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Garrison comes to Kentucky after five years at Nebraska, where he helped the Cornhuskers annually compete for national championships as the Huskers' vault, floor exercise, and strength and conditioning coach. The program went to two NCAA Super Six appearances and won two Big 12 Conference championships with Garrison on board.
Fans can read the full release of Garrison's hiring here.
Cat Scratches had the chance to talk with Garrison on Thursday about the hiring process, his coaching philosophy and his vision for the UK gymnastics team. Here is the Q and A from the interview:
Question: This is your first opportunity as a head coach on the collegiate level. Can you talk about the opportunity you have been given to fulfill a dream I'm sure you've had for quite some time?
Garrison: I am extremely excited. I was a head coach for a club program out in California for 10 years, but when you move to college, you are in a completely different arena. Getting to be at Nebraska and spend some time there under head coach Dan Kendig was an amazing opportunity, but I am excited to put my name on a program like Kentucky and make it grow.
Question: How did you initially get into coaching and when did you know you wanted to do this for a living?
Garrison: I just started coaching just like most gymnastics coaches, with a club team. That's how I initially got into it. I went to Cal State Fullerton and I was a part of their men's program as an athlete. After my first year, they actually dropped the program. They had a women's collegiate program and the head coach knew that I had coached before. I was currently coaching a club team and so he asked me if I wanted to come coach with him, and so I ended up coaching there. I had two years of coaching experience there and I then went on to pursue the dream of coaching elite talent. I did that for 12 years, and then on to Nebraska I went.
Question: What did you know about Kentucky before you decided to pursue the job?
Garrison: Well, I have a friend who works there in (current assistant coach) Chuck Dickerson. He is a good buddy of mine and he has just praised this program and athletic department as being a great family. It seems like everybody is pulling for each other and that is a great feeling to have. Not only that, but being in the SEC as well. The SEC is the best gymnastics conference in the country. There are a lot of great teams out there, but when you look at the conferences, top to bottom, it's the best conference there is. To be able to get a head coaching job in that conference is really exciting.
Question: Can you explain the process a little bit of deciding to pursue the job and when you became interested in it?
Garrison: Obviously, in October, there were some changes made and it was clear that there was going to be a new head coach hired. Going through the year, having the success that we have had (at Nebraska), it actually took me a while to decide. I really wanted to be a head coach, there is no doubt about it. It was just the when and the where. Having great success at Nebraska had a great role in it. The more I thought about it, the more I told myself I was going to go for this job and do my best to get it.
Question: I'm sure a big part of the decision was leaving Nebraska. How tough was it leaving a place you've called home for some time?
Garrison: You develop relationships with people in the department, you develop relationships with people in the community and you develop relationships with athletes. It's tough. When I had to say goodbye, that was a tough day, and it worried me a bit. But you look ahead and move forward. I am really excited about the future of this program. We are going to get these athletes excited. We are going to go to competitions and we want them to know that they are going to come out successful. That for me made it easier to look ahead and see what we can achieve.
Question: Have you met with the team, and if so, what have you told them?
Garrison: I have not since I was hired. I have scheduled meetings with all of them after their finals, that way I can get a direction of the team, what the framework will be like, how I will be in the gym, how I expect them to be in the gym and some of the goals. There is going to be a lot of changes. We will get them on board and we will get them to see the benefit of the changes that will be made.
Question: When you get back to Lexington, do you have some sort of plan of how you want to start things and build?
Garrison: I will get into town next Tuesday. It will be more than likely next Thursday or next Friday when we will have our block meetings with each athlete individually, get to know them a little bit and kind of outline where we are headed. I have a good idea of how we are going to get started. From there it will be day-to-day in the maintenance. I have a plan as far as strength and conditioning and what is to be expected. We can't require them to do anything, but I can tell them what will be required when they come back to school and where we are going to go from there. Yes, there will be a plan in place. I will suggest things to them to get ready for next year. I think they are ready to go to work, and from what I understand, they are a very motivated group.
Question: You've mentioned that you want to take Kentucky to the next step. How exactly do you do that?
Garrison: Once you get a framework in place and you raise the expectations of the athletes themselves, we will work hard to get to where we want to be at. We will train every day and stay healthy. All of those things are going to happen, that way when we walk into competitive environments, we are confident. Success breeds motivation. Once you get a little success going, you start to get wins against some SEC teams that we are going to be seeing. That's how you take those steps. I'm not saying it's going to happen overnight. To be able to move up in the ranks is going to take some time, but I feel we are capable of doing it. We will be very diligent and smart and we will be successful.
Question: You were obviously at a national championship competing program at Nebraska. Can you take any of that experience there and use it here?
Garrison: It all goes back to expectation level. When you walk into a program like Nebraska, you look through the media guides and you look up at the walls of all the national champions. You see this many trips to nationals and all of the conference titles. There is a certain expectation level. You walk into the gym and you say, 'I have to raise my expectation level.' I plan on changing our expectation level. I want them to know, regardless of the competition level, that we have a shot at them. When we get on that bus after a meet, I want them happy. I want them excited because they just did awesome; they just did their best. I think it really comes down to expectation level. We need to get a good coaching staff that is pulling everyone in the right direction. We need to have quality planning and good athletes. If we can have the right mixture of those things, we can turn this thing around and make it successful. It will take a little time, it will take a little recruiting, but we can get it done.
Every Tuesday, UK Athletics recognizes outstanding performances for our student-athletes. These are the honorees for the week ending Sunday, April 3:
Kentucky Gymnastics team
Behind a season-high score on balance beam of 48.9, the University of Kentucky gymnastics team posted its highest team score at a NCAA Regional in school history with a 195.175 in a fifth-place finish at the NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional on Saturday. Kentucky's team score at the meet surpassed its previous NCAA Regional high mark of 195.150, which helped UK earn a fourth-place finish in the 2001 NCAA Regional. The Wildcats had not scored a 195 team score of above since the 2001 season. The Wildcats were impressive on all four events at the meet but earned its highest event score on balance beam, posting a season-high score of 48.9. Junior Storey Morris led all UK gymnasts on the event with a 9.85, surpassing her career high of 9.825, while freshman Audrey Harrison scored a 9.8 for her highest career mark.
Softball: Meagan Aull
Senior Meagan Aull simply had the best weekend of her career in helping guide UK to it's first-ever sweep of No. 5 Florida. Aull was 5-for-10 at the dish with all five hits coming in the extra-base magnitude. Aull entered the series with just six career homers and blasted four in three games against the Gators in leading UK to just the second series win in school history over Florida.
Aull connected with a three-run long ball to help propel UK to a run-rule in the opening game of the series. She then led off the second game of the series by taking the first offering of the bottom of the first over the center-field fence. It marked the first time in her career she had back-to-back games with a homer. Aull then proved to be a difference maker late in the game with an RBI double that led to a four-run inning for UK to recapture the lead en route to a 7-6 win to take the series.
Finally, in the last game of the series, Aull blasted a leadoff homer for the second consecutive game to begin an eight-run charge for the Blue and White. After UK having batted all the way around the order, Aull came back to the plate in the bottom of the first with a runner on second and charted her second long ball of the game. It is the first time in her career she has totaled two homers in a single game and just the 15th time in school history the feat has been achieved. It is the first time in school history that a player hit two homers in the same inning.
With five hits this weekend, Aull moved into ninth place all-time with 184 career hits.
Aull has a hit in 23 of UK's last 25 games with hitting streaks of eight, 10 and a current five-game run. In 12 of those games Aull has multiple hits.
She currently leads the SEC with 20 hits in league action and ranks seventh with a .408 batting average.
Softball: Chanda Bell
Junior pitcher Chanda Bell helped catapult the Blue and White to a series sweep of No. 5 Florida. Bell was terrific in the opening game of the series working a complete-game effort and striking out 11 batters. It marked the 30th time in her career she has totaled 10 or more strikeouts in a game -- and the first against Florida.
With the win over the Gators it marked the first career victory over Florida and the second victory over a top-10 ranked opponent in the SEC this season.
In the final game of the series, Bell entered the game in relief and worked two innings allowing just one hit and striking out three to preserve the sweep. For the series, Bell worked 8.0 innings, allowed just six hits and struck out 14 to a Gator attack that entered the series batting .357 as a unit.
Bell has held SEC opponents to a staggering league-best .119 batting average and given up a league-low 15 hits. Angel Brunner of Auburn is the next closest with a .171 batting average. She ranks second behind Alabama's Kelsi Dunne with 63 strikeouts tossed, despite pitching 10 less innings than the league leader.
Softball: Emily Jolly
Freshman Emily Jolly put together the best SEC series of her young career in helping propel UK to a sweep of the Gators. The freshman second baseman totaled a .444 batting average on four hits and three runs scored. She totaled a pair of her team-best six doubles, including a two-run two-bagger in an eight-run opening inning in the final game of the series. Jolly was also masterful in the field recording a pair of putouts and three assists.
Men's tennis: Tom Jomby
With the match tied 3-3 and the final singles match in a decisive third-set tiebreaker, University of Kentucky freshman Tom Jomby earned arguably his biggest collegiate win of his young career by defeating Andrew Butz to give No. 14 Kentucky a 4-3 win over No. 15 Florida. With the win, Kentucky its first victory over the Gators since the 2002 season and its first win in Gainesville, Fla., since 1992 when Wildcats took down Florida in the NCAA Tournament. The Kentucky freshman fell in the first set 6-4 and trailed in the second set before turning the match around by fighting back to earn a second-set victory. In the third set, Jomby earned a quick break to go up 3-1 before Butz would respond to take a 5-4 lead. Jomby, who was named SEC Freshman of the Week two weeks ago, earned a key win behind 6-5 to send the set into a tiebreaker. After falling behind 2-0 in the breaker, Jomby turned up the pressure again en route to a 7-4 tiebreaker win, clinching the UK victory.
- Kentucky finishes its season at 29-9.
- The Wildcats end the season having advanced to their 14th Final Four, while posting their 55th 20-win season and winning their 27th SEC Tournament title.
- John Calipari is one of only two coaches to lead three different schools to the Final Four.
- UK is now 105-46 all-time in the NCAA Tournament and is tied for first with the most NCAA Tournament wins.
- The 75,421 fans in attendance for the UK-UConn game was an NCAA Final Four single-game record.
- Junior Darius Miller hit a 3-pointer in 25 straight games to finish the season and connected from long range in 36 of 38 games this season.
- Brandon Knight closed his rookie season with a UK freshman scoring record of 657 points, and 87 made 3s, also a UK freshman record.
- Behind a season-high score on balance beam of 48.9, the University of Kentucky gymnastics team posted its highest team score at a NCAA Regional in school history
with a 195.175 in a fifth-place finish at the NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional in Coleman Coliseum at Tuscaloosa, Ala.
- Kentucky's team score at the meet surpassed its previous NCAA Regional high mark of 195.150, which helped UK earn a fourth-place finish in the 2001 NCAA Regional. The Wildcats had not scored a 195 team score or above since the 2001 season.
- The Wildcats were impressive on all four events at the meet, but earned its highest event score on balance beam, posting a season-high score of 48.9. Junior Storey Morris led all UK gymnasts on the event with a 9.85, surpassing her career high of 9.825, while freshman
Audrey Harrison scored a 9.8 for her highest career mark.
- Kentucky swept No. 5 Florida for the first time in school history to claim its fourth SEC series of the season, matching a program record.
- Senior Meagan Aull entered the weekend with six career home runs and connected with four in propeling UK's offense to 26 runs on the weekend. Aull had a homer in all three games, including two in the first inning of the final win. She became the first player in school history to hit two long balls in the same inning.
- While completing the sweep, UK coach Rachel Lawson won her 200th career game as a head coach.
- UK currently ranks second overall in the SEC and first in the Eastern Division.
- The baseball team completed a four-game week, posting a midweek win over Tennessee Tech, before falling in three games at defending NCAA champion, No. 3 South Carolina.
- Kentucky rode a 4-for-4, four-runs-scored outing from senior shortstop Taylor Black in the win over TTU on Tuesday, posting an 11-8 result.
- As a team, the Wildcats have posted a .294 batting average through 29 games, owning a 3.83 ERA with eight saves in 254 innings, striking out 237.
- With the match tied 3-3 and the final singles match in a decisive third-set tiebreaker, University of Kentucky freshman Tom Jomby earned arguably his biggest collegiate
win of his young career by defeating Andrew Butz to give No. 14 Kentucky a 4-3 win over No. 15 Florida at the Ring Tennis Complex in Gainesville, Fla.
- The win gives Kentucky its first victory over the Gators since the 2002 season and its first win in Gainesville since 1992 when the Wildcats took down Florida in the NCAA Tournament. UK's last regular-season win at Florida was in 1988.
- Kentucky continued its winning ways Sunday, taking down South Carolina 5-2 for its 20th win of the season.
- UK now has back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time since UK earned three consecutive from 1987-89. All told, it is Kentucky's 18th 20-win season in school history and the 12th under longtime head coach Dennis Emery.
Track and field
- Senior middle-distance runner Sharif Webb won the 800-meter run for the second consecutive year while setting Kentucky's 800m record and snapping a 25-year
old Florida Relays record with a time os 1:47.19.
- Sophomore distance runner Cally Macumber earned UK's second win of the Florida Relays with a personal-best time of 4:24.32.
- A pair of discus throwers grabbed top-four finishes, with senior Mary Angell (51.34m/168-05) finishing third overall in the women's discus and senior Colin
Boevers (57.26m/187-10) fourth on the men's side.
- Junior Luis Orta also had a top-five finish, completing
the 3,000m steeplechase in 9:01.54 to claim fourth.
- UK men's golf freshman Cody Martin posted his third top-25 finish of the spring season as the Wildcats finished 14th in the Hootie at Bulls Bay Intercollegiate at Bulls Bay Golf Club in Awendaw, S.C.
- Martin was again impressive for Kentucky, scoring the lowest round of the day for the Wildcats with a 1-over-par 72. The three-day score of 216 is the lowest of the season for Martin, who has finished as UK's top golfer in the last three events.
- Fellow freshman Stephen Powers carded three birdies in the final round and eight for the tournament, posting a career-low score of 221.
- Kentucky recorded its second-lowest round of the spring season Sunday. As a team, UK improved each round of the tournament and finished 19th.
- Sophomore Ashleigh Albrecht led the Cats for the third time this spring season, finishing 35th overall. She carded her third-lowest round of the spring during the final round on Sunday.
- Kentucky lost to No. 2 Florida 7-0 Friday and fell to No. 38 South Carolina 6-1 Sunday.
- Freshman Khristina Blajkevitch won her team-leading eighth singles victory against South Carolina on Sunday. Blajkevitch's win was also her fifth in conference action, the most on the team.
Tuesday, April 5
Baseball hosts Xavier - 6:30 p.m.
Wednesday, April 6
Men's tennis hosts Ohio State - 3 p.m.
Softball at Austin Peay (DH) - 6 p.m.
Men's tennis hosts Morehead State - 8 p.m.
Friday, April 8
Women's tennis at Arkansas - 1 p.m.
Men's tennis hosts Arkansas - 3 p.m.
Softball at Georgia - 6:30 p.m.
Baseball hosts Auburn - 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 9
Softball at Georgia - 2:30 p.m.
Baseball hosts Auburn - 6:30 p.m.
Track and field at Kentuckiana Border Battle (Louisville, Ky.)
Men's golf hosts UK Bluegrass Invitational
Sunday, April 10
Baseball hosts Auburn - 1 p.m.
Women's tennis at LSU - 1 p.m.
Men's tennis hosts LSU - 1 p.m.
Softball at Georgia - 1:30 p.m.
Men's golf hosts UK Bluegrass Invitational
Softball: Despite UK's sweep of Arkansas on the road, the Cats' first series loss of the year dropped the team just a bit in both major polls. UK is ranked No. 23 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 but held steady at No. 24 in the USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Poll. Kentucky is 19-6 on the season with a road game at Louisville on Wednesday.
Gymnastics: Heading into next weekend's NCAA Central Regional Championship, UK is ranked No. 30 in the GymInfo national rankings. The only problem for the Cats is the five other teams in their regional are ranked ahead of them.
Men's tennis: Three wins at home held UK steady at No. 14 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings. Singles and doubles rankings only come out every other weeks, so junior Eric Quigley stayed at No. 4 player in the country in singles. Alex Musialek (No. 47) and Anthony Rossi (No. 77) are both in the top 100. Two of UK's double tandems, Alberto Gonzalez and Tom Jomby (No. 41) and Brad Cox and Eric Quigley (No. 49) are in the top 50.
- Kentucky advances to its 22nd Sweet 16, the second most in NCAA history, after a 71-63 win over West Virginia in third round of the NCAA Tournament.
- In holding the Mountaineers to 63 points, Kentucky ran its record to 25-0 this season when holding the opponent to 67 or fewer points and 46-0 under John Calipari. The win extended UK's season-best winning streak to eight games.
- Brandon Knight poured in 30 points in the victory, the most by a UK freshman in program history in NCAA Tournament action. Terrence Jones notched his 12th double-double this season, tying him with Chris Mills for second on UK's freshman double-double list.
- Josh Harrellson is averaging 15.0 points, 9.0 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game in the NCAA Tournament.
- The Wildcats have four players averaging double figures in the tournament, including Brandon Knight (16.0), Josh Harrellson (15.0), Terrence Jones (11.0) and Darius Miller (10.0).
- The Cats are making their eighth NCAA Tournament appearance and now own an 8-7 record in the tournament following a win over Hampton in the opening round.
- UK is now 4-1 all-time as a No. 4 seed.
- Junior guard Keyla Snowden scored a team-high 19 points in a career-high 37 minutes of play. Snowden's 16 points in the first half marked the most points in an opening frame since Dunlap scored 16 vs. Tennessee on Feb. 7.
- Dunlap recorded her 31st career and ninth doubledouble of the season with 13 points (11 coming in the second half ) and a game-high-tying 12 rebounds.
Swimming and diving
- The Kentucky women's swimming and diving team concluded its season Saturday with a 28th-place finish at the 2011 women's NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships held at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center in Austin, Texas.
- Senior diver Lisa Faulkner led the Wildcats by earning points on each of the three boards with a fifth-place finish on the platform, a 15th-place mark on the three-meter board and a 16th-place finish on the one-meter board.
- Senior backstroke swimmer Chatham Penrod earned All-America honorable mention honors in the 100 backstroke with a 16th-place finish.
- Mandy Myers swam a career-best time in the 100 butterfly on Friday, tapping in at 54.31. Myers topped her previous best time by .02.
- Head coach Rachel Lawson earned her 100th career victory as the head coach of Kentucky with the first of two wins at Arkansas. She attained 100 wins in the Blue and White faster than any other coach in school history.
- Senior Meagan Aull is enjoying a career-long hitting streak at nine games. Aull has a hit in every SEC game this season.
- Freshman pitcher Ellen Weaver earned the win on the mound in the opening game of the LSU series. It marked just the third win in program history over the Tigers, and Weaver is the second consecutive freshman pitcher to earn a win in Baton Rouge, La.
- Kentucky has won eight of its last nine contests.
- In the rubber match on Sunday with Tennessee, UK rode a four-hit game from senior closer/outfielder Mike Kaczmarek and a three-RBI outing from freshman J.T. Riddle to a 7-3 series-clinching win.
- Riddle had a monster week, batting .538 during the four games with a homer and eight RBI. Riddle's breakout game on Sunday included a three-run homer in the first inning, his first career homer, and a spectacular diving catch in right field to save extra bases.
- The gymnastics team earned a team score of 193.95 en route to a seventh-place finish at the SEC Championships.
- Kentucky's best event score came on vault where the Wildcats scored a 48.715. The Wildcats were led on the event by seniors Jasmine Minion and Phylicia Reshard, who each scored a 9.8. Fellow senior Andrea Mitchell earned a 9.775, while senior Colleen Williams scored a 9.7 and freshman Audrey Harrison posted a 9.65.
- Kentucky concluded the meet on floor exercise with a team score of 48.675. Mitchell led UK on the event with a 9.85, while Minion and Reshard each earned a 9.8.
- The Kentucky men's tennis team continued its dominance this season, posting three wins on the week over No. 21 Notre Dame, No. 37 Alabama and Butler.
- UK has now defeated 10 top-50 ranked teams this season, including a 5-2 record at home. The Wildcats are now 11-2 at home this season overall and 39-8 at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Center since the start of the 2009 season.
- With the wins over Notre Dame and Butler, Kentucky continued to be unbeatable at home in non-conference play, earning a 23-0 record the past two seasons, including a 10-0 mark this season.
- Kentucky was led throughout the week by its strong play in both singles and doubles, winning at least five singles matches in each victory. No. 4 Eric Quigley, No. 77 Anthony Rossi, No. 117 Alberto Gonzalez, Brad Cox and Tom Jomby each earned two singles wins during the week.
- Kentucky finished the Schenkel Invitational in a tie for 13th with freshman Cody Martin and sophomore Chase Parker finishing in the top 40 on the individual leaderboard.
- Martin scored the lowest round of the tournament for UK with his 1-under-par 71 in the second round. The native of Union, Ky., earned a team-high 10 birdies on the weekend en route to finishing tied for 32nd. Parker scored only three birdies at the event but earned
an impressive two eagles to finish tied for 50th.
- The UK women's tennis team concluded its three-match Texas road swing on Saturday, but could not pick up a victory.
- Senior Megan Broderick and sophomore Jessica Stiles each picked up their co-team-leading seventh singles victories of the season. Broderick defeated Elizabeth Ullathorne of Texas Tech 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-5) and Stiles got a win over TCU's Olivia Smith 6-0, 6-3.
- Freshman Khristina Blajkevitch earned her fifth victory in singles play by topping Texas Tech's Haley Fournier 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-3).
Men's basketball: Not that it matters much at this point with the NCAA Tournament about to begin, but the Cats finished the season by jumping all the way up to No. 11 in the Associated Press Top 25. UK also finished at No. 7 in the NCAA's official RPI rankings.
Women's basketball: The women concluded the regular season at No. 17 in the AP Top 25 and No. 16 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll. It's the highest AP ranking to end the regular season since 1983. UK Hoops finished at No. 13 in the RPI.
Softball: After another tremendous weekend, one that included two wins over then-No. 7 Tennessee, the UK softball team has finally made it into both major polls. The Cats are ranked No. 21 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 and No. 24 in the USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Poll. At 16-4 on the season, it's surprising in a way that UK isn't even higher.
Gymnastics: The Cats dropped a few spots to No. 29 in the GymInfo national rankings, which are now based on Regional Qualifying Average. The good news is the Cats are still in the top 36. The top 36 teams in terms of Regional Qualifying Average make it to regionals, so UK is in pretty good shape heading into SEC Championships this weekend.
Men's tennis: Losses to the nation's top team, Tennessee, and No. 8 Georgia, only dropped Kentucky three spots to No. 14 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings. Junior Eric Quigley is ranked the No. 4 player in the country in singles. Alex Musialek (No. 47) and Anthony Rossi (No. 77) are both in the top 100. Two of UK's double tandems, Alberto Gonzalez and Tom Jomby (No. 41) and Brad Cox and Eric Quigley (No. 49) are in the top 50.
- Behind gritty performances from veterans Heather Greathouse and Ethan Settlemires, the Kentucky rifle team won the overall national title at the 2010-11 NCAA Championships. After UK won the smallbore NCAA Title on Friday in the first day of competition, the Wildcats held off West Virginia's charge in air rifle on Saturday to secure the first national championship in
program history, finishing with a 4700 team total score.
- Kentucky entered the final day of competition on Saturday owning a seven-point lead. UK claimed its first-ever NCAA Championship in smallbore on Friday, totaling a 2336 team score, led by Settlemires and Greathouse. Settlemires won the NCAA individual championship on Friday with a 590 in smallbore, becoming the first individual NCAA Champion in smallbore in program history.
- Kentucky won its league-leading 27th SEC Tournament championship, defeating Florida 70-54 in the championship game. Darius Miller was named the tournament MVP and the Wildcats placed Miller, Josh Harrellson and Brandon Knight on the SEC All-Tournament team.
- UK will be making its NCAA record 51st appearance in the NCAA Tournament, taking on Princeton in the second round of the tournament in Tampa, Fla.
- The No. 17/16 Kentucky women's basketball team earned its eighth bid to the NCAA Tournament with a No. 4 seed in the Spokane Regional. UK will play 13th-seeded Hampton on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. in Albuquerque, N.M.
- It is the eighth overall NCAA Tournament berth for the Cats and their first back-to-back appearances since the 1982-83 seasons. UK is 7-7 all-time in the Big Dance, including a 3-1 mark under Matthew Mitchell.
- Behind a pair of comeback victories, the 23rd-ranked softball team defeated No. 7 Tennessee in two out of three games to capture the series to begin SEC play. It marked the first time since 2000 UK had won the series with its border-state rival.
- Senior Megan Yocke batted .556 on the weekend, which included a three-run home run in the bottom of the seventh to force extra innings in the rubber match between the two teams. She was then intentionally walked in the bottom of the 10th to set the stage for Kara Dill's walk-off RBI-single.
- The Wildcats posted four wins on the week, totaling a staggering 1.40 ERA as a team in 45 innings pitched, walking just 13 and striking out 45. UK got stellar starting pitching during the week, including quality starts from four of five starters a complete-game shutout from junior Alex Meyer on Saturday.
- Kentucky has been a well-rounded team, totaling a .295 batting average and a 3.51 team ERA, fielding at a .978 clip. The Wildcats have been led by center fielder Brian Adams, who has hit .368 with five doubles and five RBI.
- The gymnastics team scored three wins over the weekend, defeating William and Mary on Friday and North Carolina and George Washington on Sunday. Kentucky was led in both meets by senior Phylicia Reshard, who won the all-around against William and Mary and finished second in the all-around in Sunday's quad-meet.
- The Wildcats defeated William and Mary on each event, with junior Storey Morris winning the uneven bars title, Reshard winning the vault title, seniors Jasmine Minion, Andrea Mitchell and Reshard winning on floor, and Mitchell grabbing event honors on beam.
- The Wildcats were led by impressive play in doubles, taking the doubles point from both Tennessee and Georgia. Against Tennessee, Kentucky got upset wins at No. 2 and No. 3 doubles with senior Alberto Gonzalez and freshman Tom Jomby taking down the 55th-ranked doubles tandem in the nation, while junior Alex Musialek and sophomore Anthony Rossi
defeated the 52nd-ranked team. UK was equally impressive against Georgia in doubles with junior Eric Quigley and senior Brad Cox knocking off the sixth-ranked doubles team in the nation and Gonzalez and Jomby posting a win over the 36th-ranked doubles team. UK dropped the overall matches to nationally ranked Tennessee and Georgia.
- In singles, Musialek led the UK charge with a convincing win over No. 24 Javier Garrapiz, while Rossi and Jomby also posted singles wins.
Swimming and diving
- Freshman diver Greg Ferrucci and senior diver Lisa Faulkner earned spots in the men's and women's NCAA swimming and diving championships, respectively, thanks to their performances in the Zone C Diving Championships.
- Ferrucci recorded a score of 339.60 in the preliminaries and finished with a mark of 716.35 in the finals to finish in second place on the men's one-meter and earn his spot in the NCAAs. Faulkner earned a score of 296.35 in the women's one-meter preliminaries and finished with a score of 581.15 in the finals to finish in fifth place and earn a spot in the NCAA championships.
Track and field
- Kentucky track and field junior Keith Hayes capped off an incredible three-week run leading up to the 2011 NCAA Indoor Championships with a seventh-place finish in the finals of the 60-meter hurdles, grabbing two points for the Wildcats.
- Hayes earned his first All-America honor for his top-eight performance in the finals Saturday.
- Behind impressive final rounds from sophomore Chase Parker and freshman Cody Martin, the UK men's golf team moved up four spots on the leaderboard to finish 13th in the Cleveland Golf Palmetto Intercollegiate. Martin (80-70-69-219) and Parker (78-72-70-220) led the Wildcats, posting solid scores on the final day to earn a top-25 finish.
- Martin carded the lowest UK round of the day Tuesday, earning a 1-under-par 69 to move 36 spots up the leaderboard. He finished the tournament in a tie for 21st, totaling a 9-over-par 219 after a 10-ove-par 80 in the opening round and an even-par 70 in the second round.
- The Cats competed in the LSU Tiger Golf Classic and finished in 18th place with a final score of 95-over-par 959.
- Sophomore Heather Lott led the Wildcats with a final score of 12-over par to finish the tournament in a tie for 31st among the 111 competing golfers.
- The Cats dropped a pair of SEC road matches over the weekend to Tennessee and Georgia. The Wildcats fell 6-1 in each match.
- Freshman Khristina Blajkevitch won a thrilling victory over UT's Kata Szekely 7-5, 4-6, 1-0 (12-10). Senior Megan Broderick topped Chelsey Gullickson of Georgia after the 48th-ranked player had to retire.
Tuesday, March 15
Baseball hosts Murray State - 4 p.m.
Wednesday, March 16
Softball at Arkansas (DH) - 5 p.m.
Women's tennis at Baylor • 5:00 p.m.
Thursday, March 17
Men's tennis hosts Notre Dame - 1 p.m.
Women's tennis at TCU - 2 p.m.
Men's basketball vs. Princeton - 2:45 p.m. (Tampa, Fla.)
Men's tennis hosts Butler - 7 p.m.
Women's swimming and diving at NCAA Championships (Austin, Texas)
Friday, March 18
Baseball hosts Tennessee - 6:30 p.m.
Softball at LSU - 7 p.m.
Women's swimming and diving at NCAA Championships (Austin, Texas)
Men's golf at Schenkel Invitational (Statesboro, Ga.)
Saturday, March 19
Women's tennis at Texas Tech - 10 a.m.
Baseball hosts Tennessee - 1 p.m.
Men's tennis hosts Alabama - 1 p.m.
Softball at LSU - 4 p.m.
Women's basketball vs. Hampton - 6:30 p.m. (Albuquerque, N.M.)
Men's basketball vs. West Virginia/Clemson/UAB - TBA (Tampa, Fla.)
Gymnastics at SEC Championships (Birmingham, Ala.)
Women's swimming and diving at NCAA Championships (Austin, Texas)
Men's golf at Schenkel Invitational (Statesboro, Ga.)
Sunday, March 20
Baseball hosts Tennessee - 1 p.m.
Softball at LSU - 2 p.m.
Men's golf at Schenkel Invitational (Statesboro, Ga.)
Every Tuesday, UK Athletics recognizes outstanding performances for our student-athletes. These are the honorees for the week ending Sunday, Mar. 6:
Gymnastics: Seniors - Jasmine Minion, Andrea Mitchell, Phylicia Reshard, Colleen Williams
In their final home meet of their collegiate careers, these four gymnasts stepped up to the challenge and carried the Kentucky gymnastics team to a season-best score of 195.65. All four gymnasts had impressive scores at the event, but none more than Mitchell who set or tied a career high on three events en route to her career best all-around score of 39.550. Minion was great for UK on beam, scoring a career best beam score of 9.775, while Reshard continued her solid year as an all-arounder with a score of 39.2. Williams had arguably her best meet of the year Friday, taking home medalist honors on vault with a 9.85 and setting a season high on bars with a 9.8.
Baseball: Jordan Cooper
Sophomore right-hander Jordan Cooper turned in the start of his career in a must-win situation on Sunday at the 2011 Houston College Classic against Utah, hosted by the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park ... Cooper hurled seven innings and allowed only one run on three hits, striking out a career-high nine ... The Shelbyville, Tenn., native picked up the win over the red-hot Utes, holding UT to a .150 batting average ... Cooper allowed only one run in the first inning on two back-to-back hits to start the game, including one that bounced off his cleats on the mound ... On the year, Cooper owns a 1-0 record and a 3.86 ERA in four games and three starts, totaling one save ... In 16.1 innings this season, Cooper has fanned 13.
Softball: Lauren Cumbess
Freshman Lauren Cumbess has been an offensive spark and a consistent performer in the circle in helping guide UK to its best start in program history following a 3-0 weekend at the Coach B Classic. Cumbess is currently on a six-game hitting streak which ranks as the fourth best streak on the team this season. In a win over Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, Cumbess had a day to remember. In her lone pitching performance of the week, Cumbess was nearly flawless with a complete game shutout in the win. She yielded what would become three meaningless singles and struck out a career-best 10 in the win. At the dish, Cumbess connected for her first career home run to aide her own cause with a solo shot in the fifth inning to lift UK to the 2-0 win. In the victory over Southern Illinois, Cumbess produced an RBI single in the first inning and would come around to score to help guide UK to a 9-5 win.
Softball: Kara Dill
Sophomore Kara Dill paced the Wildcats to a 3-0 week to improve to 14-3 overall on the season, which is the best start in school history. Dill batted .556 for the week, which included a career-best three hits in a win over Southern Illinois. Dill also tapped home a career-high three times in that outing. In the victory over Purdue, Dill executed a perfectly-played suicide-squeeze bunt to plate the final run of a three-run inning to lift UK to the comfortable advantage. She has started all 17 games for UK at shortstop in her first season in the role and has performed admirably registering 17 putouts and 24 assists while committing just one error in the opening weekend of action.
Baseball: Trevor Gott
Freshman right-hander Trevor Gott had a stellar weekend at the Houston College Classic, pitching in the Friday and Sunday games ... Gott picked up a huge save in the Sunday game, entering with a 2-1 UK lead in the eighth inning and tossing two shutout innings with only one infield hit allowed ... A native of Lexington, Ky., and a graduate of Tates Creek, Gott struck out four in the outing ... In his appearance on Friday, Gott was called on to face reigning NCAA Player of the Year, Rice third sacker Anthony Rendon ... Gott forced a first pitch swing and miss from Rendon, then educed a harmless ground out ... On the year, Gott has appeared in a team-high five games this season, posting a 1-1 record and a perfect 0.00 ERA ... Gott has tossed 8.1 innings without allowing an earned run, fanning 11 in 8.1 frames.
Baseball: Braden Kapteyn
Junior two-way star Braden Kapteyn had a productive weekend during UK's three games at the Houston College Classic ... A native of Lansing, Ill., Kapteyn hit in the middle of the order on the weekend and reached base safely in a staggering 11-of-13 plate appearances ... On Friday vs. Rice, Kapteyn snapped 25 consecutive innings without a homer at the spacious Minute Maid Park, by sending a towering bomb into the famous Crawford Boxes over the tall leftfield fence ... In five plate appearances vs. the high-octane Owls, Kapteyn reached five times ... In a game with Houston, Kapteyn reached base safely in 2-of-4 visits to the plate, totaling a run ... In Sunday's win over Utah, Kapteyn was UK's offense, reaching base safely in all four outings, including scoring UK's only two runs in a 2-1 win ... Kapteyn went 2-for-2 at the plate with two walks ... In a tie game in the eighth inning, Kapteyn delivered a deep triple that sailed near the 4340foot centerfield fence, for his first career triple, coming around to score the go-ahead run.
Men's basketball: Brandon Knight
Scored in double-figures for the 24th and 25th straight games ... Was a perfect 12-for-12 from the free throw line on the week ... Scored 12 of his 17 points and grabbed four of his six rebounds in the second half against Vanderbilt to help the Cats remain perfect at home for the second straight season ... Iced the game vs. Vanderbilt with two free throws with :08 left to UK an insurmountable 68-65 lead ... At Tennessee, he scored 17 of his game-high 19 points in the second half to help the Cats to a season sweep of the Volunteers ... Hit a pair of free throws with just over a minute remaining to help put the game away ... Broke the UK freshman record for 3-pointers in a season with 69th
Men's basketball: Darius Miller
Tallied back-to-back double-digit efforts against Vanderbilt and Tennessee giving him a career-best six-straight double-digit scoring games ... Shot better than .500 on the week for the second straight week ... Hit a pair of free throws with 4:28 left in the game that gave Kentucky the lead for good ... Hit a pair of crucial 3-pointers in the road win against Tennessee the second of which gave UK a four-point lead with 2:53 left in the game
Women's tennis: Marni Venter
- Defeated Vivian Pietraroia of Mississippi State on Sunday 6-1, 6-1
- Paired with fellow freshman Caitlin McGraw, won at No. 2 doubles 8-1
Men's basketball: One of Kentucky's best weeks this season led to a pretty big jump in the polls this week. UK checked in at No. 15 in this week's Associated Press Top 25 and No. 16 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll. The Cats are a No. 4 seed in Joe Lunardi's Bracketology this week, with the possibility of facing a familiar foe -- West Virginia -- in the second round. Kentucky's RPI continues to be srong with a ranking of 12th.
Women's basketball: Not much movement for UK Hoops to end the regular-season polls as UK reached the Southeastern Conference championship before getting blown out by Tennessee. The Cats are No. 17 in the AP Top 25 and No. 16 in the Coaches' Poll. Charlie Creme, the women's version of Joe Lunardi, has Kentucky as a No. 4 seed in his Bracketology projections. The women rank 14th in the NCAA's RPI.
Softball: The Cats aren't getting a lot of respect in the polls despite a 14-3 record. UK moved up just one spot in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 to No. 23. And somehow, even with a 3-0 week, Kentucky lost votes in the USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Poll.
Gymnastics: UK remained No. 26 in the GymInfo national rankings, which are now based on Regional Qualifying Average. The top 36 teams in terms of Regional Qualifying Average make it to regionals, so UK is in pretty good shape heading down the final stretch of the season.