UA gymnastics faces first non-top 20 team

By: Tom Murphy
Published: Friday, February 24, 2017
Arkansas head coach Mark Cook congratulates Mia Bargiacchi on her floor routine against Missouri Friday, Jan. 13, 2017 at Barnhill Arena in Fayetteville.
Photo by Anthony Reyes
Arkansas head coach Mark Cook congratulates Mia Bargiacchi on her floor routine against Missouri Friday, Jan. 13, 2017 at Barnhill Arena in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE -- The No. 21 University of Arkansas at Fayetteville gymnastics team faces its first opponent outside of the top 16 t̶o̶d̶a̶y̶ Saturday,* but the Razorbacks will take on struggling Michigan State University on the road with another injury concern.

Sophomore Sydney McGlone is questionable with an undisclosed injury for the Razorbacks (2-5), who take on the Spartans (2-6) today at 1 p.m. at Jenison Field House in Lansing, Mich.

WHEN 1 p.m.

WHERE Jenison Field House, Lansing, Mich.

RECORDS Arkansas 2-5, Michigan State 2-6

RANKINGS No. 21 Arkansas (195.535 regional qualifying score), No. 42 Michigan State (194.18)

SERIES Arkansas leads 1-0

LAST MEETING Arkansas 196.076, Michigan State 194.725 on March 21, 2008, in Fayetteville

COACHES Mark Cook (180-221-3 in 15th year at Arkansas, 250-254-4 in 19th year overall); Mike Rowe (0-1 in interim role at Michigan State)

EVENTS Vault: No. 22 Arkansas 48.9, No. 51 Michigan State 48.35; Bars: 27 Arkansas 48.82, No. 44 Michigan State 48.505; Beam: No. 20 Arkansas 48.955, No. 35 Michigan State 48.585; Floor: No. 20 Arkansas 48.98, No. 33 (tie) Michigan State 48.86

TOP GYMNASTS (Top 100)

Vault: No. 51 (tie) Sydney McGlone (Ark ) and Braie Speed (Ark) 9.82

Bars: No. 52 (tie) Lindsey Lemke (MSU) 9.83, No. 95 (tie) Speed (Ark) 9.79

Beam: No. 58 (tie) Jessica Yamzon (Ark) 9.82, No. 79 (tie) Samantha Nelson (Ark) 9.8

Floor: No. 43 (tie) Nicola Dean (MSU) and Kira Frederick (MSU) 9.845, No. 70 (tie) Nelson (Ark) 9.82

All-Around: No. 28 Yamzon (Ark ) 38.955, No. 31 (tie) Deans (MSU) 38.92

NOTEWORTHY

Arkansas faces its first opponent out of the top 16 after competing against No. 4 UCLA, No. 6 Missouri, No. 16 Georgia, No. 5 Alabama, No. 17 Auburn, No. 2 LSU and No. 3 Florida during the first seven weeks. … The meet is the Spartans’ annual breast cancer awareness competition, with fans encouraged to wear pink. … Michigan State Coach Mike Rowe was a professional dancer from 1985-97 in New York City, and on national and international tours.

McGlone took a hard tumble a couple of weeks ago in vault practice, and although she's passed an MRI exam, she's still feeling effects from the fall.

"She's still suffering a little bit from that, and we're not sure if she's going to be competing, so that's a little blow to us," Arkansas Coach Mark Cook said.

Heather Elswick, who has been recovering from wrist surgery, might get her first run on the vault today. Cook said he might put only five gymnasts -- Elswick, fellow senior Samantha Nelson, freshman Jessica Yamzon, junior Mia Bargiacchi and sophomore Makenzie Anderson -- up on the floor exercise if McGlone, who has captured two event titles this year, is unable to go.

The Spartans have had woes on a different level the last couple of weeks. Coach Kathie Klages, who had been at the school for 27 years, resigned Feb. 14, the day after she was suspended by Michigan State. The suspension followed allegations that she downplayed concerns from athletes regarding medical treatment from team doctor Larry Nassar, who is the subject of numerous civil and criminal complaints from former female patients who are alleging sexual abuse.

Michigan State has lost five consecutive dual meets and has broken 195 only once. The Spartans scored 194.025 in a loss at the University of Illinois last week, their first meet under interim Coach Mike Rowe.

The Razorbacks jumped two spots in the first set of rankings that featured regional qualifying scores this week. Arkansas' score is 195.535 and Michigan State's score is 194.18.

Cook said he doesn't anticipate a lack of focus with his team out of the SEC grind for a week.

"A lot of times we don't really respond to another program being stronger or weaker," Cook said. "You just have to go up there and do your job. It does give us an opportunity to notch another win for our season."

Sports on 02/24/2017

*CORRECTION: The Arkansas Razorbacks gymnastics meet against Michigan State takes place Saturday, Feb. 25, at 1 p.m. A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the wrong day.

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