No. 24 UK Uses Stellar Floor Scores to Defeat No. 17 Illinois, NIU
LEXINGTON, Ky. - The University of Kentucky gymnastics team posted four career-high scores on floor, including senior Andrea Mitchell's 9.950 - the third best score in school history on the event - to increase its lead and seal the victory over No. 17 Illinois and Northern Illinois at Excite Night on Saturday at Memorial Coliseum.
Kentucky (2-0) posted an overall score of 194.350 in the season-opening win, while Illinois (1-1) finished second at 193.650 and Northern Illinois (0-2) third with a mark of 189.075. UK scored meet-high marks on vault (48.525), uneven bars (48.7) and floor (49.1) to take home the victory.
"That was a great start to the season," UK assistant coach Chuck Dickerson said. "I told the kids, every time that I think about this team I think about the words heart and character. I think tonight was a pure showing of the heart that we have. We made a few mistakes, but that is what this team is about, stepping up one girl after another to get the job done. I couldn't have asked for a better start. We beat two good teams tonight."
The Wildcats' most impressive showing came at the end of the night when UK posted the best four individual scores on floor to solidify the UK victory. Mitchell paced the Wildcats on floor, claiming her first career medalist honor on floor. Fellow senior Jasmine Minion was also strong on floor, posting a career-high mark of 9.925, which is tied for the fourth best mark on floor in school history. Senior Phylicia Reshard and junior Whitney Rose also posted career-high scores on the event with Reshard scoring a 9.875 and Rose notching a 9.850. Freshmen Audrey Harrison and Kayla Sienkowski, which competed first and second for UK on floor each posted 9.5.
UK's largest margin of victory came on the bars, where Kentucky was 0.7 points higher than Illinois and NIU. Sophomore Caitlyn Ciokajlo was the front runner for the Wildcats on bars, scoring a 9.825 to take home the event title. Junior Storey Morris and Mitchell finished third and fourth, respectively, on the bars with Morris posting a 9.8 and Mitchell a 9.775.
Kentucky was equally impressive on vault with Rose and Minion taking home first- and second-place honors, respectively. Rose, who qualified for nationals last season on vault, scored a 9.800 to claim her ninth career medalist honor on the event. Minion, who was injured this offseason but has come back strong in the gym recently, posted a 9.775 and finished tied for second.
The only event that the Wildcats did not claim Saturday was beam, where Kentucky finished just under the meet-high mark set by Illinois. UK put its mark on beam, however, with Morris finishing fourth with a score of 9.725 and Ciokajlo and Mitchell finishing tied for fifth.
Mitchell and Rose, who participated as all-around performers in the meet finished third and fourth in the all-around competition respectively.
Final Score: 1. No. 24 Kentucky 194.350; 2. No. 17 Illinois 193.650; 3. Northern Illinois 189.075
Vault: 1. Whitney Rose (UK) 9.800; T2. Jasmine Minion (UK) 9.775, Allison Buckley (ILL) 9.775;
Bars: T1. Caitlyn Ciokajlo (UK) 9.825, Jaclyn Kantecki (ILL) 9.825; 3. Storey Morris (UK) 9.800;
Beam: 1. Kelsey Joannides (ILL) 9.850; 2. Melissa Fernandez (ILL) 9.825; 3. Allison Buckley (ILL) 9.750;
Floor: Andrea Mitchell (UK) 9.950; 2. Jasmine Minion (UK) 9.925; 3. Phylicia Reshard (UK) 9.875.
All-Around: T1. Allison Buckley (ILL) 39.050, Kelsey Joannides (ILL) 39.050; 3. Andrea Mitchell (UK) 38.975.
Vault: Whitney Rose 9.800; Jasmine Minion 9.775; Phylicia Reshard 9.750; Andrea Mitchell 9.600; Colleen Williams 9.600.
Bars: Caitlyn Ciokajlo 9.825; Storey Morris 9.800; Andrea Mitchell 9.775; Whitney Rose 9.700; Colleen Williams 9.600; Phylicia Reshard 8.725.
Beam: Storey Morris 9.725; Caitlyn Ciokajlo 9.650; Andrea Mitchell 9.650; Whitney Rose 9.525; Jasmine Minion 9.475; Paige Krall 9.000;
Floor: Andrea Mitchell: 9.950; Jasmine Minion 9.925; Phylicia Reshard 9.875; Whitney Rose 9.850; Audrey Harrison 9.500; Kayla Sienkowski 9.500.
All-Around: Andrea Mitchell 38.975; Whitney Rose 38.875