The Arkansas gymnastics team released its 2019 schedule Wednesday morning, featuring a home slate that will bring some of the nation’s top programs to Barnhill Arena.
Head coach Mark Cook returns nearly all of his scorers from the 2018 campaign that set numerous individual and team records. Among the returners are All-American Hailey Garner, SEC Freshman of the Year Sarah Shaffer, All-SEC performers Sophia Carter and Sydney Laird while one of the team’s top vaulters in Sydney McGlone, who missed most of 2018 to injury, will return to the lineup.
Heavyweights Coming to Barnhill Arena
The Razorbacks will open the season Saturday, Jan. 5 as Cook’s squad will host the national runner-up Oklahoma Sooners in what will be the first of three home meets against programs that finished in the top four at last spring’s NCAA Championships.
With Arkansas as one of five schools from the Southeastern Conference to make the NCAA Championships last season, three of the other four league schools will make their way to Fayetteville in 2019, giving Razorback fans a chance to see some of the nation’s top gymnasts while creating one of the best home floor advantages in the country. The Razorbacks were 5-1 inside the friendly confines of Barnhill Arena last season, the most wins at home since 2012 while finishing ninth nationally in attendance at nearly 4,000 fans per meet.
The Home Lineup » 2018 NCAA Finish
Jan. 5 » Oklahoma » #2
Feb. 8 » Alabama » #8
Feb. 22 » LSU » #4
March 1 » Florida » #3
March 16 » TWU (2018 USAG Champion), Lindenwood (USAG Runner-up), SEMO
Season tickets will go on sale September 11, while the deadline to renew is October 12. Reserved seating for all five home meets are $40, while general admission seats are $25
Early and Often Road Tests
Following its season opener against the Sooners, the Razorbacks will hit the road for a stretch of five road meets over t six weeks. Arkansas will make a return trip to Tempe, Arizona for a matchup against Arizona before opening SEC competition in Lexington against the Kentucky Wildcats on Jan. 18. Arkansas owns more wins over Kentucky than any other opponent with a 23-9 advantage, including a 12-5 mark in regular season action.
Arkansas will compete in the Metroplex Challenge for the second time in program history Jan. 26, with matchups against Denver, Missouri and a second meet against Oklahoma. The meet will be the first of three quad meets the Razorbacks will compete in before postseason action.
The Razorbacks’ four-week road tilt will end Feb. 1 at Georgia. Arkansas picked up two wins against the Bulldogs in 2018, winning the matchup at home and at the SEC Championships, for its third and fourth wins against the GymDogs in team history.
The meet against the Bulldogs will mark the first of five-consecutive league meets. Alabama will return to Fayetteville Feb. 8 as the Razorbacks have topped the Tide in three of the last four regular season meetings.
A season removed from beating Auburn by nearly two points and the widest margin in their 34 meet series history, Arkansas will travel to Auburn, Ala. (Feb. 15) before hosting two-time defending SEC Champion LSU (Feb. 22) and Florida (March 1) in consecutive weeks.
The SEC Championships will be held west of the Mississippi River for the second-consecutive season for the first time since Arkansas began its program in 2003 when the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans hosts the event March 23. The Razorbacks had its highest finish at the competition since 2011 last season, while getting a program-high 10 All-SEC performances from six gymnasts.