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.
Razorback gymnasts stumble at Kentucky
Arkansas gymnast Kennedy Hambrick competes during an NCAA gymnastics meet against LSU on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021 in Baton Rouge, La. (AP Photo/Tyler Kaufman)
The University of Arkansas gymnastics team had a wobbly final rotation that proved costly on Friday night.
The No. 5 Razorbacks had one balance check after another on the balance beam while Kentucky was putting up a solid score on the floor exercise.
The late-meet surge gave the No. 15 Wildcats a season-high score and a 197.0-196.675 victory over the Razorbacks at Memorial Gym in Lexington, Ky.
Arkansas (1-4), the nation’s No. 3 team on the beam with an average score of 49.269, posted a season-low 48.75 on the event.
Kentucky (3-2) won its fifth consecutive dual meet over Arkansas and tightened the all-time series to 24-12.
Kentucky junior Josie Angeny capped a big night with a 9.875 on the floor to win the all-around at 39.5 over sophomore teammate Raena Worley, who scored 39.475 in the all-around and 9.9 on the floor.
Junior Kennedy Hambrick led the way for the Razorbacks with two event titles. Hambrick scored a 9.995 to win the floor exercise over Worley and Arkansas sophomore Bailey Lovett.
Hambrick also posted a 9.925 to win the vault by 0.025 over Worley. Hambrick was third in the all-around at 39.45, ahead of Kentucky freshman Bailey Bunn (39.35) and Arkansas senior Sarah Shaffer (39.15).
Arkansas took a slender lead of 0.125 after the first rotation with a strong performance on the uneven bars.
Grad transfer Maggie O’Hara, the nation’s No. 11 bar worker, led the way with an event-winning 9.95. Hambrick’s 9.9 tied Kentucky’s Josie Angeny for second place on the apparatus. The Razorbacks’ Shaffer and Kiara Gianfagna tied with 9.875s for fourth on the bars.
The Razorbacks and Wildcats tied on each of the next two rotations, with Arkansas scoring 49.275 on both the vault and floor exercise and Kentucky doing the same on the bars and balance beam.
The Arkansas floor score was below its third-ranked season average of 39.35.
The Razorbacks return to action next Friday at Barnhill Arena against Missouri.
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