No. 22 Kentucky Ready for SEC Championship
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NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – After scoring over a 196 for the third consecutive week, No. 22 Kentucky is primed and ready to continue turning heads in the Southeastern Conference Championship on Saturday at the Verizon Center in North Little Rock, Arkansas.
The Wildcats are set to take the floor at 2 p.m. ET, facing off directly against the Arkansas Razorbacks, Georgia Bulldogs and Missouri Tigers in the first session. The meet will air live on ESPNU, with Bart Conner (play-by-play), Kathy Johnson Clarke (analyst) and Laura Rutledge (reporter) on the call. Alabama, Auburn, Florida and LSU will compete in the second session beginning at 6 p.m. ET, broadcast live on the SEC Network. The meet’s awards ceremony will take place at roughly 8:30 p.m. ET.
In addition, SEC Network + is expanding coverage of the SEC Gymnastics Championship with live streams of each individual apparatus, and a quad-box view called “All-Around”. The “All-Around” channel allows a viewer to stream every apparatus live, at the same time, on one screen. All five streaming options, as well as the simulcast of the television coverage, are available through the ESPN app and WatchESPN on the SEC Network+ channels.
ESPNU and SEC Network’s television coverage will use the “All-Around” quad-box view at various times throughout the meet as well.
The eighth-seeded Wildcats will begin the competition on the floor, before rotating through vault, uneven bars and balance beam, in that order.
In the team’s last outing, Kentucky scored over a 196 for the third consecutive meet, earning a home victory over Big 12 foe Iowa State, 196.275-194.825. UK’s performance was highlighted by its floor performance, where the Cats used only its first five scores in order to post a 49.3 in the exercise, its second highest score on floor this season. Alex Hyland and Katie Stuart both set new career highs, while upperclassmen Taylor Puryear and Amy Roemmele tied season marks. Other notable performances from the Wildcats included a pair of 9.875 scores on uneven bars by Marissa Beucler and Sidney Dukes to guide UK to a 49.15 on the apparatus, the seventh best score on bars in program history.
DUKES RANKS AMONG TOP 30 IN NATION ALL-AROUND
Kentucky freshmen Sidney Dukes has put together a strong showing in all-around throughout the season, with her regional qualifying score ranking tied for No. 29 in the country, as the Tyler, Texas native enters the SEC Championship meet with an RQS of 39.26.
DUKES IN ALL-AROUND
National AA Ranking: 29
SEC AA Ranking: 10
AA Ranking in Region 4
AA Ranking among Freshmen: 3
WILDCATS AMONG TOP 20 ON BEAM
UK has come to define itself this season as a strong beam team, showing steady improvement and solid results throughout the season. The Wildcats now rank No. 20 in the country on the balance beam with an RQS of 49.105, good for seventh in the SEC. The beam lineup in anchored by freshman Alex Hyland, who individually ranks tied for 35th with a 9.870 RQS.
UK RANKED IN THE TOP 25 FOLLOWING FINAL WEEK OF REGULAR SEASON
Kentucky sits at No. 22 in the national rankings with a 196.115 in its most recent RQS. Kentucky posted a 196.275 last time out in the third consecutive meet with a score of 196 or greater. The Wildcats join the rest of the SEC in the top 25, as the only conference to have its entire conference represented in the top 25.
View the grid below for the statistical breakdown between the SEC’s teams headed into the SEC Championship:
WILDCATS AMONG TOP 10 IN NATIONAL ATTENDANCE
Following the final home meet of the season, Kentucky averages the eighth largest crowd in the country at home meets, averaging 5,335 in attendance each meet. The average puts UK well above its highest ever attendance average (2014; 3,265). Additionally, the Wildcats are the only team that is top seven in attendance without being in the national top-10 rankings. UK’s attendance ranks sixth in the SEC.
LOOKING AHEAD: NCAA REGIONALS
The Wildcats follow the SEC Championships with a trip to the NCAA Regionals. It would mark UK’s 12th consecutive NCAA Regionals appearance. The NCAA gymnastics selection show will air this Monday, March 21st at 4pm ET on NCAA.com, with regional sites at Florida, Alabama, Utah, Michigan, Iowa and Minnesota.
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.