Record score has Arkansas gymnastics coach Wieber thrilled

Arkansas gymnastics coach Jordyn Wieber is shown during a meet against Georgia on Friday, Jan. 12, 2024, in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE — While the Arkansas Razorbacks gymnastics team didn’t get a road win at Alabama last Friday, it did pass the Crimson Tide in the weekly rankings.

The Razorbacks’ school-record score of 197.525 was good for a tie at Coleman Coliseum, leaving them at No. 4 in this week’s rankings, which are based on average scores.

Alabama slipped from No. 3 to No. 6 with an average of 197.292.

Under fifth-year Coach Jordyn Wieber, Arkansas has opened with back-to-back 197s for the first time in school history and has an average of 197.338, which is just behind LSU (197.417) for tops in the SEC.

“It’s just this team continues to grow and develop and get better and better,” Wieber said after the historic score against Alabama. “They believe this is who we are. We have more in the tank.”

Defending NCAA champion Oklahoma, which has won or shared six of the last nine national titles under Coach K.J. Kindler, tops the rankings with an average score of 198.025. The Sooners are followed by emerging power California (197.533).

The depth of the SEC is revealed in the rest of the top 10, with LSU, Arkansas and Alabama followed by No. 7. Kentucky (197.283), No. 8 Florida (197.213) and No. 9 Missouri (197.008). The SEC has six of the top nine teams.

The rest of the eight-team league is not far behind, with Auburn (196.883) in 13th and Georgia (196.533) in 18th.

Arkansas hosts Auburn at 7 p.m. Friday at Barnhill Arena.

The Razorbacks have added small degrees of difficulties to their routines this season, but their improved scoring has been largely in the details: more vertical hand-stands, fewer wobbles, more stuck landings.

Moreover, the roster depth has been on display through two meets, with their massively talented sophomore class, led by Rogers product Lauren Williams, Leah Smith and Frankie Price, complemented by Maddie Jones and ace specialists like Jensen Scalzo, Kalyxta Gamiao and Makenzie Sedlacek. 

Add in freshman all-arounder Priscilla Park, fellow newcomers Sierra Linton and Hailey Klein, and the other sophomores Cami Weaver, Cally Swaney, Reese Drotar and Jaime Pratt, and Wieber has a collection of strong routines to make out her lineup each week.

All of those gymnasts helped Arkansas score no lower than 49.3 on any event in Tuscaloosa, Ala., to shape their school-record score and snap a 17-meet losing streak against Alabama.

“They just continue to impress me,” Wieber said Friday night. “They’re so talented.”

The game plan this week, Wieber added, was, “Just keeping our eyes focused on what got us here so far.”