FAYETTEVILLE -- The No. 11 Arkansas Razorbacks needed a slip-up from Kentucky on the balance beam on the final rotation to pull out a victory Friday night.
The No. 6 Wildcats did not oblige, posting the best event score of the meet, a 49.35 to power past the Razorbacks before a home-opening record crowd of 4,983 at Barnhill Arena.
The University of Arkansas, Fayetteville (0-2, 0-1 SEC) scored a solid 196.525, which was nearly 1.2 points better than in its season opener at LSU, but the Wildcats posted a 196.95 for the victory.
"This was a really big improvement from the meet at LSU," Arkansas Coach Mark Cook said. "We came in here with a lot more energy. We had some fantastic routines and I'm really happy with the girls' improvement."
Kentucky (4-0, 1-0 SEC) made its meet-winning move in the third rotation after a couple of falls in the floor exercise from Cori Rechenmacher opened the door for the Razorbacks. At that point, Alex Hyland (9.85), Mollie Korth (9.9) and Sidney Dukes (9.8) all hit good scores with no significant errors to salvage a 49.1 on the event and spur the Wildcats to victory.
"It's a big score," Kentucky Coach Tim Garrison said. "Our team has been training very solid and my big thing, and it's something we've been talking about and emphasizing in the gym, is the fact we need to go on the road and put up that kind of performance. To be able to do that week two, we're feeling pretty solid about that."
The Razorbacks' team score was better than all but one 2017 competition. After some bad landings on the vault and stepping out of bounds twice on the floor in the opener, Arkansas had minimal errors, like a couple of big steps on bars landings.
"I think we were a lot more comfortable this week, especially us being at home," said Arkansas freshman Sarah Shaffer, who finished second in the all-around. "The crowd really helped fuel our energy and we made a big improvement."
Kentucky's Korth won the all-around with a score of 39.55, edging Shaffer (39.325) and Arkansas sophomore Jessica Yamzon (39.075).
Arkansas senior Amanda Wellick, competing at home for the first time since suffering a torn Achilles tendon here one year ago, tied Kentucky's Katrina Coca for the bars title with a 9.9, and shared third place on the beam at 9.875 with teammate Michaela Burton and Kentucky's Hyland and Katie Stuart.
Freshman Sophia Carter paced the Razorbacks' beam lineup with a 9.9, sharing the event title with Dukes.
Korth scored no lower than a 9.825, and won the vault (9.95) and the floor exercise (9.9).
Shaffer and Yamzon tied Kentucky's Hyland for second place on the floor at 9.85.
Kentucky led by 0.075 after the first rotation, offsetting the Razorbacks' solid 49.2 on the vault with a 49.275 on the bars, led by a 9.9 from Katrina Coca.
Korth won the vault with a 9.975 in the anchor spot on the second rotation as the Wildcats extended their lead to 98.525 to 98.25.
Wellick's 9.9 and Braie Speed's 9.875 led Arkansas on the bars, tying Coca for the event title, and Speed tying Kentucky's Katie Carlisle and Ella Warren.
The Razorbacks cut into their deficit by nailing the balance beam with a 49.25, their sixth-highest score on the event in Barnhill Arena history. Carter captured her first event title with a 9.9, followed by a pair of 9.875s by Wellick and Michaela Burton.
Kentucky led after three rotations 147.625 to 147.5.
NO. 6 KENTUCKY 196.950, NO. 11 ARKANSAS 196.525
Bars (49.275): Katie Carlisle 9.875, Ella Warren 9.875, Cori Rechenmacher 9.8, Katrina Coca 9.9, Alaina Kwan 9.275, Mollie Korth 9.825
Vault (49.25): Alex Hyland 9.8, Coca 9.725, Sidney Dukes 9.8, Danaea Davis 9.775, Aubree Rosa 9.9, Korth 9.95
Floor (49.1): Hailey Poland 9.75, Warren 9.8, Rechenmacher 8.4, Hyland 9.85, Korth 9.9, Dukes 9.8
Beam (49.35): Katie Stuart 9.875, Korth 9.85, Poland 9.85, Kwan 9.775, Dukes 9.9, Hyland 9.875
Vault (49.2): Jessica Yamzon 9.75, Sarah Shaffer 9.875, Sydney McGlone 9.9, Amanda Wellick 9.825, Braie Speed 9.85
Bars (49.05): Yamzon 9.675, Shaffer 9.8, Sydney Laird 9.8, Carter 9.675, Wellick 9.9, Speed 9.875
Beam (49.25): Yamzon 9.8, Laird 9.725, Wellick 9.875, Carter 9.9, Michaela Burton 9.875, Shaffer 9.8
Floor (49.025): Mia Bargiacchi 9.675, Hailey Garner 9.725, Yamzon 9.85, Burton 9.8, Shaffer 9.85, Carter 9.8
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Photos by Andy Shupe
Photos by Andy Shupe
Sports on 01/13/2018
Print Headline: Kentucky handles beam then finishes Arkansas