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Hogs Gymnastics

After off date, Arkansas goes on road to face 15th-ranked Kentucky

After a mid-season bye week, Arkansas’ is well rested and ready for its road trip to Lexington for a Friday-night showdown at Kentucky.

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After a mid-season bye week, Arkansas’ gymnastics team is well rested and ready for its road trip to Lexington for a Friday-night showdown at No. 15 Kentucky.

Last time out

The Gymbacks took down No. 10 Georgia inside Stegeman Coliseum, 196.875-195.950, for the Razorbacks’ first-ever win in Athens.

Sarah Shaffer won her first floor title of the season, while Kennedy Hambrick took home her second all-around title in four meets.

After an uncharacteristic leadoff fall on the beam, Bailey Lovett followed with a career-high 9.925 for a share of the event title with Hambrick. Arkansas also recorded a season-high 49.175 on the vault and the second-highest team score of the season in the win, 196.875.

Arkansas enters the week ranked No. 5 in the all-around by Road to Nationals, while remaining at the No. 3 spot on both the beam and floor exercise.

Four Gymbacks rank among the top 15 in the nation in each of the four events: Sophia Carter ranks ninth on the floor, Maggie O’Hara ranks 11th on the uneven bars, Hambrick ranks 12th on the balance beam and Amanda Elswick ranks 13th on the vault.

The scout and series

Arkansas is looking to bounce back from a close loss against Kentucky in Barnhill last season, aiming for its first win against the Wildcats of the Jordyn Wieber era.

Overall, the Gymbacks are on the hunt for the program’s first win in Lexington since 2011.

The Gymbacks are also competing for their first back-to-back road wins since 2016, when Arkansas defeated Maryland and then Missouri on the road.

Kentucky will be hosting the Razorbacks after a loss to Alabama at home (196.775-196.400), the Wildcats are 2-2 on the season and 1-1 at home, claiming a win versus Auburn (196.225-194.575) in week two.

In their meet against Alabama, the Wildcats surpassed the 49-point threshold on every event for the first time this season, producing season highs on the balance beam (49.175) and floor (49.250).

The Wildcats are led by 10th-year coach Tim Garrison, who notched his 100th career victory last season.

Kentucky returns All-SEC junior Josie Angeny, as well as 2020 SEC All-Freshman honoree Raena Worley.

The Wildcats, however, are looking to replace the production of 11-time All-American Mollie Korth and three additional 2020 graduates.

Friday night’s meet will be available on SEC Network+ and is slated to start at 6 p.m.

Information from Arkansas Communications is included in this story.

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Hogs Gymnastics

Gymbacks tie floor season high, but lose team score to Bama

Arkansas closed out its final home meet of the year in Barnhill Arena, tying its season high on the floor.

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Arkansas closed out its final home meet of the year in Barnhill Arena, tying its season high on the floor.

Four Gymbacks scored 9.925 en route to the team’s 49.575 in the final rotation. Arkansas ultimately fell to No. 7 Alabama, 197.325-197.000.

On vault, Arkansas saw big performances from junior Savannah Pennese and Sarah Shaffer. Pennese’s Yurchenko full and Shaffer’s Yurchenko layout half both scored a 9.800 towards Arkansas’ 48.850 team total.

The Gymbacks continued their upward climb on the bars with every countable routine scoring 9.825 or higher.

Back in the lineup this week, freshman Jensen Scalzo showed off her blind-change jaeger to immediate overshoot and scored a season-best 9.875.

Maggie O’Hara beautifully executed her bail handstand and double-layout dismount and earned a 9.950 in the anchor spot and secured her fifth event title of the season.

Moving along to the third rotation, sophomore Kiara Gianfagna scored a career-high as the leadoff for Arkansas, nailing her back-handspring layout to score a 9.875.

O’Hara continued her success as a specialist, performing her routine wonderfully and sticking her side-ariel 1.5 dismount to score a 9.875 in the number three spot.

The Gymback anchors were crucial to the solid all-around team performance Friday night, as Kennedy Hambrick stepped up on beam and registered a 9.950 after sticking her cartwheel, gainer-full dismount.

Arkansas matched its season-high from last week against Missouri on floor, thanks to all six Gymback routines scoring 9.850 or better.

Abby Johnston kick-started the floor party with a career-high 9.925, wowing the crowd inside Barnhill with her double-pike first pass. Hambrick’s fun and energetic routine, complete with an exciting double-tuck opening pass, scored a 9.925 as well.

Shaffer and Sophia Carter performed their final routines at Barnhill Arena and rightfully earned a standing ovation from fans, both Gymbacks signed off with a 9.925 on floor.

Seniors Shaffer, Carter, O’Hara and former Gymback, now student manager Sydney Laird were honored after the meet for their dedication to the program.

Arkansas travels to Auburn next Friday for the regular-season finale beginning at 7 p.m. on SEC Network+.

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Hogs Gymnastics

Gymbacks finish second in quad meet with second-highest score of season

Arkansas bounced back in Denton on Friday, posting a score of 196.300 and earning a second-place finish among the four teams at the meet.

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DENTON, Texas — Arkansas bounced back in Denton on Friday, posting a score of 196.300 and earning a second-place finish among the four teams at the meet at Texas Women’s University.

The Razorbacks’ 196.300 is their second-highest road score of the season.

Freshman Kiara Gianfagna claimed her first title since arriving at Arkansas, claiming the all-around title with a final score of 39.000.

The Gymbacks won five total titles, including Sarah Shaffer’s vault title, a bars title for Kennedy Hamrick and Bailey Lovett and a floor title for Sophia Carter.

Rotation One | Beam

Arkansas made it a point to finish strong on their opening event and with the help of Carter and Amanda Elswick, closed out the first rotation in second place with a team score of 48.950. Carter’s back handspring layout, step-out series propelled her to a 9.850 in the fifth spot, followed by a solid anchor score from Elswick, who’s back handspring 1.5 stuck dismount landed her a 9.875. Elswick’s 9.875 ties her season high, as she finished second among all competitors in the event.

Rotation Two | Floor

Two rotations in-a-row, we saw Carter shine. She earned the event title with a 9.925, her sixth score of 9.900 or higher in the event this season. Leading up to Carter’s fiery routine, Shaffer, Hambrick and Lovett all scored a 9.875. Arkansas was holding steady in second place midway through the meet with a combined score of 98.325, the Gymbacks highest two-rotation score of the season.

Rotation Three | Vault

Shaffer’s Yurchenko layout half was the highlight of the vault rotation for Arkansas, earning a perfect score from one judge, Shaffer finished with a career-high 9.925 on the apparatus. It’s the highest score on the vault since 2018 when Braie Speed posted the same score at No. 5 Florida. Freshman Madison Hickey also saw a career-high on the vault, her Yurchenko full complete with stuck dismount landed her a 9.875.

 Rotation Four | Bars

Arkansas closed out the night on a high note, with its highest bars rotation in four weeks (49.150). Gianfagna started strong for the Gymbacks, posting a 9.800 with her full-twisting double-back dismount. Lovett executed her ray beautifully and Hambrick nailed her giant full, double-back as the duo each earned the event title with a score of 9.875.

Information from Razorback Sports Communications is included in this story.

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Hogs Gymnastics

Carter ties career high on floor, wins 23rd career title in team loss at LSU

Junior Sophia Carter won her 23rd career title on Friday evening, tying her career-high score on the floor with a 9.950 in the event.

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BATON ROUGE, La. — Junior Sophia Carter won her 23rd career title on Friday evening, tying her career-high score on the floor with a 9.950 in the event.

Carter’s performance helped Arkansas finish strong against No. 5 LSU but ultimately fell to the Tigers in Baton Rouge, 197.125 – 195.725.

Rotation One | Bars

Three performances highlighted the Gymbacks’ first rotation, starting with a 9.850 from senior Hailey Garner, who executed her giant full-Geinger, immediate overshoot beautifully.

Sophomore Kennedy Hambrick’s jaeger to immediate overshoot earned her a 9.825 on the bars, followed by Sarah Shaffer’s double-layout dismount that anchored Arkansas with a team-high 9.875.

Rotation Two | Vault

Sophomore Amanda Elswick continued to shine on the vault, hitting her Yurchenko 1.5 for a 9.850. Shaffer’s Yurchenko layout half earned her a 9.825. Arkansas finished the second rotation with a 48.850 on the vault, as they trailed LSU midway through the meet, 98.625–97.275.

Rotation Three | Floor

Arkansas picked up the pace in the third rotation, finishing with a 49.200 as a team. It marks the 19th meet-in-a-row that the Gymbacks scored 49.000 or higher in the event.

Redshirt-freshman Bailey Lovett’s famous double-layout first pass scored her a 9.900, making it six out of nine times this season she scored a 9.900 or higher.

Carter anchored the Razorbacks with her fiery routine, complete with double-back roundoff and double-pike last pass that earned her the event title. The floor title is the 13th of her career and fourth this season.

Rotation Four | Beam

The Razorbacks posted their second-highest beam score of the season in the final rotation, a 49.250.

Lovett and Hambrick tied their career highs with a 9.900 and 9.925 respectively. Lovett shined with her front aerial, back layout and Hambrick nailed her back-handspring layout, switch leap series.

Next meet

Arkansas is on the road again, next Friday as they travel to Denton, Texas, for a quad meet hosted by Texas Women’s University.

The Gymbacks will see LSU once again at in Denton and joined by Centenary as well.

Information from Razorback Sports Communications is included in this story

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