Arkansas Gymnastics would start the 2023 season on the road as they traveled to Lincoln to take on Nebraska. Arkansas would come away with a 196.225-195.000 win on Saturday. The Gymbacks would win in the vault, floor, and bars in what is their second straight season to opening with a win. With the win, Arkansas is now 4-5 all-time against the Cornhuskers. This is the first of two meetings against the Big Ten Conference this season, as Arkansas will host Minnesota later in the season. We will examine the events, what players stood out in each, and what is next on the schedule.
At each meeting, there are four events that six women from each team compete. These events are bars, vault, floor, and beam and are graded on a scale of one to ten, with ten being the highest score. The gymnasts are graded on the degree of difficulty of their routine combined with the ability to perform it flawlessly. We will look at how these programs did in each event.
The vault event was one of their strengths and would begin the day for the Gymbacks on Saturday. The above-mentioned Flatley posted a 9.850 while having some slight wobble on her landing. Redshirt freshman, Cami Weaver, would also score a 9.850 for the event for the Hogs in her first appearance of the season. Local talent Lauren Williams, from Bentonville, Arkansas, would make her debut in a strong 9.800 performance. Based on this performance by the true freshman, she will be a force for the Gymbacks this season. Emma Kelley would start the event for the Hogs with a 9.725 with a solid performance. Frankie Price would score a 9.675, followed by Leah Smith, who would finish with a 9.725 for the event. Arkansas and Nebraska finished the day’s opening event with scores of 48.950.
Freshman Cally Swaney and Reese Drotar started the day off strong for their Razorback debuts on bars with scores of 9.775 and 9.800, respectively. Junior, Janzen Scalzo, started the 2023 campaign with a 9.850, which would finish third for Arkansas in this event. Arkansas would show the influx of youth on this roster when freshman, Jamie Pratt, scored a 9.775, with a strong routine that did include a fall. Both graduates, Kennedy Hambrick and Norah Flatley competed in this event and continue to lead this program. Hambrick would finish with an 8.600 and Flatley with an almost flawless 9.900. Arkansas would finish with a 98.050 event score, while Nebraska would finish with a 97.550.
The beams event is the only one that the Razorbacks did not win in the meet. Arkansas was led by Cami Weaver and Kennedy Hambrick, scoring 9.825 in the event. Leading off the Hogs was 9.775 by Kalyxta Gamiao in her first appearance of this season. Next was the above-mentioned, Lauren Williams, who scored a 9.675. Graduate Bailey Lovett scored a 9.800 for her performance. The high scores of Weaver and Hambrick followed these. Norah Flatley closed out the event for Arkansas with a 9.800. Arkansas would finish the event with an event score of 49.025, while Nebraska would edge them with a score of 49.100. Following the event, the score for the meet was Arkansas with 147.075, while Nebraska would 146.650.
The floor event would close out the meeting. Arkansas would start with Madison Hickey, who would post a score of 9.575 after a –0.1 deduction in her routine. Next for the Hogs was the season debut of sophomore Maddie Jones, who would post a 9.775 in a strong performance. Kalyxta Gamiao would follow Jones and match her score of 9.775 in the event and her second appearance of the meet. Lauren Williams would see action for the third time and post the high event score of 9.875 for her routine. Next, we would see Leah Smith score 9.850, which was the second-highest score of the event for Arkansas. The event would be closed out by Frankie Price, who matched the high score and put on a show on the floor with a 9.875. This event would close the win out for Arkansas. The Gymbacks would have an event score of 49.150 to Nebraska’s 48.350. This differential would close out the meet giving Arkansas a total of 196.225 points.
What Is Next?
Arkansas will return to Fayetteville and Barnhill Arena on Friday, January 13th, to battle Alabama. This will be the first SEC meet of the season for Arkansas. The meeting will begin at 7:15 p.m. and be televised on the SEC Network. Alabama comes in after a win at home last Friday against Michigan State 196.975- 196.550.