby Rathjen.
Burton, Garner and Yamzon joined senior Samantha Nelson with 9.85s on Arkansas' meet-saving beam rotation last week. Garner is expected to add the bars to her duties this week. Sophomore Sydney McGlone, whose work on the vault and beam highlighted the Razorbacks' loss at Georgia on Jan. 20, is looking to have another big road meet against the Tigers.
Auburn (0-5, 0-4) has also been affected by injuries this season, like losing junior all-around Abby Milliet to a leg injury in a loss at Florida last Friday. The Tigers are coming off a season-low 194.675 loss to Alabama on Sunday.
Auburn Coach Jeff Graba called the Arkansas series a good rivalry.
"Arkansas has had our number early on in the series, but we've battled back and evened things up over the last couple seasons," Graba said. ""They're going to come into Auburn with some swagger and we have to figure things out quickly if we want to be successful."
Sports on 02/03/2017
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