Arkansas gymnasts look for big showing in final home meet of regular season

Arkansas gymnast Jensen Scalzo is shown, Friday, Jan. 13, 2022, after her uneven bars routine during the Razorbacks' meet with Alabama at Barnhill Arena in Fayetteville. (Andy Shupe/NWA Democrat-Gazette)

FAYETTEVILLE — Senior Night is on tap for the resurgent University of Arkansas gymnastics team tonight as the Razorbacks aim to cap a big home season and spring toward the postseason.

No. 12 Arkansas (7-6-1) can improve to 4-1 in home meets with a win over No. 29 Nebraska (11-8) at 7 p.m. at Walton Arena on Friday. 

The Razorbacks will be right back in Walton for a home NCAA regional on April 3 after the SEC Championships in New Orleans on March 23.

While Arkansas has only one home loss — last week against dominant No. 1 Oklahoma at Walton Arena — they have twice produced program-record scores this season on the road, with a 197.525 in a tie at Alabama on Jan. 19 and 197.65 in a win at Missouri two weeks ago.

Fifth-year Arkansas Coach Jordyn Wieber said she would like to see those kind of performances take place in the home gym.

“It’s been interesting because we’re hosting regionals, so a lot of the discussion has been we’ve obviously had some really fantastic performances and program records, but they’ve been on the road this year,” Wieber said.

“So … just making Bud feel like our home arena. I think having these last two opportunities in there will really, really help and serve us for regionals. So I’m hoping Friday night can be a little stronger performance on all four events so that we could feel really good going into Day 1 of regionals here in a couple of weeks.”

The Razorbacks will honor seniors Jensen Scalzo, Sirena Linton and Emma Kelley after the conclusion of the meet.

Arkansas, which has won four of the last five meetings against Nebraska, will compete against the Cornhuskers for the third season in a row while looking for its first home win over them.

The Razorbacks scored more than 197 for the school-record seventh time this season last week, but their 49.025 on the uneven bars was far below their national qualifying score standard of 49.34.

“We gave away a lot of points on handstands and landings,” Wieber said.

Nebraska, under former Husker and sixth-year Coach Heather Brink, has notched its top two scores in the last two weeks, going for 197.125 and 197.15 in a pair of home tri-meets.

The Razorbacks have posted 29 scores of 197 in their history and 19 of them have occurred under Wieber’s watch.

Arkansas has three gymnasts ranked in the top 15 nationally, with Lauren Williams ninth on the vault (9.91 NQS), Frankie Price ninth on the floor exercise (9.95) and Williams 13th on the floor (9.945).