In their return to Barnhill Arena on Friday, the No. 11 Gymbacks earned their first season-opening win with a victory over the No. 22 Ohio State.
Arkansas posted a final score of 195.450, while the Buckeyes earned a 194.525. Arkansas outscored Ohio State on each event, and senior Kennedy Hambrick earned the all-around crown with a score of 39.350. Hambrick also scored within the top three on all four events.
Senior Bailey Lovett tied for first on floor with a score of 9.875. Senior Amanda Elswick earned two top-three finishes with second place on vault (9.850) and beam (9.825). Elswick and Hambrick shared second place on beam with freshman Makie Sedlacek, and senior Savannah Pennese rounded out the podium finishes with a program-best 9.825.
Arkansas opened the meet on vault with sophomore Emma Kelley leading off with her collegiate debut and scored a 9.800. The Gymbacks didn’t score lower than a 9.800 during the rotation, and Elswick posted a 9.850 in the third spot to lead Arkansas. Hambrick capped off the vault squad with a 9.825. The Hogs outscored the Buckeyes 49.075-48.975 on the event.
Junior Kiara Gianfagna got the Gymbacks off to a solid start with a 9.775 in the number two spot of the bars lineup, and Hambrick added a 9.850 midway through the rotation with a stuck dismount on her full-twisting double-back. Bars All-American and graduate student Maggie O’Hara closed Arkansas out with a solid 9.800 for a 48.225 total score.
Gianfagna was the lead-off again for Arkansas on beam and showed great poise to earn a 9.775 with a stuck dismount. Hambrick added a 9.825 in the number three spot to keep the rotation going strong, and nailed her gainer full dismount. Elswick proved her veteran presence with a matching 9.825 next, with extremely clean execution of her back handspring layout step-out and front aerial. Sedlacek put up a stellar 9.825 to close the rotation, one of Arkansas’ three on beam. The Gymbacks finished the event with a 49.050.
Arkansas closed the meet on floor, and Pennese matched a personal best of 9.775 in the No. 2 spot. Junior Maddie Hickey and freshman Maddie Jones posted matching 9.800s, and Hambrick delivered a 9.850. With the meet in grasp, Lovett stepped up in a big way and executed her first pass, a round-off back handspring double layout, with ease. The second and the rest of her routine was just as stellar for a final score of 9.875. Arkansas continued to show its excellence on floor with a final mark of 49.100.
The Gymbacks have a historic meet in store for their second of the season. Arkansas will face off against No. 14 Auburn on Friday, Jan. 14 at 7:15 p.m. in Bud Walton Arena. It’ll be the first conference contest of the year for both teams and the first-ever meet inside Bud Walton Arena.