Earlier this week, the Southeastern Conference unveiled its Winter Academic Honor Roll. To be named to the list, student-athletes must have a grade point average of 3.00 or above for either the preceding academic year have a cumulative GPA of 3.00, among other criteria.
Forty-three Kentucky Wildcats were named to the Honor Roll, the fourth-highest total of any SEC school. Student-athletes from six different teams earned spots. Men's and women's swimming and diving led the way with 14 and 10 honorees each. Gymnastics and rifle each had six, while men's and women's basketball had four and three respectively.
Congratulations to all these Wildcats for their hard work and achievement in the classroom!
See below for a list of all 43 along with their majors.
Twany Beckham - M. Basketball - Communication Terrence Jones - M. Basketball - Communication Darius Miller - M. Basketball - Community Communications and Leadership Development Jarrod Polson - M. Basketball - Finance Kastine Evans - W. Basketball - Business Management Amber Smith - W. Basketball - Family Sciences Keyla Snowden - W. Basketball - Media Arts and Studies Caitlyn Ciokajlo - Gymnastics - Kinesiology/Exercise Science Audrey Harrison - Gymnastics - Business Management Kayla Hartley - Gymnastics - Hospitality Management and Tourism Storey Morris - Gymnastics - Community Communications and Leadership Development Whitney Rose - Gymnastics - Business Management Kayla Sienkowski - Gymnastics - Merchandising, Apparel, and Textiles Dayna Ferguson - Rifle - French Heather Greathouse - Rifle - Psychology Emily Holsopple - Rifle - Biology Henri Junghanel - Rifle - Mechanical Engineering Ed Ryznar - Rifle - Mechanical Engineering Stacy Wheatley - Rifle - Nursing John Bullock - M. Swimming and Diving - Finance/Business Management Greg Ferrucci - M. Swimming and Diving - Kinesiology/Exercise Science John Fox - M. Swimming and Diving - Political Science Blake Freeman - M. Swimming and Diving - Biology Travis Green - M. Swimming and Diving - Biology William Heidler - M. Swimming and Diving - Chemistry Luke Iannuzzi - M. Swimming and Diving - Biology Jonathan Keltner - M. Swimming and Diving - Finance/Business Management Pat Kemme - M. Swimming and Diving - Family Sciences Zack Peterson - M. Swimming and Diving - Kinesiology/Exercise Science Tyler Reed - M. Swimming and Diving - Secondary Education Matt Russell - M. Swimming and Diving - Psychology Maclin Simpson - M. Swimming and Diving - Marketing/Business Management Jacob Thomas - M. Swimming and Diving - Kinesiology/Exercise Science Claire Archibald - W. Swimming and Diving - Accounting Catherine Brueckbauer - W. Swimming and Diving - Marketing Megan Eppler - W. Swimming and Diving - Accounting Lindsay Lash - W. Swimming and Diving - Elementary Education Anna Mattox - W. Swimming and Diving - Communication Disorders Marisa McGlynn - W. Swimming and Diving - Marketing Chelsea Peterson - W. Swimming and Diving - Biology Jenna Willis - W. Swimming and Diving - Psychology Kristen Wilson - W. Swimming and Diving - Finance Samantha Wright - W. Swimming and Diving - Psychology
It's time for another video from Monday's CATSPY Awards. This one features the four teams that have won conference and/or national championships this season: men's basketball, women's basketball, rifle and men's tennis.
Before March Madness, UK Athletics was already having a 2011-12 season to remember. Volleyball advanced to the Sweet 16, women's soccer made a return trip to the NCAA Tournament, football scored a streak-busting win over Tennessee and rifle fell just short of a second national championship in a row.
Things were just getting started.
Kentucky was center stage all season in both men's and women's basketball, culminating in nine combined wins in the NCAA Tournament. Of course, the men took home the big prize, while UK Hoops advanced to its second Elite Eight in three seasons.
As if the tournament runs weren't enough on their own, Kentucky is still reaping the benefits of all the March victories in the Capital One Cup standings. The national championship earned 60 points for UK in the men's standings, lifting the school all the way to second with 66 points, trailing only North Carolina. In the women's standings, UK now sits in a tie for 23rd place with Virginia, meaning Kentucky is one of eight schools in the NCAA to rank in the top 25 of both men's and women's standings.
With baseball and men's tennis ranked each ranked in the top 10, UK is poised to make a run at the top spot in the men's standings this spring. Capital One will award a combined $400,000 in student-athlete scholarships and the Capital One Cup trophy to the winning schools at the ESPY awards in July.
"I was standing under the basket and saw a pass headed right at my head," Bilas recalled Tuesday. "I was just ducking when all of a sudden two big hands come out of nowhere and grab the ball like it was tossed. I mean, this was a bullet, and I was sure it was going to hit me."
Davis caught the ball and scored.
"Holy (Toledo)," Bilas recalled thinking. "That was one of the best catches I can remember."
After winning all 16 of its league regular-season games by an average of 16.4 points, UK won by a combined 12 points against LSU and Florida -- two teams the Cats had previously throttled -- in the SEC quarterfinals and semifinals. Then they collapsed over the final five minutes against the Commodores.
"I'm a little bit of a perfectionist. I want them to dominate people," Calipari said. "It may not be fair, but that's how I view these guys -- trying to get them to that next level, trying to make sure that they understand you're going to have to outwork the other teams."
With President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron seated in the front row along one baseline, this so-called "First Four" game of the 2012 NCAA Tournament ranked first only chronologically until a improbable Western Kentucky rally made it memorable.
Western came back from 16 down in the final five minutes to win 59-58.
Calipari certainly appears to have succeeded based on that method of evaluation. Kentucky (32-2) enters the NCAA tournament as a clear title favorite after being one Christian Watford buzzer-beating three away from an undefeated regular season.
If Calipari does not cut down the nets with this Kentucky team, the pressure on him to win his first ring will only intensify. Here's a look at where Calipari ranks on my list of college basketball's best all-time coaches who did not win a championship.
Kentucky has pulled off another sweep of the awards, this time for The Associated Press All-Southeastern Conference women's basketball team.
A'dia Mathies was named player of the year Tuesday, Matthew Mitchell claimed the coaching award, and Bria Goss picked up newcomer of the year. On Monday, the Wildcats took all three awards for the men's team.
The No. 2 seed is the second in school history for the Wildcats, and ties their highest seed ever in the tournament. Kentucky was also a two seed in 1982. The other first-round matchup in Ames, Iowa, features No. 7 seed Green Bay (30-1) and No. 10 seed Iowa State (18-12).
"It's a really historic night for us, and we're so excited," UK Hoops head coach Matthew Mitchell said. "It's the first time in our school's history that the women's program has been to three straight tournaments. It's the first time we've ever gotten a seed this high (since 1982). It's a great night for us and we couldn't be more excited about advancing to the tournament and getting a two seed and having a chance to compete for a national championship. It's a real, real exciting night for our program."
Freshman A.J. Reed pitched six dominating innings and had three hits, including a home run, and three RBIs to power the 16th-ranked and unbeaten University of Kentucky baseball team past Wright State 9-1 on Tuesday at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
The 6-foot-4, 235-poound Reed (3-0) became the first player in UK's modern-era history (1979-present) to start a game on the mound and at the cleanup batter. He allowed seven hits and the run, throwing first-pitch strikes to the first 21 batters.
Courtney Lee and rookie Chandler Parsons each scored 21 points, Patrick Patterson blocked Serge Ibaka's point-blank putback attempt in the final 2 seconds, and the Rockets charged back from an 11-point deficit in the last 3 minutes to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 104-103 on Tuesday night.
One person didn't view Brandon Knight's breakout game on Saturday night as a breakout: Knight himself.
Knight jumped out like a rocket in the Pistons' blowout win over the Toronto Raptors, atoning for two low volume performances in wins against the Lakers and Hawks (six points, seven assists total). He scored all 19 of his points in the first half and finished with seven assists.
Forward Tayshaun Prince became the sixth player in franchise history Saturday to play in 700 career games with Detroit. Prince, a 2002 draft pick, has played at least 78 games in seven of his nine seasons. The only players who have played more games in a Pistons uniform are Joe Dumars (1,018), Isiah Thomas (979), Bill Laimbeer (937), Vinnie Johnson (798) and Lindsey Hunter (703).
Men's basketball - The SEC regular-season champion, Kentucky Wildcats, make their NCAA-record 52nd appearance in the NCAA Tournament, earning an at-large bid as the overall No. 1 seed in the tournament. - The Wildcats just missed the league's automatic bid, dropping a 71-64 game to the Vanderbilt Commodores in the SEC Tournament championship. - UK was led offensively Sunday by senior Darius Miller, who tallied a team-high 16 points. - The Wildcats got a pair of double-double performances from Anthony Davis (12p, 10r) and Terrence Jones (12p, 11r) on Sunday. For Davis it was his fourth-straight double-double. He also added three blocks. - Doron Lamb rounded out Kentucky's four double-digit scorers against Vanderbilt.
Rifle - The UK rifle team concluded its 2011-12 season with a second-place overall finish at the NCAA Championships in Columbus, Ohio, over the weekend. - In the first day, UK won its second consecutive team national championship in smallbore. The NCAA Championship in smallbore was just the second in program history. - The Wildcats' (11-1, 6-0) second-place finish is the fifth all-time runner-up finish at the NCAA Championships in program history. - The championships conclude another stellar season for the Wildcats, which completed a second consecutive undefeated GARC regular-season schedule. Baseball - The No. 23 Kentucky baseball team completed a five-game week with a three-game weekend series sweep over Canisius, in addition to midweek wins over Tennessee Tech and Marshall. - The Wildcats are the lone undefeated team in the NCAA, posting a 16-0 record, owning the longest winning streak and the most wins in the nation. - UK's 16-0 start is the third-best start to a season in the over 100-year history of the program, passing the 15-0 start the 2000 team opened up with under Keith Madison. The 2007 and 2008 teams own the school record with a 19-0 start. - During the week, UK posted a 10-6 win over Tennessee Tech and a 7-3 win over Marshall. UK then charted a 19-9 win over Canisius in the series opener, before winning the series on Saturday with a 7-5 result and sweeping the Golden Griffins with a 5-4 walk-off win on Sunday. - UK has been paced by the best offense in the SEC, owning a .349 team average, belting 16 homers through 16 games, with a 3.25 ERA on the mound and 163 strikeouts in 144 innings. Men's tennis - The men's tennis team had another great weekend in SEC play, defeating No. 33 South Carolina and No. 9 Florida at home. - The wins were Kentucky's 10th and 11th over ranked teams for this season, while the victory over Florida was UK's 24th over a top-25 team since the start of the 2009 season. UK has now beat Florida in consecutive regular seasons for the first time since 1992-93. - Sophomore Grant Roberts stole the show Sunday vs. UF with a three-set match to clinch the UK victory. Senior No. 6 Eric Quigley, sophomore No. 98 Tom Jomby and Roberts each earned two singles wins over the weekend.
Gymnastics - The gymnastics team had yet another winning weekend when it scored one of the highest team scores in school history of 196.025 against George Washington and Ball State. The two wins guarantee UK a winning regular season for the first time since 2008. - UK has now posted consecutive 195.95 scores or higher for the first time since 2002, while Tim Garrison is the first head coach in school history to post a 196 or higher in his opening year. - UK scored a 49.0 or higher on three events, including a season high on bars, while UK set or tied eight season highs and seven career highs in the meet.
Softball - Kentucky dropped three games with No. 1 Alabama in its home-opening weekend. The Tide escaped a 3-1 nine-inning thriller in the opening game. - Griffin Joiner, the reigning SEC Freshman of the Week, led the Wildcats with a .544 batting average and a homer. - Pitcher Lauren Cumbess tossed a career-high 10 strikeouts in a tough-luck loss to the Tide in the second game of the series. - UK will take a weekend off from SEC action by hosting the UK Invitational. - Kentucky finished its indoor season Friday at the NCAA Championships in Nampa, Idaho. Track and field - Senior Terri-Ann Grant represented the Wildcats at the championships, finishing ninth in the high jump with a mark of 1.78m/5-10.00. - Grant's performance earned her second-team All-America honors. - Kentucky begins its outdoor season March 16 at the Bulls Invitational in Tampa, Fla.
Women's tennis - Kentucky dropped a 6-1 decision in its opening SEC road match of the season at South Carolina. - Khristina Blajkevitch captured the lone point for the Wildcats with a 3-6, 6-3, (10-8) win at No. 3 singles. - UK remains on the road at Florida and its match has been postponed until Monday at 12:30 p.m. ET. Men's golf - Kentucky finished third at the USF Invitational after back-to-back rounds of 4-under-par and 1-over-par in the final two rounds of the tournament. - Chase Parker led the way for UK with a fourth-place finish after a 5-under-par 67 in the second round. - Parker's 67 tied his career-low round, and was his second round of 5-under-par in as many tournaments. - Parker, Cody Martin and Stephen Powers each finished in the top 25. Upcoming schedule
Monday, March 12 Women's tennis at Florida - 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 13 Softball hosts Western Illinois - 3:00 p.m. Baseball hosts Wright State - 4:00 p.m. Wednesday, March 14 Baseball hosts Murray State - 4:00 p.m. Thursday, March 15 Women's tennis vs. Miami - 5:00 p.m. (Coral Gables, Fla.) Men's basketball vs. WKU/MVSU - 6:50 p.m. (Louisville) Friday, March 16 Softball hosts N.C. State - 3:00 p.m. Softball hosts UAB - 5:00 p.m. Baseball hosts South Carolina - 7:00 p.m. Men's golf at Schenkel Invitational (Statesboro, Ga.) Track and Field at Bulls Invitational (Tampa) Women's golf at Lady Gator Invitational (Gainesville, Fla.) Saturday, March 17 Men's basketball vs. UConn/Iowa State - TBA (Louisville) Softball hosts Missouri-Kansas City - 1:00 p.m. Softball hosts TBD - 3:00 p.m. /5:00 p.m. Baseball hosts South Carolina - 2:00 p.m. Gymnastics at Centenary -7:00 p.m. Men's golf at Schenkel Invitational (Statesboro, Ga.) Women's golf at Lady Gator Invitational (Gainesville, Fla.)
Sunday, March 18 Softball hosts TBD - 11:00 a.m. /1:00 p.m. Baseball hosts South Carolina - 1:00 p.m. Men's golf at Schenkel Invitational (Statesboro, Ga.) Women's golf at Lady Gator Invitational (Gainesville, Fla.)
Men's basketball - Kentucky won its 45th SEC Championship outright Saturday on the heels of an 83-74 win over Vanderbilt. - Freshman Anthony Davis led the way with his 13th double-double of the season, scoring a career and game-high 28 points to go along with a game-high 11 rebounds. He also added five blocked shots and two steals. - Freshman Marquis Teague added 16 points while dishing out six assists and grabbing four rebounds. Terrence Jones also scored in double-figures with 12 points to go along with six rebounds and two blocks. - UK celebrates Senior Night against Georgia on Thursday, honoring seniors Darius Miller and Eloy Vargas.
Women's basketball - Kentucky won all three games last week, including an impressive 76-40 win on the road at Mississippi State in the regular season finale on Sunday to give the Wildcats their first regular season championship since 1982. - The Cats earned the No. 1 seed, and a first-round bye in the SEC Tournament for the third-straight season and now prepare to square off against the winner of Florida (No. 8 seed) and Auburn (No. 9 seed) in the quarterfinals Friday, March 2. - The Cats, who were picked to finish second in the SEC standings by the league coaches and media, have had another remarkable season under the direction of head coach Matthew Mitchell. He has led UK to its third straight 20-win season with a 24-5 overall record, including a 13-3 mark in SEC play. - The 13 league wins were a school record for SEC wins in a season and UK was the only school in the SEC to go undefeated at home. UK's 18-0 home record is just the third undefeated season in school history.
Baseball - The Kentucky baseball team posted three wins on the weekend to sweep Buffalo in the home-opening set. - The Wildcats return to action with home midweek contests vs. Morehead State (Tuesday) and Xavier (Wednesday) at 4 p.m. ET, before hosting Illinois-Chicago in a three-game series Friday-Sunday. - Kentucky (6-0) is off to its best start to a season since opening 19-0 during the 2007 and 2008 seasons. The Wildcats have utilized a balanced approach with a .341 team average, a 3.50 team ERA and a staggering .996 fielding percentage. UK has made just one error on the year, coming on an attempted pickoff at second base.
Rifle - UK rifle finished second at the 2011-12 GARC Championships over the weekend at Ole Miss, placing third overall in smallbore and second overall in air rifle, finishing just six points shy of champion West Virginia. - Kentucky completed the final day of the GARC Championships with a solid air rifle score to finish second to West Virginia overall, after UK placed third in smallbore on Saturday. UK, the regular-season conference champions and the defending NCAA Champions, fell just six points shy of the Mountaineers. - UK was led on Sunday by a strong air rifle performance, as Settlemires paced the team with a 595. Greathouse fired a 592, while Wheatley finished with a 590. Henri Junghanel totaled a 585 and Katie Fretts fired a 579 to round out the starting lineup.
Men's tennis - Kentucky could not avenge an earlier loss this season to highly ranked Ohio State, falling 4-0 to the second-ranked Buckeyes on Saturday in Columbus, Ohio. The win extended Ohio State's home winning streak to an impressive 136 consecutive matches, which is the longest in the nation. - The Wildcats dropped the doubles point with tight losses at Nos. 1 and 3 doubles, while OSU continued its momentum in singles action, earning singles matches at Nos. 2, 4, and 6 for the win. - UK junior Anthony Rossi, who is the reigning SEC Player of the Week, did not record a decision in the match, keeping his singles streak alive at 16 consecutive matches. Gymnastics - UK gymnastics posted its best meet of the year Friday, earning a team score of 195.525 en route to defeating No. 15 Auburn and Pittsburgh. It was Kentucky's first league win this year. - The Wildcats earned season-best team scores on two events, scoring a 49.125 on uneven bars and a 49.2 on floor exercise. The high score on bars is tied for the 12th-highest score on the event in school history, while UK's 49.2 on floor is tied for the 16th-best in school history. - Sophomore Audrey Harrison won her second all-around title on the season for UK, scoring a career-best 39.175. Senior Storey Morris finished first overall on uneven bars, while Harrison finished tied for first on beam and won the floor title outright with a 9.9. Softball - UK went 3-1 at the Georgia Southern Invitational where Kara Dill and Chanda Bell were named to the All-Tournament team. Dill batted .600 for the weekend and extended her season-long hitting streak to 10 games. Bell picked up two wins to become the school's all-time career leader in victories with 55. - Freshman Griffin Joiner had a breakout weekend with a .417 average. Joiner also reached base three other times by way of a walk and a hit by pitch, and registered her first career stolen base.
Track and field - The Kentucky men's team finished eighth at the SEC Championships with 38 points, while the women's teams placed 12th with seven points. - Senior Kentucky men's distance runner Luis Orta won the men's 3,000m run Saturday and the men's 5,000m run Sunday, becoming the first student-athlete to win both races in the same championship since Georgia's Ian Burrell in 2007. - Orta was a co-recipient on the men's side of the Cliff Harper Trophy, awarded each year to the high-points scorer of the meet. - Orta was the first Kentucky athlete ever to win the 3K at the SEC Indoor Championships, and was the first Wildcat to win the 5K since Richard Ede in 1987.
Women's tennis - Kentucky traveled for a midweek match with Akron, where the Cats lost a heartbreaker, 4-3. UK also traveled to Indiana to face the Hoosiers and dropped the match, 5-2. - Sophomore Khristina Blajkevitch excelled despite the tough competition at Indiana, bringing home a win in singles and doubles play. - Edmee Morin-Kougoucheff and CeCe Witten grabbed wins for the Wildcats in singles play vs. the Zips while also defeating their opponents in their respective doubles matches.
Men's golf - Kentucky finished in a tie for ninth at the Mobile Bay Intercollegiate, its first tournament of the spring season. - Freshman David Snyder finished in a tie for 10th after a career-low round of 4-under-par 68 in the final round to finish at even-par. - Junior Chase Parker carded a career-low round of 5-under-par in the final round to finish in a tie for 25th. - Kentucky's final round team score of 285 was the second lowest third round of the tournament.
Swimming and diving - Tyler Reed and Lucas Gerotto both qualified for the 2012 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships with swims Sunday afternoon that catapulted them into elite company on the final day of the Bulldog Last Chance Meet. - Gerotto swam a 46.75 in the 100-fly, just three one hundredths of a second off the UK record, and good enough to place him 13th overall in the nation this year. Tyler Reed swam a 43.08 in the men's 100-freestyle to push himself to Seattle for the NCAA Championships in that event.
Tuesday, Feb. 28 Baseball hosts Morehead St. - 4:00 p.m.
Thursday, March 1 Men's basketball hosts Georgia - 9:00 p.m.
Friday, March 2 Women's basketball vs. Florida/Auburn - 1:00 p.m. (Nashville) Softball vs. Texas A&M CC - 2:30 p.m. (Lafayette, La.) Men's tennis at LSU - 4:00 p.m. Baseball hosts Illinois-Chicago - 4:00 p.m. Women's tennis hosts LSU - 5:00 p.m. Softball vs. Stephen F. Austin - 7:30 p.m. (Lafayette, La.) Gymnastics at Illinois - 8:00 p.m. Track and field at NCAA Qualifying
Saturday, March 3 Softball vs. Stephen F. Austin - Noon (Lafayette, La.) Softball at Louisiana-Lafayette - 2:30 p.m. Baseball hosts Illinois-Chicago - 1:00 p.m. Women's basketball SEC Semifinals - 4:00 p.m. (Nashville) Track and field at NCAA Qualifying
Sunday, March 4 Softball vs. Nicholls State - 11:00 a.m. (Lafayette, La.) Men's basketball at Florida - Noon Women's tennis hosts Arkansas - Noon Baseball hosts Illinois-Chicago - 1:00 p.m. Men's tennis at Arkansas - 1:00 p.m. Women's basketball SEC Finals - 6:00 p.m. (Nashville) Men's golf at USF Invitational
Men's basketball - The Wildcats pushed the nation's longest current winning streak to 18 games after posting a 77-62 win over the Ole Miss Rebels in Lexington on Saturday. - Terrence Jones tallied his first double-double of the season with 15 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. - Doron Lamb led all scorers with 16 points on 4-of-6 shooting from 3-point range, while Darius Miller hit 3-of-7 from 3-point range for 15 points. Kyle Wiltjer was 3-of-4 from 3-point range for a personal best in league play with 13 points. Anthony Davis was the fifth Wildcat to record double-figures with 10 points. - As a team, UK hit 10-of-18 from downtown, the most in SEC play this year.
Women's basketball - The Wildcats currently sit in a tie with Tennessee for first place with three games remaining in the regular season. UK had one of its best starts in program history, winning 21 of its first 23 games and each of its first 10 games in SEC play. - The Wildcats have their sights set on winning their first SEC regular season championship since 1982. The Cats are just one win away from tying the most SEC wins in school history at 11. Kentucky has won the last three meetings against Vanderbilt, including a 78-68 win last season in Lexington. - UK ranks in the top 10 of four national statistical categories, including leading the nation in turnover margin (+11.9). The Cats have forced at least 23 turnovers in six of the last seven games.
Baseball - The baseball team opened up the 2012 season with two wins on opening weekend and will finalize the opening weekend Monday at 2 p.m. ET at USC Upstate (2-0) after rain postponed the regular-scheduled Sunday finale. - The Wildcats used a 10-4 win at Wofford in the lidlifter, behind a dominating performance from Taylor Rogers on the mound, who fanned a career high nine in his season debut. UK also got a homer from 2011 All-SEC third baseman Thomas McCarthy to cap the scoring, extending his hitting streak to a career-high 11 games. - In a 10-2 beatdown of Eastern Michigan, a team that won 37 games in 2011, UK used a 13-hit attack to total 10 runs for the second consecutive game. UK's starter Jerad Grundy turned in a winning performance in his debut, striking out four in 5.2 innings and retiring 12 consecutive hitters in the middle of the game.
Rifle - Kentucky completed the NCAA qualifying competition on Saturday at Barker Hall, totaling a 4657 total team score. - Kentucky will return to action at the Great American Rifle Conference Championships, hosted by Ole Miss in Oxford, Miss., at the Patricia C. Lamar Army National Guard Readiness Center Feb. 25-26. - UK was led in air rifle by Wheatley and Greathouse, with the duo each charting a 590. Henri Junghänel (587), Emily Holsopple (589) and Ethan Settlemires (587) rounded out the UK starting lineup in air gun.
Men's tennis - UK went 1-2 over the weekend in the ITA National Men's Team Indoor Championships. The Wildcats defeated No. 11 Texas A&M 4-0 in the first round after claiming the doubles point and getting three quality singles wins. The win punched UK's ticket to the quarterfinals of the event for the first time since it advanced to the semifinals in 1997. - UK would fall in the quarterfinals in heartbreaking fashion, dropping one of the closest matches of the tournament to No. 3 Ohio State 4-3. Against OSU, seniors No. 6 Eric Quigley and No. 20 Alex Musialek defeated ranked foes. Quigley took down No. 16 Chase Buchanan, while Musialek defeated No. 12 Blaz Rola. - Rossi led UK at the event, going 3-0 in singles play. The junior has won 16 consecutive singles matches for UK and is an impressive 26-2 on the season, including 9-0 in dual matches.
Swimming and diving - The swimming and diving teams wrapped up the 2012 SEC Championships on Saturday with the men placing in seventh and the women finishing ninth. - For the swimmers, Lucas Gerotto led the way for UK, placing third in the men's 100-fly with a time of 47.00 in the finals. The Sao Paulo, Brazil native finished on the podium of the SEC Championships for the first time in his career. - For the divers, it was a very successful meet as the Wildcats qualified divers for the finals in every event. Greg Ferrucci took second in the men's 3m springboard to cap what was the best-ever 3m competition for UK in school history. The Wildcats also qualified John Fox and Corey Cowger for the finals of the event. Ferrucci went on to place third overall in the 1m springboard, jumping from seventh to third in his final dive of the competition. Gymnastics - UK concluded the road portion of its 2012 SEC schedule by falling 197.225-193.125 to No. 4 Georgia on Saturday. UK gymnasts set or tied four season highs and three career highs in the meet. - Junior Caitlyn Ciokajlo led UK on uneven bars for the third time this season with a career-high tying 9.875, while sophomore Holly Cunningham paced UK on vault for the third time in the last four meets. - Sophomores Kayla Hartley and Kayla Sienkowski performed well. Hartley continued her strong scores on floor exercise with a team-high 9.8, while Sienkowski finished tied for first overall on balance beam with a career-best 9.825. The event title for Sienkowski was the first of her career. Softball - The softball team went 3-2 over the weekend at the FAU Kickoff Classic. UK shutout Wright State behind a terrific pitching performance from sophomore Lauren Cumbess who yielded just two hits and struck out six in the win. - Kentucky then rallied for a seventh-inning comeback for the second time this season in knocking off the host Owls. UK plated four runs in the final frame to pull away 6-3 in the game. - Junior Kara Dill led the bats for the Wildcats with a .438 weekend that included a pair of multi-hit outings and converting on all five steal attempts. Dill scored twice, drove in two runs and hit her first double of the season. Women's tennis - The women's tennis team hosted its last doubleheader of the season, defeating Eastern Kentucky, 5-2, and Evansville, 7-0 on Saturday. - Junior Jessica Stiles posted an impressive comeback at the No. 1 singles spot against Eastern's Amandine Faouzi after trailing in the first two sets. She ultimately won, 4-6, 7-5, 6-1. - Kentucky kicked off the spring with an eighth place finish at the UCF Challenge in Sorrento, Fla. - Junior Ashleigh Albrecht led the Cats, finishing tied for 20th with a 5-over-par 221. - Sophomore Liz Breed finished the weekend with a team-high 11 birdies.
Monday, Feb. 20 Baseball vs. USC Upstate - 2:00 p.m. (Spartanburg, S.C.) Women's basketball hosts Vanderbilt - 9:00 p.m. Men's golf at Mobile Bay Intercollegiate (Mobile, Ala.)
Tuesday, Feb. 21 Women's tennis at Akron - 1:00 p.m. Men's basketball at Mississippi State - 9:00 p.m. Men's golf at Mobile Bay Intercollegiate (Mobile, Ala.) Thursday, Feb. 23 Women's basketball hosts South Carolina - 7:00 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 24 Softball vs. North Florida - 11:30 a.m. (Statesboro, Ga.) Softball vs. Jacksonville St. - 1:30 p.m. (Statesboro, Ga.) Track and field hosts SEC Championships Baseball hosts Buffalo - 4:00 p.m. Gymnastics hosts Auburn/Pittsburgh - 7:00 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25 Softball vs. Radford - 11:30 a.m. (Statesboro, Ga.) Men's basketball hosts Vanderbilt - Noon Baseball hosts Buffalo - 1:00 p.m. Softball at Georgia Southern - 3:30 p.m. Men's tennis at Ohio State - 4:00 p.m. Track and field hosts SEC Championships Rifle at GARC Championships (Oxford, Miss.)
Sunday, Feb. 26 Women's tennis at Indiana - 11:00 a.m. Baseball hosts Buffalo - 1:00 p.m. Women's basketball at Mississippi State - 1:30 p.m. Track and field hosts SEC Championships Rifle at GARC Championships (Oxford, Miss.)
MEN'S BASKETBALL - With a pair of wins over SEC foes this week, Kentucky owns a 17-game winning streak. UK knocked off No. 8 Florida at home before defeating Vanderbilt in Nashville. Kentucky's win over the Commodores marked the first victory for a No. 1 ranked team in the last four tries against the home-standing team in Memorial Gym. - Kentucky has won its first 11 in league play, the best SEC start for the Wildcats since the 2002-03 team went 16-0. - Doron Lamb scored a game-high 16 points against Vanderbilt. He has hit multiple 3-pointers in seven of the last eight games. - Anthony Davis finished with seven blocks against the Commodores, giving him 127 on the season and moving him to seventh on the SEC single-season blocks list and 12th on UK's career blocks list. - In the win over Florida, Marquis Teague notched his first career double-double effort with 12 points and 10 rebounds. It marked the first double-double by way of points and assists since John Wall achieved the feat during the 2009-10 season.
GYMNASTICS - The gymnastics team posted its best home score of the season on Friday, falling 196-194.7 to defending National Champion Alabama in Memorial Coliseum. - UK earned a season-high score on floor exercise with a 48.85 and was led on the event by sophomore Kayla Hartley's 9.9 score. Hartley's high mark brought home the floor title on the event as she became only the 18th gymnast in school history to earn a 9.9 or higher on the event. The score of 9.9 is the highest for any UK gymnast this season on any event. - Senior Storey Morris had a great meet, finishing tied for second on beam and tied for third on uneven bars, while sophomore Kenzie Hedge finished second on vault.
MEN'S TENNIS - Behind another match-clinching point from Alejandro Gomez, the men's tennis team continued its blitzing pace to start the season with a 4-3 win over No. 30 Notre Dame on Sunday. - Kentucky is now 9-0 on the year, extending its best start to a season in the 30-year tenure of head coach Dennis Emery. The win over UND was UK's sixth of the season over a ranked foe after already taking down No. 12 Pepperdine, No. 22 Tulsa, No. 29 Indiana, No. 53 Michigan State and No. 59 North Carolina State. - Four Wildcats earned singles wins Sunday, including No. 5 Eric Quigley, No. 36 Anthony Rossi, No. 95 Tom Jomby and No. 111 Alejandro Gomez. Rossi is currently riding a 13-match winning streak, while Quigley has won nine consecutive matches.
SOFTBALL - Kentucky went 1-3 in its opening weekend of the season with its victory coming in dramatic fashion. The Wildcats used a seventh-inning rally highlighted by a two-run homer from Rachel Riley to capture the win over the Tigers. - Freshman Griffin Joiner hit the game-winning solo blast for UK. Two other Wildcats hit their first career homers in L.A. as well. Ginny Carroll and Krystal Smith belted back-to-back bombs in the final game with UCLA.
TRACK AND FIELD - Keilah Tyson won the 200-meter dash, breaking the UK 200m freshman record for the second time in as many weeks with a time of 23.69. Tyson's time is the second fastest in school history. - Luis Orta finished sixth in the 5,000m run with a time of 14:02.45, the fourth fastest time in UK history, and the fastest time in the SEC this year. - Walter Luttrell finished 10th in the 3,000m run with a time of 8:08.90, the 10th fastest in UK history and the third fastest in the SEC this year. - Darryl Bradshaw ran a career-best 8.00 in the 60m hurdles. Bradshaw's time is the sixth fastest in program history.
WOMEN'S TENNIS - Women's tennis hosted a doubleheader, defeating Winthrop 4-0 and Cincinnati 7-0. - The Cats moved into second place in the SEC Eastern Division with their two victories. - Sophomore Misha Testerman played her best match of the year, defeating Cincinnati's Carly Wilson, 6-0, 6-0.
WOMEN'S GOLF - Through one round at the UCF Challenge in Sorrento, Fla., the women's golf team sits in ninth place, 13 strokes off the lead. Kentucky finished the opening round with a nine-over-par 297. - Junior Ashleigh Albrecht paced Kentucky through the first round, shooting a one-under par 71. With two birdies and an eagle, Albrecht finished the day tied for fifth, five strokes off the lead. Albrecht carded an impressive eagle on the 354-yard, par-four ninth hole - the only eagle of the day.
Monday, Feb. 13 Women's basketball at Tennessee - 7:00 p.m. Women's golf at UCF Challenge
Tuesday, Feb. 14 Women's golf at UCF Challenge
Wednesday, Feb. 15 Swimming and diving at SEC Championships (Knoxville, Tenn.)
Thursday, Feb. 16 Women's basketball at Alabama - 7:30 p.m. Swimming and diving at SEC Championships (Knoxville, Tenn.)
Friday, Feb. 17 Softball vs. Wright State - 4:00 p.m. (Boca Raton, Fla.) Baseball vs. Wofford - 4:00 p.m. (Spartanburg, S.C.) Softball at Florida Atlantic - 6:00 p.m. Swimming and diving at SEC Championships (Knoxville, Tenn.) Men's tennis at National Team Indoors (Charlottesville, Va.)
Saturday, Feb. 18 Rifle hosts NCAA Qualifier - 8:00 a.m. Softball vs. LIU Brooklyn - 9:00 a.m. (Boca Raton, Fla.) Women's tennis hosts Eastern Kentucky - 10:00 a.m. Baseball vs. Eastern Michigan - Noon (Spartanburg, S.C.) Softball vs. Michigan - 1:00 p.m. (Boca Raton, Fla.) Gymnastics at Georgia - 4:00 p.m. Men's basketball hosts Ole Miss - 4:00 p.m. Women's tennis hosts Evansville - 6:00 p.m. Swimming and diving at SEC Championships (Knoxville, Tenn.) Men's tennis at National Team Indoors (Charlottesville, Va.) Sunday, Feb. 19 Softball vs. Maryland - 11:00 a.m. (Boca Raton, Fla.) Baseball vs. USC Upstate - 3:00 p.m. (Spartanburg, S.C.) Men's tennis at National Team Indoors (Charlottesville, Va.)
Henri Junghanel and No. 2 UK rifle travel to face No. 1 TCU on Saturday. (Chet White, UK Athletics)
For the majority of his adult life, Harry Mullins had spent the offseason as head coach of Kentucky's rifle team trying to figure how to get the team over the hump.
The Wildcats were clearly one of the elite programs in the nation, stacking successful season on top of successful season, but they had always fallen short of winning a national title. It was a particularly helpless feeling for Mullins because of his belief that he and his team had done everything in their power to accomplish their ultimate goal.
In 2011, Mullins was finally able to fill that empty spot on his top shelf with a national championship trophy. The celebration that came on the heels of the title was long and gratifying, but when he finally sat down to prepare for his 27th season as UK's head coach, the question he was faced with was oddly similar to the one he asked himself the 26 years prior.
"In years past when we didn't win, we've had great seasons so we didn't make a lot of changes but there was always that little bit where we fell short," Mullins said. "It kind of gave you that feeling of, 'What do we change?' After winning, you say, 'Do you change anything?' "
The answer, in short, was "no."
Through all the disappointing near misses, Mullins stayed true to his belief that the ultimate prize would come with patience and persistence. Once he was finally proven right, there was certainly no reason to change.
At the core of his philosophy is a singular focus on self-improvement.
"What we try to do is get better every day," Mullins said. "That's been our motto last year and even more so this year. Some days, your scores are going to increase. Other days, your score may stay the same or even decrease a little bit, but we expect you to be better as far as knowledge goes or physical condition. Something's got to be better today than it was yesterday."
That goal, in and of itself, is difficult enough for a team that returns most of the pieces from last year's team that won a national championship and set an NCAA record with a score of 4700 in the finals. Logan Fox and Sarah Broeker graduated, but top shooters like Henri Junghanel, Katie Fretts, Emily Holsopple, Stacy Wheatley, Ethan Settlemires and Heather Greathouse are back and have anchored the No. 2 Wildcats in an 8-0 start to the 2011-12 season.
"The type of team we have, they constantly strive to get better," Mullins said "It's tough to come off of winning it and having the same group. Sometimes, when you bring in a new group, you teach the same things in the same way. This year, we're re-teaching the same things in a different way and getting them to consistently stay focused on the task at-hand of executing their shot plans."
The only things his athletes have complete control over are their preparations and emotions. On any given day, an opponent could turn in a record score or conditions in the shooting range could make scoring well much more difficult, but Mullins constantly demands his athletes rise above those external factors.
The message must be sinking in, because Mullins actually found himself taking a lesson from his team during a recent road trip. The Wildcats were delayed in an airport for seven hours waiting for a flight when their destination was just a three-hour drive away. Taking a cue from their coach, the Cats took it in stride, while Mullins stewed in frustration.
"I was hot and livid the whole day and they were just laid back and relaxed," Mullins said. "I commended them for that. So far, they've been able to control the environment they've worked in as far as their emotions go. Sometimes it's a struggle because they're so good that they're striving for perfection. When they do make that mistake and you know perfection isn't going to come that day, you really have to stay within yourself."
As Mullins often points out, there is no defense in rifle, so the factor furthest removed from UK's control is the way the opponent shoots. In any given match, UK could put together its best performance of the season and have it fall short because an opponent executes just a bit better.
Traveling to face No. 1 TCU on Saturday, that's certainly in the realm of possibility. Along with UK, TCU is one of three unbeaten teams left in the NCAA. The Horned Frogs won the national championship in 2009-10 and have defeated UK two years in a row in regular season play.
Earning a win over the top-ranked team in the country and reclaiming the No. 1 ranking themselves is certainly UK's goal, but Mullins also views the match as an opportunity to prepare for Great American Rifle Conference play as well as the NCAA Championships in early March.
"We're all about winning and losing, that's why we compete," Mullins said. "But it's also about learning. That's going to be our main focus when we go to TCU is to learn about what we can do under duress. If we happen not to find that top gear, how do we find it?"
Mullins said as many as eight teams have a realistic shot at winning the national title this season, with UK obviously in the mix. Just like a year ago, Mullins is trying to help his team peak toward the end of the season and shoot best when it matters most. With the makeup of this year's Wildcats, he doesn't anticipate having any trouble.
"In years past, we've always had those couple super athletes, but they always tried so hard to make up what other shooters lost and put so much pressure on themselves," Mullins said. "This group here, when it comes pressure time, they do a good job performing at their elite level."