Dukes, Puryear, Recehenmacher Take Individual Titles in Loss at Auburn
AUBURN, Ala. – Despite impressive performances from freshman Sidney Dukes, junior Taylor Puryear and sophomore Cori Rechenmacher, the UK gymnastics team fell short on Friday evening, as the Auburn Tigers handed Kentucky its first loss of 2016, 196.275-195.175.
The Wildcats (1-1, 0-1 SEC) improved on its first meet’s score by 0.350 points. In addition to the improvement, Dukes took her second all-around title, tying her first all-around score of 39.125.
Puryear also made a strong showing, earning her fifth career floor title, edging the competition with a 9.825. Dukes tied Puryear’s performance en route her first ever floor crown. Rechenmacher tied for the beam title with three members of the Auburn Tigers squad with a 9.850. The beam championship marks Recehnmacher’s first title in any event.
“Obviously, it never feels good to lose,” fifth-year head coach Tim Garrison opened on Friday’s defeat. “We’re 1-1 on the season and 0-1 in the SEC and that’s not a good feeling. With that said, this is a young team that is improving and continuing to grow. Looking at some of the highlights of tonight, Katie [Stuart] had a breakout night with a 9.8-plus on two events and a 9.775 on the other. It was nice to see her do well after being an all-arounder last week; I pulled her back to three events and I think it challenged her a bit. I think she intendeds to show that she not only belongs in those three events, but that she should be an all-arounder and that’s exciting to see.
“Sidney had another strong day, getting her second-straight all-around title and moving to 2-0 on the season on individual stats, which is great. It was nice to have Cori back in the beam lineup, She showed up big for us and preformed a great routine.
“Beyond that, we’re making some mistakes that need to be corrected. I do think that part of that is the growth of a young team, but part of it is that we, the coaching staff, can do a better job in the gym coaching and comparing and doing a better job of setting them up to be successful. That’s one thing we’ll be focusing our energies on – expediting that growth process – because this is a talented group. We have some seniors that are starting us off and in a lot cases are doing well, in some cases they could do a better job.”
UK scored its second highest event total of the evening on the vault, with the Wildcats combining for a 48.825. Dukes led the way for Kentucky with a team-best 9.825, earning the score on a yurchenko layout half. Classmate Katie Stuart followed, scoring a 9.800. Freshmen Aubree Rosa and Alex Hyland each scored a 9.750, while senior Marissa Beucler rounded out the scoring runs with a 9.700. Freshman Danaea Davis also competed, earning a 9.500.
On bars, Stuart’s 9.825 tkachev and stuck landing highlighted Kentucky’s collective 48.625 performance. Rechenmacher and Dukes both played a large role in the team’s success, each scoring a 9.775 for the Wildcats. Freshman Katrina Coca contributed a 9.750, and Beucler’s 9.500 played a factor as well. Hyland’s score was discarded, as her first career fall on the bars earned her an 8.700.
Kentucky saw its largest turnaround come on beam, with a 0.725 swing from the prior week’s score. Recehenmacher led all competitors with a 9.850 on the bar after executing a front aerial and dismounting with a gainer pike. Hyland finished right behind Recehnmacher with a 9.825. Senior Montana Whittle added the team’s third best score with a 9.775. Rosa scored a 9.750, while Dukes put up a 9.700. Senior Amy Roemmele posted a 9.525.
Rechenmacher on her title-winning beam routine: “Tonight was so exciting. It was probably my favorite meet of my career so far. Everyone was upbeat and excited. Even though the crowd wasn’t, I could feel my team behind me every step of the way. I didn’t feel nervous at all today – I walked in the arena and knew I was going to hit and I made sure to carry it throughout the day.”
UK’s floor score tied for second best with vault, as the team earned a 48.825 collectively. Puryear and Dukes guided the team with 9.825 scores each. Stuart scored a 9.775, while Roemmele added a 9.725. Rosa and senior Tiara Phipps both earned 9.675 scores for their performances.
Puryear on her title-winning floor routine: “It’s funny – Montana always tells me before I go out for my routine ‘You have to be sassy.’ And honestly, that’s what helps. It keeps me pumped. It’s what gives me the excitement I need to get started.”