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Monday, April 15, 2024

#19 ‘Gymbacks Narrowly Lose to #13 Kentucky


The historic Barnhill Arena at the University of Arkansas was the site of a national top 20 match-up between the Kentucky Wildcats and the Arkansas Razorbacks. The meet did disappoint as gymnasts from both universities excelled in all exercises throughout the night. Arkansas’s comeback during the fourth rotation was outstanding, but fell just short in the team final standings, losing to Kentucky by 0.10 of a point.

Trailing 147.125 to 147.530 after three rotations, the Razorback gymnasts recorded four scores of 9.9000 or higher on the flour enroute to a season-best 49.525 on the floor. The Gymbacks narrowly fell to number 13 Kentucky, 196.750 to 196.650.

The meet marked the third consecutive meet that the Razorbacks scored a 196.500 or better, as four Gymbacks set season highs. One of those highs include sophomore Kennedy Hambrick’s all-around score of 39.425. Hambrick’s score was good for second among all competitors and ties her career high.

In the first rotation on the vault, junior Sarah Shaffer stuck her Yurchenko layout half for a career high of 9.900. Shaffer was followed by Hambrick in the anchor spot who’s Yurchenko full earned her a 9.800 for the Razorbacks.

In the second rotation, the uneven parallel bars, junior Sydney Land executed her bars routine beautifully, complete with ray and double layout dismount. Laird earned her first event title of the season on the apparatus, finishing with a score of 9.900.

Arkansas moved to the beam in the third rotation. Lead off senior, Jessica Yamzon nailed her gamer full dismount to start Arkansas off on the right foot on the beam. Yamzon scored a season high 9.875 and took home her first event title of the season in the event. It’s her third beam tite in her career. Hambrick also set a season high on the beam, improving her previous high of 9.750 to 9.850 with a well don back handspring-layout series.

In the fourth and final rotation, the Razorbacks flourished on the floor exercise with all six performances in the top eight. Hambrick and junior Sophia Carter both scored 9.92s and took home the event crown as the Gymbacks made a late push to overcome their meet deficit. Yamzon’s leadoff performance earned her a 9.850, tying her career high. On the floor exercise, the Razorbacks combined for a total team score of 49.525 and tied for the second highest in program history.

The narrow loss to Kentucky shows just how far the Arkansas gymnastics program has progressed and gives Arkansas fans the excitement of knowing great days are ahead for the gymnastics program.

If you have never attended a Razorbacks gymnastics meet, you are missing a great night of entertainment as you can see great, Division 1, college gymnasts perform, as well as enjoy the great atmosphere of the meet at historic Barnhill Arena. Music, videos, and crowd interaction are all part of the great atmosphere…and all for just $5 per ticket. Last night’s attendance was estimated to be around 6,000, so, word is getting around that Friday nights at Barnhill are a lot of fun!

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Jim Best
Jim Best
Jim Best is a man of many talents. His storied career in Arkansas education led him to a new passion, and hidden gifts in sports journalism.
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