Fresh off of last year’s Super Six appearance the Arkansas GymBacks are ready and focused for another successful season.
“We have stepped back and made our goals week by week so we can get to our end result,” said Junior Shelby Salmon. “We want to go to nationals, we want to make it to the Super Six, and be on the podium at nationals, but for us right now it’s focusing on a week to week basis to get us to our major goals.”
Over the past ten years the GymBacks have advanced to the NCAA championships six times, reached the super six two times, and finished top 10 in the nation four times. They have come so close to claiming the coveted national title and this year they are looking to focus on the little things in order to win the big prize.
“It’s all about execution because the sport is broken down into little tenths,” said Head Coach Mark Cook. “In order to win a national championship you can’t have a weak spot.”
The team returns eight gymnasts including five all Americans from last year’s squad. Having that type of leadership is extremely important and irreplaceable.
“They can handle the pressure, they have experienced the pressure,” said Coach Cook. “They can lead the freshman who are trying to figure out those pressures.”
The team welcomes in five freshman to the squad this year. There is a big difference from high school to college so it’s important the upperclassmen lead and guide the newcomers because they are a crucial part in the team achieving their goal of a national championship.
“All the girls who are coming back are really trying to help the freshman and get them as prepared as possible to compete every week and be the best they can be,” said Junior Katherine Grable.
The GymBacks get back to action Friday when they head to Lexington, Kentucky to take on the Wildcats.