No. 22 UK Gymnastics Resumes SEC Play at No. 9 Arkansas


LEXINGTON, Ky. – For the third straight meet, the No. 22 Kentucky Wildcats are hitting the road, this time bound for Fayetteville, Ark., where the team is set to face the Arkansas Razorbacks on Friday, Feb. 26, at 8 p.m. ET.

The meet is set for national broadcast via the SEC Network+, available on watchespn.com or via the Watch ESPN app on mobile devices and tablets. 

The meet also marks the Cats return to Southeastern conference play after a brief out-of-conference stint. In its most recent competition, Kentucky tied its highest road score of the season en route to defeating West Virginia on Sunday, Feb. 21, 195.8-195.6, in WVU Coliseum.

The Wildcats were paced once again by the freshmen duo of Katie Stuart and Sidney Dukes along with a host of team members. 

Stuart had a career day, highlighted by a 9.9 on vault. The mark was the highest of the meet and a new personal best. She added a second career high on beam with a 9.85. Both of Stuart’s marks were good for event titles. Dukes, who competed as an all-arounder once again earned her third all-around title of the year with a score of 39.35.

Prior to the meet with West Virginia, UK placed first of four teams in the Ball State Think Pink meet. The Wildcats also posted a score of 195.8 in that outing. 

DUKES RANKS AMONG TOP 20 IN NATION ALL-AROUND

Kentucky freshmen Sidney Dukes has put together a strong showing throughout the season, with her regional qualifying score ranking No. 18 in the country, as the Tyler, Texas native enters the Arkansas meet with a Regional Qualifying Score (RQS) of 39.22.

DUKES IN ALL-AROUND
National AA Ranking: 18
SEC AA Ranking:         7
AA Ranking among Freshmen: 3


WILDCATS AMONG TOP 20 ON BEAM 

UK has come to define itself this season as a beam team, showing steady improvement and solid results throughout the season. The Wildcats now rank No. 15 in the country on the balance beam with an RQS of 48.965, good for fifth in the SEC. The beam lineup in anchored by freshman Alex Hyland, who individually ranks tied for 22nd, averaging a 9.85 on the apparatus. 

UK RANKED IN THE TOP 25 FOLLOWING SEVENTH WEEK

Kentucky hung at No. 22 in the national rankings, averaging a 195.48 in its initial RQS of 2016. Kentucky matched its high score on the road with a 195.8 against West Virginia last week. 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.

SCOUTING THE RAZORBACKS

Arkansas heads into Friday’s meet as the No. 9 team in the country, currently with an RQS of 196.315. The Razorbacks specialize in balance beam (No. 8 nationally) and vault (No. 9 nationally). Amanda Wellick has performed in every rotation for Arkansas so far, placing No. 12 in the country in the all-around with a 39.3 average. 

LOOKING AHEAD: FLORIDA

Following UK’s meet with Arkansas, the team returns to Memorial Coliseum for its final SEC meet of the year, facing the No. 2 Florida Gators. The meet will be live on ESPNU with a 7 p.m. EST start.  The meet will serve as Youth Night. 

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.