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. Murphy was the 2017 Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year.
Razorbacks earn winning streak
Arkansas' Kennedy Hambrick competes Friday, Feb. 7, 2020, in the beam portion of the Razorbacks' meet with Georgia in Barnhill Arena in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE -- The No. 15 Arkansas Razorbacks went big on the uneven bars and floor exercise to rack up a season-high score and edge No. 10 Georgia 196.95 to 196.75 on Friday.
A crowd of 4,375 at Barnhill Arena watched the Razorbacks post their first back-to-back wins in dual meets in more than three years. They also came within a few shaky landings on the vault of posting their first 197 under first-year Coach Jordyn Wieber.
No. 15 Arkansas 196.95,
No. 10 Georgia 196.75
Bars (49.025) Rachael Lukacs 9.725, Amanda Cashman 9.725, Loulie Hattaway 9.825, Megan Roberts 9.85, Haley De Jong 9.75, Marissa Oakley 9.875
Vault (48.975) Rachel Baumann 9.8, Abbey Ward 9.75, Roberts 9.8, Mikayla Magee 9.775, Soraya Hawthorne 9.125, Lukacs 9.85
Floor (49.35) Alyssa Perez-Lugones 9.75, Roberts 9.8, Lukacs 9.875, Hawthorne 9.875, Baumann 9.85, Sabrina Vega 9.95
Beam (49.4) Magee 9.9, Lukacs 9.725, De Jong 9.925, Oakley 9.875, Baumann 9.775, Vega 9.925
Vault (48.85) Jessica Yamzon 9.65, Kiara Gianfagna 9.675, Madison Hickey 9.75, Kennedy Hambrick 9.8, Sarah Shaffer 9.75, Amanda Elswick 9.875
Bars (49.425) Yamzon 9.825, Gianfagna 9.875, Hailey Garner 9.875, Bailey Lovett 9.875, Hambrick 9.95, Sydney Laird 9.85
Beam (49.275) Yamzon 9.825, Gianfagna 9.775, Lovett 9.825, Hambrick 9.925, Sophia Carter 9.925, Shaffer 9.725
Floor (49.4) Yamzon 9.775, Gianfagna 9.8, Hambrick 9.925, Shaffer 9.875, Lovett 9.925, Carter 9.875
All-around 1. Kennedy Hambrick (UA) 39.6, 2. Rachael Lukacs (UGA) 39.175, 3. Kiara Gianfagna (UA) 39.125, 4. Jessica Yamzon (UA) 39.0875
"I'm really happy with what happened today," Wieber said. "Obviously it's good to get another win under their belts, especially against a program like Georgia. I just feel like the team is really building momentum and carrying it from meet to meet. It's exciting to do it in your home arena. The crowd was incredible."
The University of Arkansas (2-4, 2-2 SEC) won back-to-back dual meets for the first time since beating Alabama and winning at Auburn on Jan. 27 and Feb. 3, 2017.
Kennedy Hambrick blazed to a career-best 39.6 to claim the all-around title, her second in as many weeks, to lead the Razorbacks. She won the uneven bars with a career-high 9.95, and tied for the title on the balance beam with teammate Sophia Carter and Georgia's Sabrina Vega and Haley De Jong.
"I chose to have fun and not have any nerves," Hambrick, a sophomore, said. "That felt so great. I love being able to share that with my team and all the fans and everything. It was just a great feeling."
Arkansas posted season-high scores on the uneven bars (49.425) and the balance beam (49.275). The Razorbacks got a boost with the season debut of sophomore Amanda Elswick, who won the vault with a 9.875 in the anchor position.
The Razorbacks clinched the meet through five routines on the floor exercise, boosted by 9.925s from Hambrick and redshirt freshman Bailey Lovett. Carter, a junior, gave Arkansas more breathing room with a 9.875 in the anchor spot on floor, tying teammate Sarah Shaffer for fourth in the event. Georgia senior Sabrina Vega won with a 9.95.
Arkansas won back-to-back home meets over the Bulldogs (5-5, 1-3) for the first time and improved to 5-36-1 in the all-time series.
Georgia Coach Courtney Kupets Carter said her team had to make last-minute changes on the vault due to injuries, and she was pleased with the team score.
"To me, what they overcame through this competition is going to pay off in the long run when they're healthy and when everything is going the way they want," she said.
The Razorbacks struggled on their vault landings once again and fell behind by 0.175 in the first rotation by scoring 48.85 to Georgia's 49.025 in the event.
Arkansas made up the deficit and then some with a 49.425 on the bars, the sixth-best score in school history. All six Razorbacks stuck their landings in the event. Hambrick's event-winning 9.95 included a 10 from one judge.
The Razorbacks took a 98.275 to 98.0 lead at the halfway mark, but Georgia tightened it up to 147.55 to 147.35 with a solid 49.35 on the floor.
The teams traded 49.4s on the final routine to set the final score.
The Razorbacks return to action next Friday at Alabama.
Sports on 02/08/2020
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