Arkansas gymnastics hosts No. 1 Oklahoma at Bud Walton Arena

Arkansas gymnast Lauren Williams (left) speaks with coach Jordyn Wieber during a meet against Auburn on Friday, Jan. 26, 2024, in Fayetteville. (Andy Shupe/NWA Democrat-Gazette)

FAYETTEVILLE — The University of Arkansas gymnasts snapped dual-meet losing streaks the last couple of weeks against Kentucky and Missouri to make ripples in the SEC standings.

If the No. 12 Razorbacks can make it three dual-meet streak breakers in a row today, they’ll make national headlines.

Arkansas (7-5-1) hosts dominant No. 1 Oklahoma at 3:45 p.m. in its first Walton Arena meet of the season. The Sooners have won back-to-back NCAA titles and six out of the last nine national championships under Coach K.J. Kindler and they have not been topped this season.

Oklahoma (23-0) has won 19 consecutive competitions against Arkansas, including nine dual meets in a row dating to a 196.9 to 195.525 win by the Razorbacks on Jan. 26, 2009, in Norman, Okla.

Arkansas, 3-0 at home this season, is coming off a program-record 197.65 in a road win at Missouri last week. The Razorbacks have scored 197 or better in six of their nine meets this season and topped their previous high score twice, including a 197.525 at Alabama on Jan. 19.

Of their all-time 197s, 66.7% (18 of 27) have come during Coach Jordyn Wieber’s five years at the helm.

“We’re expecting a really good crowd,” Wieber said. “I know it’s out of our normal Friday night but I think that’s actually great. It’s a great time on Sunday for people to come out.

“We’ve been undefeated at home this year so we’re just excited for another opportunity to be in front of our fans. Having No. 1 Oklahoma here is obviously just an incredible opportunity. They’re such a fantastic team and program and I have so much respect for their coaching staff and their athletes. We think it’s going to be a great competition.”

Oklahoma has scored 197.775 or better in all 10 of its competitions and 198 or better in seven meets in a row, including a season-high 198.675 against West Virginia on Feb. 23.

The Sooners have the highest national qualifying score in the country at 198.42, lead the nation on the vault, uneven bars and balance beam, and rank second on the floor exercise.

Oklahoma gymnasts Jordan Bowers and Audrey Davis are the nation’s top uneven bar workers at 9.97 NQS and Ragan Smith is the highest-ranked athlete on the balance beam (9.99).

Arkansas posted a school-record 49.575 on the balance beam in the final rotation to hold off Missouri by a fraction last week.

“One thing that our team reflected on was the fact that they went into the last rotation they didn’t really have a clue what the scores where,” Wieber said. “They weren’t really like paying attention to them and that really helped them just go to beam and honestly do what we see them do in training every day.

“We’ve been pushing them really hard on every event but beam especially, just with some mental challenges over the last few weeks. With all of that work under their belts they were able to go into that last rotation and relax and be themselves and just hit one routine after another.”

For the first time in school history, the Razorbacks NQS score of 197.335 is composed of all 197s or better.

“It feels really good … like things are obviously headed in a great direction for this program,” Wieber said. “We’ve been working really hard, not just this year but every single year, to continue building and implementing a culture that allows us to get where we are now and continue on from here.

“The biggest piece of that is … the next level for them has been the belief in themselves and being able to go into any arena, no matter the opponent, and believe that they not only can compete well but that they can win a meet.

“That belief is growing the more they have successful performances like they did on Sunday. It’s exciting because I think that belief is going to continue to grow and translate from year to year with this program.”

Arkansas has its highest national ranking at No. 9 on the floor exercise (49.52), where sophomores Frankie Price and Lauren Williams are both tied for ninth with 9.945 NQS. Williams is also 15th in the country on the vault (9.9).

Other top 30 gymnasts for the Razorbacks are juniors Kalyxta Gamiao at No. 28 on the balance beam (9.895) and Maddie Jones at No. 29 on the floor exercise (9.915).