No. 23 Wildcats Set to Host No. 2 Florida Friday
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Coming off of its best performance of the season, the No. 23 Kentucky Wildcats are prepared to face debatably its most staunch competition of the season, welcoming the No. 2 Florida Gators to Memorial Coliseum on Friday evening at 7 p.m.
The meet is set to air live on the SEC Network+, accessible via the Watch ESPN app on mobile devices or at the link provided above. The meet will also boradcast on tape-delay on ESPNU. Jenn Hildreth will provide play-by-play coverage for UK for the first time this season, while Alicia Sacramone-Quinn will serve as the meet’s color analyst for the third time this year.
In their last meet, Kentucky had its best showing of 2016 and posted the second-highest score in program history on Friday, Feb. 26 in a 197.225-196.7 loss to the No. 9 Arkansas Razorbacks in Fayetteville, Ark. Kentucky had by far its be showing of the season against the Razorbacks, with members of the team posting three new career best marks, tying seven career marks and setting four new season highs.
Kentucky’s performance was highlighted by a stellar beam routine. After a fall in the second spot, Kentucky rebounded with a 9.825 from Katie Stuart, before Cori Rechenmacher (9.9, new career high), Sidney Dukes (9.9, tied career high) and Alex Hyland (9.925, new career high) guided the team to score a 49.375, good for second best on the apparatus all-time.
As always, the Kentucky Gymnastics will have plenty promotions for Friday night’s match against Florida.
• Youth Night at Memorial Coliseum: Kentucky will host its annual Youth Night on Friday evening, with multiple promotional opportunities available. Walk-up tickets for youth attending will be $1. Additionally, a special performance by Barbara Ann’s School of Dance will take place prior to team introductions. The first 250 children to come to the meet will receive a UK Gymnastics coloring book.
• Special Buy One, Get One Offer: Post-meet flyers will be distributed at every exit offering buy one, get one free tickets to the following week’s meet against Iowa State. Fans must bring the flyer to the ticket window to redeem the offer. This flyer will also allow fans to be entered to win the American Girl Doll at the Iowa State Meet Friday, March 11th.
• American Girl Doll Giveaway: Winners of Kentucky’s “Golden Ticket” social media promotion will be entered for a chance to win a custom Kentucky Gymnastics American Girl Doll. For a chance to be selected for a golden ticket throughout the semester, fans must share the promotional Facebook posts leading up to the meet. Golden ticket recipients must be present for a chance to win. Fans will also have a chance to be entered to win a golden ticket when they show up early to the meet. They can be entered to win the American Girl Doll until 6:30 p.m. at the gazebo on the west concourse.
• Student Promotions: UK students will receive free admission and be directed to Section X on a first come, first serve basis. Students in this section will receive wristbands and free pizza during the second or third three-minute touch warmup period.
• Pre-Meet Promotions: Fans are encouraged to come early and participate in free face painting and balloon animals on the concourse when doors to Memorial Coliseum open at 5:30 p.m. Both face painting and balloon animals will be set up near the marketing gazebo on the west concourse.
Spectator parking is located in the following areas:
• All E-lots surrounding Memorial Coliseum are off control beginning 3 hours prior to the meet. This includes the North Joe Craft Center, Rose Street, Linden Walk, and College of Education E-lots.
• The South Limestone Garage (PS#5, adjacent to Kennedy's Bookstore) and the Rose Street Garage (PS#2) are available 2 hours prior to the meet.
• Disabled parking is available in the E-Lot (Employee Lot) north of the Joe Craft Center, adjacent to the metered spaces running along the front of the Craft Center with a valid, state issued disabled hang tag. These spaces are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis until full.
• Free shuttle service from the South Limestone Garage (PS#5) is available beginning 2 hours prior to the meet. The shuttle picks up/drops off on Administration Drive, at the end of the pedestrian sky bridge accessed from the 3rd floor of the parking garage. The pickup/drop off point is near Memorial Coliseum at the Euclid entrance. Shuttles will operate until 1 hour post-meet.
Please note: parking is prohibited in any R-lots (Residential). Vehicles parked in Residential lots without a proper permit, along yellow curbs, grass spaces, or other non-specified and unapproved areas may be subject to ticket and/or tow.
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. 19 in the country, as the Tyler, Texas native enters the Florida meet with an RQS of 39.26.
DUKES IN ALL-AROUND
National AA Ranking: 19
SEC AA Ranking: 8
AA Ranking among Freshmen: 3
AA Ranking in Region 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. 14 in the country on the balance beam with an RQS of 49.03, good for sixth in the SEC. The beam lineup in anchored by freshman Alex Hyland, who individually ranks tied for 21st averaging a 9.865 on the apparatus.
UK RANKED IN THE TOP 25 FOLLOWING EIGHTH WEEK
Kentucky sits at No. 23 in the national rankings with a 195.67 in its most recent RQS. Kentucky posted a new season high last week, scoring a 196.7, good for the second best score in program history. 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.
WILDCATS AMONG TOP 10 IN NATIONAL ATTENDANCE
Following the first three meets of the season, Kentucky averages the eighth largest crowd in the country at home meets, averaging 5,635 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 eight in attendance without being in the national top-10 rankings.
SCOUTING THE GATORS
Kentucky enters Friday up against its toughest opponent of the year in the No. 2 Florida Gators. Florida ranks no lower than fourth in anyone rotation, with its balance beam RQS tied for first in the country. Senior Bridget Sloan leads the way for Florida, coming into the season as a 21-time All-American.
LOOKING AHEAD: IOWA STATE
After Kentucky’s matchup with the Gators, Kentucky will close out the regular season by hosting Iowa State at 7 p.m. in Memorial Coliseum. The Wildcats will honor four seniors in Marissa Beucler, Tiara Phipps, Amy Roemmele and Montana Whittle along with graduate assistant Alexis Gross.
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.