Wildcats Sweep in Season Opener

Jan. 10, 2009

Photo Gallery  Meet Results

LEXINGTON, Ky. - The No. 25 Kentucky (1-0, 0-0 SEC) gymnastics team pulled out a win during their 25th Annual Excite Night in Memorial Coliseum Saturday evening vs. Utah State (0-1, 0-0 WAC), 191.100-187.150. The Blue and White captured all four event titles, as well as the all-around. Senior Natalie Rubinstein (Hollywood, Fla.) and junior Hillary Ferguson (Richmond, Ky.) helped guide the Wildcats to the top, despite a few stumbles amongst the team.

The Cats came out strong in their opening event, sweeping the board. UK secured a team vault score of 49.100, led by juniors Emily Green (Penfield, N.Y.) and Ferguson who tied for the event's title with 9.875. Four other Wildcats filed behind the upperclassmen, including two newcomers, sophomore Jasmine Minion (Memphis, Tenn.) and freshman Whitney Rose (Frisco, Texas). In her collegiate debut, Rose stuck a 9.800.

The Frisco, Texas, native was not the only freshman on the floor during the evening. Storey Morris (Tyler, Texas) also made appearances on the uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise.

Although not a freshman, Rubinstein made her own debut in a big way. The senior from Hollywood, Fla., had an outstanding uneven bars routine after not competing since sustaining an injury in 2006. She not only participated in her first meet in two years, she won the event's title with a 9.850, the first top-honor of her career.

Kentucky was led by Ferguson and senior Heather Hite (Parkersburg, W. Va.) on the beam despite a few rough patches. Ferguson earned her second event title with a career high-tying 9.800, which she last achieved at Arkansas on Jan. 15, 2008. Hite followed with a 9.725.

The Kentucky native and Hite again led Kentucky on the floor exercise registering scores of 9.900 and 9.825, respectively. Ferguson took her third, but not final event title of the night.

The Blue and White's two all-around performers, Ferguson and sophomore Andrea Mitchell (Knoxville, Tenn.), topped all individual competitors. Ferguson dominated with a total of 39.275 for her fourth title, the most she has ever collected during one meet. Mitchell followed for second place.

All six Southeastern conference opponents are ranked in the top-25 with Kentucky. The highly competitive nature and strength of the SEC proves to be a true test every year for its members who all consistently appear in the top ranks. UK continues to add difficulty to its schedule outside of the conference with teams such as No. 15 Illinois, No. 22 West Virginia, and No. 29 Iowa.

Tickets for home meets can be purchased by calling the ticket office at 1-800-928-2287. Tickets are also sold at the Joe Craft Center Ticket Office on the night of the event. Group tickets (20+ people) are available by calling the ticket office in advance of the event.

Kentucky breaks into league competition with No. 6 Alabama on Fri., Jan. 16, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The meet is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. ET.