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.
No. 6 Alabama standing in way of UA gymnasts
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 University of Arkansas gymnastics team has built momentum, confidence and buzz with back-to-back dual-meet wins over Missouri and Georgia.
Now it's back to the top-10 grind for rookie Coach Jordyn Wieber and the improving Razorbacks, who travel to No. 6 Alabama for an SEC dual meet at 6 tonight as part of the SEC Network's Friday Night Lights.
At a glance
Arkansas Gymnastics at Alabama
WHEN 6 p.m. Central
WHERE Coleman Coliseum, Tuscaloosa, Ala.
RECORDS Arkansas 2-4, 2-2 SEC; Alabama 3-3-1, 2-1
RANKINGS Alabama is No. 6 (196.865); Arkansas is No. 14 (196.233)
SERIES Alabama leads 36-5-1
TV SEC Network
COACHES Jordyn Wieber (2-4 in first year at Arkansas); Dana Duckworth (112-51-2 in sixth year at Alabama)
EVENTS Vault: No. 10 Alabama 49.125, No. 27 Arkansas 48.867; Uneven bars: No. 4 Alabama 49.36, No. 14 Arkansas 49.096; Balance beam: No. 11 Alabama 49.08, No. 18 Arkansas 48.938; Floor exercise: No. 5 Arkansas 49.333, No. 7 Alabama 49.3
TOP ATHLETES (top 100)
All-around No. 7 Makarri Doggette (Ala) 39.5, No. 21 Kennedy Hambrick (Ark) 39.313, No. 29 Lexi Graber (Ala) 39.262, No. 45 Kiara Gianfagna (Ark) 39.11, No. 49 Jessica Yamzon (Ark) 39.083
Vault No. 15 (tie) Amanda Elswick (Ark) and Doggette (Ala) 9.875, No. 57 (tie) Ella Burgess (Ala) and Luisa Blanco (Ala) 9.825, No. 65 Sarah Shaffer (Ark) 9.817, No. 70 Graber (Ala) 9.815, No. 89 Shea Mahoney (Ala) 9.8
Uneven bars No. 9 Doggette (Ala) 9.9, No. 13 Mahoney (Ala) 9.888, No. 20 Jensie Givens (Ala) 9.87, No. 25 Emily Gaskins (Ala) 9.862, No. 28 Hambrick (Ark) 9.858, No. 34 Graber (Ala) 9.855, No. 59 Bailey Lovett (Ark) 9.833, No. 63 Kylie Dickson (Ala) 9.831, No. 71 Sydney Laird (Ark) 9.825, No. 83 Winter Childers (Ala) 9.819, No. 89 Gianfagna (Ark) 9.815
Balance beam No. 9 Blanco (Ala) 9.895, No. 68 Yamzon (Ark) 9.808, No. 75 (tie) Alonza Klopfer (Ala), Maddie Desch (Ala) and Shallon Olsen (Ala) 9.8
Floor exercise No. 14 (tie) Sophia Carter (Ark) and Graber (Ala) 9.9, No. 22 (tie) Lovett (Ark) and Hambrick (Ark) 9.892, No. 26 Desch (Ala) 9.89, No. 48 Shaffer (Ark) 9.869, No. 78 Olsen (Ala) 9.845, No. 93 Doggette (Ala) 9.835
Arkansas junior Sophia Carter is the reigning SEC co-specialist of the week after notching the ninth balance beam title of her career, tying teammate Kennedy Hambrick with a 9.925 in a win over Georgia last week. … The meet is billed as “80s Night” in Coleman Coliseum. … Arkansas is 1-7 in dual meets at Alabama, the lone win a 196.7 to 196.4 decision on Jan. 22, 2016.
The No. 14 Razorbacks (2-4, 2-2 SEC) were one wobble away from their first 197 since last March in last week's 196.985 to 196.785 win over Georgia.
Wieber said the Razorbacks are primed to start aiming for the 197 mark.
"I'm always thinking where that half-tenth can come from," she said after the Georgia victory. "We're working to get better and better on vault. ... Landings are the biggest thing."
Alabama will be the fourth top-10 opponent faced by the Razorbacks, following losses to No. 3 Florida, No. 3 Denver and No. 1 Oklahoma.
The Crimson Tide (4-3, 2-1) are on a roll, coming off a win at No. 9 LSU, followed by a season-high 197.55 in a win over Missouri last week.
Arkansas sophomore Kennedy Hambrick has snared back-to-back all-around titles and is 21st in the NCAA all-around rankings. She thinks the Razorbacks are starting to find their stride after hitting season bests on the uneven bars and balance beam last week.
"I think we can get even better than that," Hambrick said last week. "We've moving up, and I know this isn't even close to what we can do."
Arkansas is aiming to win three consecutive dual meets for the first time since closing out the 2016 regular season with wins over Maryland, Kentucky, Missouri and Utah State.
Sports on 02/14/2020
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