Razorbacks looking for two in a row

By: Tom Murphy
Published: Friday, February 7, 2020
Arkansas' Kennedy Hambrick performs on the bar during a gymnastics meet against Kentucky on Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, at Barnhill Arena in Fayetteville.
Photo by Charlie Kaijo
Arkansas' Kennedy Hambrick performs on the bar during a gymnastics meet against Kentucky on Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, at Barnhill Arena in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE -- The University of Arkansas snapped its dual meet losing streak at 10 last week at Missouri, giving the Razorbacks a chance at putting together back-to-back wins for the first time in three years tonight.

It won't come easy for the No. 15 Razorbacks, who host No. 10 Georgia at 7 p.m. at Barnhill Arena. Arkansas (1-4, 1-2 SEC) has lost its last four competitions to the Bulldogs and last won a dual meet against Georgia on Jan. 26, 2018.

Arkansas Gymnastics vs. Georgia

WHEN 6 p.m.

WHERE Barnhill Arena, Fayetteville

RECORDS Georgia 5-4, 1-2 SEC; Arkansas 1-4, 1-2

RANKINGS Georgia is No. 10 (196.46); Arkansas is No. 15 (196.09)

SERIES Georgia leads 36-4-1

TV SEC Network

COACHES Courtney Kupets Carter (third year at Georgia); Jordyn Wieber (first year at Arkansas)

EVENTS Vault: No. 13 Georgia 49.055, No. 26 Arkansas 48.78; Bars: No. 17 Arkansas 49.03, No. 27 Georgia 48.795; Beam: No. 6 Georgia 49.255, No. 21 Arkansas 48.87; Floor: No. 4 Georgia 49.355, No. 5 Arkansas 49.32

TOP ATHLETES (top 100)

All-around: No. 21 Kennedy Hambrick (UA) 39.255, No. 40 Kiara Gianfagna (UA) 39.106, No. 42 Jessica Yamzon (UA) 39.085, No. 48 Rachael Lukacs (UGA) 39.045,

Vault: No. 33 Lukacs (UGA) 9.845, No. 49 Sarah Shaffer (UA) 9.83, No. 52 (tie) Abbey Ward (UGA), Soraya Hawthorne (UGA) 9.825, No. 80 Sabrina Vega (UGA) 9.806

Bars: No. 50 Hambrick (UA) 9.84, No. 69 Bailey Lovett (UA) 9.825, No. 77 Sydney Laird (UA) 9.82, No. 94 Haley De Jong (UGA) 9.81

Beam: No. 23 (tie) Rachel Baumann (UGA) and Vega (UGA) 9.87, No. 38 De Jong (UGA) 9.845, No. 51 Mikayla Magee (UGA) 9.825, No. 70 Yamzon (UA) 9.805

Floor: No. 6 Vega (UGA) 9.931, No. 12 Sophia Carter (UA) 9.905, No. 15 Hawthorne (UGA) 9.9, No. 18 Lukacs (UGA) 9.895, No. 26 (tie) Lovett (UA) and Hambrick (UA) 9.885, No. 44 Shaffer (UA) 9.867, No. 48 Amanda Cashman (UGA) 9.863, No. 76 Baumann (UGA) 9.84, No. 97 Magee (UGA) 9.825

MEET NOTES

Arkansas’ last victory over Georgia was a 196.425 to 196.35 decision at the SEC Championships in St. Louis on March 24, 2018. The Razorbacks also won their dual meet that year by 197.175 to 196.125 at Barnhill Arena. … Georgia won three meetings against the Razorbacks last year, scoring 197 or better in all three meets. The Bulldogs won 197.475 to 196.125 in Athens, Ga., on Feb. 1, 197.35 to 197.0 in Birmingham, Ala., on March 8, and 197.0 to 196.475 at SECs in New Orleans on March 23. … Georgia senior Sabrina Vega was named SEC specialist of the week after posting a 9.95 on the floor exercise and a season-best 9.925 on the beam. … Georgia downed Auburn last week 197.425 to 196.35 with a 49.6 on the floor exercise.

The Razorbacks had scored 196.55 or better in their last three meets before beating Missouri with a 196.025 that included shaky showings on the uneven bars and the vault.

"That felt great," said Arkansas sophomore Kennedy Hambrick who earned the second all-around title of her career. " To have that win was a really big booster for us and we need to keep doing that."

First-year Arkansas Coach Jordyn Wieber said the excitement over the win came with a caveat.

"It was our first one of the season, first win for us as a coaching staff here at Arkansas," she said. "It's great, but at the same time ... our win-loss record isn't the most important thing.

"It's obviously nice to win meets, but it's not the most important thing. The most important thing is the score. We didn't have our best performance on vault and bars. We know what we need to work on, we dialed it in in the gym this week and we're excited to make those improvements on Friday."

The Razorbacks could get a boost from the return of Amanda Elswick, who has been dealing with a shin issue since the start of the season.

"We're playing with the idea of maybe having her on the vault this weekend," Wieber said. "Still undecided. We're going to play it by ear."

The Razorbacks have put Hambrick, the nation's No. 21 all-around performer, and senior Jessica Yamzon up on all four events each week, and freshman Kiara Gianfagna has gone in the all-around in four of five meets.

Arkansas has performed in front of boisterous crowds in its first two home meets, including a school record 6,714 in its home opener against Denver.

"I'm expecting to see what we've saw the last two home meets," Gianfagna said. "Lots of people and lots of cheering. We love the students. We want them there and interacting."

Sports on 02/07/2020

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