FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Arkansas gymnastics team returns to action in January and the season’s schedule is set.
The Razorbacks will compete in 11 regular season meets and host five. The team has four non-conference meets and seven against SEC opponents.
Arkansas opens the season on Friday, Jan. 7 at home against Ohio State. It will be the first regular season meeting between the two teams since 2009.
The Gymbacks remain at home the following weekend for a historic meet. The team takes on Auburn in SEC action and for the first time ever, there will be gymnastics at Bud Walton Arena. The meet is set for Jan. 14.
The team then hits the road for a pair of SEC meets at LSU and Florida on Jan. 21 and Jan. 28, respectively.
Another two weeks at home await the Razorbacks after that as they take on West Virginia on Feb. 4 and Kentucky on Feb. 11.
Arkansas faces off against Missouri in Columbia on Feb. 18, and the Hogs come home for a final meet and the team’s Senior Night in Barnhill Arena on Feb. 25 against Georgia.
The last meet of the SEC slate for Arkansas comes on March 4, when the Razorbacks take on the Alabama Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa.
To close the regular season, the team will have two multi-team meets. The first comes at Elevate the Stage on Sunday, March 6 with Arkansas, Georgia, Auburn and Alabama headlining the event in Huntsville, Ala.
The regular season finale for the Gymbacks is a tri-meet at Denver with Nebraska on Sunday, March 13.
The postseason begins with the 2022 SEC Gymnastics Championships, which will be held in Birmingham, Ala. on March 19. NCAA action begins with regional competition, which runs from March 31 to April 2 with Kentucky, Washington, Auburn and NC State serving as host sites.
The NCAA Championships will be held at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas, on April 15 and 16, 2022.
Meet times as well as TV and streaming information will be released closer to the season’s start.
What’s To Come
The Razorbacks are in for an exciting 2022, with 12 returners and six newcomers. Seven of those 12 are seniors or sixth years, which includes NCAA Championships individual qualifiers Kennedy Hambrick and Maggie O’Hara. Hambrick was named a four-time All-American after she finished fifth overall in the all-around and on bars and sixth on vault and beam at NCAAs. Hambrick also set a new Arkansas all-around program record with a 39.750, tied the program vault record of 9.975 and won 18 event titles.
O’Hara, in her first year at Arkansas as a graduate transfer, finished the 2021 slate ranked No. 11 on bars and won five event titles. She was the first-ever gymnast for Arkansas to be named a regular season All-American on bars and qualified for NCAA Championships. There, O’Hara finished in fourth place with a 9.925 to secure All-America honors and turned in the best bars score by a Gymback at NCAA Championships.
Arkansas adds a talented freshman class of six this year, which includes Leah Smith from Spring, Texas. Smith was the 2021 Nastia Liukin Cup champion with a meet-high floor score, 2021 JO floor national champion, and a five-time Texas state champion.
As a team, the Gymbacks set a new program-high team score not once, but twice in 2021. The latest and new record came in a victory over Auburn, in which Arkansas scored 197.425 on March 5. The team ended its season at the regional finals and scored a 197.250 in the semifinals, the best for the program in any regional. Arkansas was ranked in the top 10 on all four events and all-around throughout the 2021 slate, which includes three straight weeks at No. 2 on floor and a season-high team rank of No. 4 overall.