Blue/White Scrimmage Serves as Preseason Primer

LEXINGTON, Ky. – In a final preparation for the 2016 season, Kentucky gymnastics hosted its annual intrasquad scrimmage on Sunday afternoon at Memorial Coliseum, giving a sneak-preview of what is to come for fans in attendance. 

The meet served as a dress rehearsal of sorts, with 15 Wildcats competing in the meet, four seeing reps in all four rotations. 

“We’re excited to be out here competing today,” fifth-year head coach Tim Garrison said in a postmatch address to the crowd “It’s one thing to practice in the gym and another to come out here and see fans in the stands. We did some things well and have some things to improve on. We’re excited to have everyone back on Jan. 8 for Excite Night at the Kentucky Classic against Ball State.”

There was an excitement and energy in the building as the team revealed new and improved routines on vault, bars and floor. The team also made a point to incorporate Wildcat spirit and tradition, playing the fight song in preparation for the final floor routines.

Following the meet, the Wildcats shared their thoughts on the tune-up meet: 

Senior Marissa Beucler


On her feelings about the intrasquad …
“I think it was more exciting. We’re ready to get back into Memorial again. We kind of got all the nervous twitches out and we’re all just really excited to get back out here. Getting the freshman in Memorial was a really good experience too because they could get a feel for the equipment as well. Just getting everybody back in the ‘meet environment’ was a really good feeling.”

On the ultimate team goals for the season …
“[We want to] get really confident throughout the season so we can do really well at Regionals and make it to Nationals.”

On her individual goals for her final season …
“I don’t really have any individual goals. My ultimate goal is just getting this team to Nationals. I have always had that goal and I want to make it happen for this team.”


Senior Montana Whittle


On her feelings about the intrasquad …
“Actually, I didn’t get very nervous this time. I had a lot of experience last year and it was just really fun to get out there with everyone. I felt like we had to help the freshman get use to everything since we have so many that are actually competing and contributing. We had to kind of set aside our own nerves and help others get used to it. It felt really good to be out there again.”  

On the ultimate team goals for the season …
“Ultimate team goals are to just have a really strong season. Go out there and be confident and hit every routine that we can. Stay up when things don’t go right and learn from those mistakes. (And) when we finally get to Regionals have confidence going in and that ability to hit so that we can make it to Nationals. We’ve wanted to make it to Nationals for three years and I think we definitely have the team to do it. “

On her individual goals for her final season …
“To start strong for the team on beam and hopefully be there when I’m needed on bars. Just hit my routines. Personally, I’d love to get a 9.9 on beam this year. Also, getting the team to Nationals is the end goal for sure.”

Senior Tiara Phipps


On her general thoughts on this year’s Blue/White intrasquad …
“As a senior, you walk out and it sort of just feels like home. You kind of just revert back … I actually accidentally started doing my old floor routine in the warm up. It’s awesome. I think the team did really well today and I was really impressed with our freshmen and how they reacted under a bit of pressure. Overall it went well. There were a couple mistakes, but that’s bound to happen when it’s your first time in this situation. 

On the senior classes’ role in team leadership …
“The four of us all bring something different to the table. We all have a different dynamic. Montana is always and excited and upbeat. I’m more serious. Amy’s pretty goofy but also quiet - and then you have Mo [Beucler] who’s childish at heart. We all can relate with different people on the team and support them in a different way, which I think adds to the way we work as a group.”


Junior Taylor Puryear


On her initial thoughts on the Blue/White intrasquad…
“For the team, it was really good to get this experience. For our freshmen especially, who haven’t been in this arena, it’s good for them to get out those initial jitters. We had a few mistakes of course, but we’re going to get back in the gym this week and correct those before Excite Night.”

On her individual performance…
“It was good – I was really excited. This is the first meet I’ve done vault since my freshmen year. I was a bit nervous, but we pulled it out.”

On her goals coming off an All-SEC season…
“In past years, I’ve always competed on floor. I’d really like to earn a full-time spot in both beam and vault this season, which is my personal goal this season.”


Freshman Alex Hyland


On performing and competing at the collegiate level…
“I’m excited about being with the team because my club team was very small. So it’s great having a bunch of teammates. They are all supportive and it’s a great environment.  

On her goals for the season…
“Really, I want to improve as a team. I know I want to contribute as much as I can to make the team the best it can be.”

On her feelings about the season after the meet…
“It was a great feeling because I haven’t competed since club season. At the start of every year it feels different because you’re not used to it but, I felt back into my own place. I love competing. I love the environment and I love to show everyone what this team has.”


Freshman Sidney Dukes


On performing and competing at the collegiate level… 
“It’s another experience and something that I’m so glad to be a part of. This is so wonderful to have this team behind me and that is what really motivates me to do my best out there.”

On her goals for the season…
“I would just like to hit every meet that I possible can just for me and the team. I think it will help bring us to a new level and be more recognized.”

On her feelings about the season after the meet…
“I feel very positive about this season. This is a great way for me to dip my toes in the water for the rest of the season, so I’m very excited to see what is coming.”

The Wildcats kick off the 2016 season with the season opener Excite Night set for Fri., Jan. 8 against Ball State at 7 p.m. All home meets will be held in Memorial Coliseum. 

For complete news and updates on the Kentucky Gymnastics program, go to UKathletics.com. Breaking news, behind-the-scenes updates and more can be found on Twitter at @UKGymnastics and Facebook at Facebook.com/UKGymnastics.