Tom Murphy is a sports 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. He was the 2017 Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year.
Gym'Backs sent back to Norman
Arkansas coach Jordyn Wieber watches Friday, Jan. 13, 2023, during the Razorbacks' meet with Alabama in Barnhill Arena in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE — The venue and the top competition will be familiar for the Arkansas gymnastics team as the Razorbacks start their NCAA postseason journey next week.
No. 17 University of Arkansas was assigned on Monday to the NCAA Norman (Okla.) Regional where they will be paired against host and defending NCAA champion Oklahoma and potentially a pair of SEC adversaries for the competition starting March 29 at the Noble Center.
The Razorbacks (5-14), making their 19th consecutive NCAA regional appearance, will take on the No. 1 Sooners, No. 16 Ohio State and one other qualifier in the second round on Thursday, March 30. No. 30 North Carolina State and No. 34 Ball State will compete on site the previous day for the right to advance.
The other regional semifinal will feature No. 8 Alabama and No. 9 Kentucky out of the SEC, as well as two Big Ten teams in No. 22 Illinois and No. 25 Iowa. The top two teams from each of the semifinals will move on to the regional finals Saturday, April 1, which will produce two qualifiers for the NCAA Championships in Fort Worth on April 13-15.
Fourth-year Coach Jordyn Wieber’s Razorbacks placed seventh at last weekend’s SEC Championships in Duluth, Ga., with a 196.825, the program’s best score in that event.
Senior Norah Flatley and freshman Lauren Williams led the way for the Razorbacks with a pair of 9.9s each on the floor exercise and the vault. Cami Weaver and Frankie Price also notched 9.9s on the vault as the Razorbacks won that event in Session I with a 49.425.
Arkansas will be looking to advance to the NCAA Championships for the ninth time in school history and the first time since finishing 10th in 2018.
The Razorbacks advanced in last year’s NCAA Norman Regional before falling to top-ranked Oklahoma, No. 8 Minnesota and No. 9 California in the regional final.
Arkansas finished 0-4 against competitors in this year’s regional, falling in dual meets and the SEC championship to Alabama and Kentucky.
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