Arkansas looking for tiny improvements

By: Tom Murphy
Published: Friday, January 13, 2017
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 -- Tonight's meet against Missouri looked like the calm before the storm a week ago for the No. 12 Arkansas gymnastics team, which will host No. 4 Alabama, No. 1 LSU and No. 3 Florida within the next six weeks.

That was before the Tigers (2-0) broke out a 196.225 in their season opener against Ball State and vaulted 13 spots to No. 6 heading into tonight's meet at Barnhill Arena. Missouri's school-record opening score gave the Tigers their highest ranking in school history for Coach Shannon Welker.

No. 12 Arkansas vs. No. 6 Missouri

WHEN 7 p.m.

WHERE Barnhill Arena, Fayetteville

RECORDS Missouri 2-0, 0-0 SEC; Arkansas 0-1, 0-0 SEC

COACHES Shannon Welker (fourth year at Missouri); Mark Cook (15th year at Arkansas)


VAULT: No. 16 (tie) Arkansas (48.875), No. 19 (tie) Missouri (48.775). BARS: No. 7 Missouri (49.2), No. 17 Arkansas (48.825). BEAM: No. 7 (tie) Missouri (49.175), No. 12 Arkansas (48.9). FLOOR: No. 5 (tie) Missouri (49.075), No. 22 Arkansas (48.75)


ALL-AROUND: No. 15 Amanda Wellick (Ark) 39.3; No. 19 (tie) Aspen Tucker (Mizz) 39.175; No. 35 (tie) Jessica Yamzon (Ark) 38.925. VAULT: No. 9 (tie) Wellick (Ark) 9.9; No. 38 (tie) Britney Ward (Mizz) 9.825; No. 81 (tie) Braie Speed (Ark) and Madeleine Huber (Mizz) 9.775. BARS: No. 4 Huber (Mizz) 9.925; No. 33 (tie) Shauna Miller (Mizz) and Becca Schugel (Mizz) 9.85; No. 47 (tie) Wellick (Ark) and Hailey Garner (Ark) 9.825; Tucker (Mizz) 9.8; No. 88 (tie) Tia Albritten (Mizz) 9.775. BEAM: No. 28 (tie) Albritten (Mizz), Schugel (Mizz) and Tucker (Mizz) 9.85; No. 50 (tie) Garner (Ark), Alyson Heimsath (Mizz) 9.825; No. 70 (tie) Yamzon (Ark), Sydney McGlone (Ark) and Allison Bower (Mizz) 9.8. FLOOR: No. 23 (tie) Wellick (Ark), Kennedi Harris (Mizz) and Schugel (Mizz) 9.85; No. 46 (tie) Tucker (Mizz) 9.8; No. 86 (tie) Samantha Nelson (Ark) and Huber (Mizz) 9.775.


Arkansas leads the series 12-5, and has a nine-meet winning streak over the Tigers dating to March 16, 2012. … Missouri sophomore Morgan Porter, the SEC freshman of the year last season, is expected to return from a one-meet suspension after her misdemeanor arrest in August for fraudulent use of a credit device. … Missouri’s season-opening 196.225 marked a school-record for an opening meet by 0.875 points. …Former Arkansas All-American Casey Jo MacPherson who is in her third year as an assistant coach for Missouri, will be back at Barnhill for the second time since wrapping up her career at Arkansas with 71 event titles in 2011. Tickets are available through the Razorback Ticket Center at (479) 575-5151.

"They popped off a good score," Arkansas Coach Mark Cook said. "I know they want to come in here and beat us. It's our job to protect the Barn."

Arkansas moved up five spots in the rankings after a season-opening 195.70-195.35 loss at No. 4 UCLA.

"It was a good starting point for us," said Arkansas senior Amanda Wellick, who is ranked No. 15 in the all-around. "We just have to make some minor changes and I think we can really improve our score."

Wellick pointed to improved handstands on the uneven bars, sharper landings on the floor exercise and vault and fewer wobbles on the balance beam as areas the Razorbacks can tighten.

Arkansas senior Samantha Nelson pointed out the Razorbacks did not count a fall at UCLA.

"That's awesome for a season opener," Nelson said. "We're just going to focus in on those little tiny errors on each routine. So half a tenth here, half a tenth there and our overall score will go up easily."

Cook said Jessica Yamzon, an all-around competitor, and Hailey Garner, who performed on the bars and beam, had solid freshman debuts last week.

"We did a really good job," he said. "A trip across the country at a strong Pac-12 school with 7,000 people in the stands, it was a really good experience for us to open up and see how our team would respond. They did a really good job, especially our young ones.

"We didn't have any major flaws that we had to count, but we definitely have a lot of areas for improvement with execution."

Sports on 01/13/2017


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