FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Arkansas gymnastics program will make history in its second meet of the season as the No. 15 Razorbacks take on the No. 8 Auburn Tigers for the first gymnastics action ever in Bud Walton Arena on Friday.
The event has been a vision that head coach Jordyn Wieber has had since taking the helm at Arkansas in 2019 and speaks to the upward trajectory of the program and its fans over the past three seasons.
“I absolutely love the environment in Barnhill Arena, I think it’s really unique, I think it’s unlike any other gymnastics arena in our conference if not in our country, but I quickly realized that with the growth of the program and the level of gymnastics growing and with the fanbase growing, we’re going to outgrow Barnhill a little bit,” Wieber said. “I’m just really grateful to Hunter for supporting us and this really awesome opportunity and really a historic night for the program.”
Wieber’s first-ever meet at Arkansas set an attendance record of 6,714 fans, and the Gymbacks will aim higher as they bring the action to BWA.
The meet has been dubbed Night in the Palace, and the first 1,000 fans will receive a commemorative t-shirt for the special occasion. Team posters and meet programs will also be available at marketing tables throughout the arena.
Doors open at 6 p.m. with team intros set for 7:15 and first vault at 7:30. The meet will air live on SEC Network.
Scouting the Tigers
In addition to the change in scenery, an exciting opponent awaits Arkansas for Friday’s meet. The Tigers are currently ranked No. 8 and are coming off wins against North Carolina and Bowling Green with a score of 196.050. Auburn was especially strong on vault in its debut with a final score of 49.350, third in the country.
Arkansas earned its first season-opening win since 2014 on Jan. 7 with a 195.450-195.025 victory over Ohio State. The Hogs head into this week’s competition ranked ninth on floor, 10th on vault and 15th overall. The team’s 49.100 on floor marked the 33rd straight time that Arkansas has scored 49.000-plus on floor, which is a program record and the second-longest active streak in the NCAA behind Florida at 38.
The last time Auburn and Arkansas met for a dual meet was also a historic night to remember for Razorbacks. The team closed the regular season schedule at Auburn and set a new program record score of 197.425. It was the second time in three weeks that Arkansas set a new program high as a team.
Auburn currently holds a slight advantage in the all-time series against the two teams with a 20-19-1 record, but the Gymbacks have gone 6-3-1 against the Tigers at home.
Auburn’s roster features freshman and Tokyo 2020 Olympic all-around champion Sunisa Lee. Arkansas also has an Olympic contingent with London 2012 gold medalists Wieber and volunteer assistant Kyla Ross and assistant coach Chris Brooks, who was a member of the men’s Olympic team in 2012 and 2016.