No. 22 UK Opens 2015 Season with Win at No. 24 Washington
The Wildcats (1-0) improved to 2-0 all-time against the Huskies (0-1) in their first-ever visit to Seattle. The 194.975 final team score moves UK up to 13th in the national rankings after the first week of the season.
“I’m impressed with a lot of what we did tonight,” UK head coach Tim Garrison said. “We wanted to get everyone in a competitive environment to see how they respond, and we got our answer tonight. Overall I was very pleased with how they responded to that. We had mistakes, but I was impressed and proud with how our freshman grew up before our eyes tonight."
UK used a strong team performance on all events and responded to adversity to record the season-opening win. Senior Kayla Hartley led Kentucky with team-high scores on two events.
The Wildcats counted a fall on their first event, uneven bars, and trailed 48.700-48.500 after the first rotation, but they quickly responded on vault, the second event.
UK’s 48.900 on vault chipped away at Washington’s already-slim lead. Kentucky trailed by 0.050 points at the halfway point, but a 48.825 on floor gave the Wildcats a lead that wouldn’t go away.
On balance beam, the final event, UK sealed the victory with a 48.750. Kentucky had one fall on beam, but like the two falls and an early deficit to open the competition on bars, the Wildcats responded with two strong routines by sophomore Taylor Puryear and Hartley to close the meet.
Hartley led UK on bars and floor, both with a 9.825. Junior Khadijah Hudson and freshman Sydney Waltz posted team-best scores of 9.825 on vault, while freshman Cori Rechenmacher earned a 9.825 on balance beam to lead the Wildcats.
The Wildcats return home to host Excite Night at the Kentucky Classic on Friday, Jan. 16 at 7 p.m. ET. Kentucky, who moved up to No. 13 in the rankings after the win at Washington, welcomes No. 2 LSU and No. 24 Arizona State to Memorial Coliseum for the annual event.
The Wildcats opened the season on bars with a 48.500. Along with Hartley’s team-best 9.825, junior Amy Roemmele posted a 9.800 to lead off for UK. Redshirt junior Alexis Gross recorded a 9.775, along with freshman Katie Carlisle. Freshmen Cori Rechenmacher and Waltz also made their career debuts and scored a 9.325 and 9.225, respectively.
After counting a fall on uneven bars, UK trailed by 0.200 points after the first rotation. Washington opened with a 48.700 on vault.
Kentucky cut into Washington’s lead, thanks to a 48.900 on vault. Hudson, making her UK debut, and Waltz, in her collegiate debut, led the Wildcats with a 9.825. Gross posted a career-high-tying 9.775 and senior Shelby Hilton scored a 9.750. Hartley led off UK’s second rotation with a 9.725.
Washington earned a 48.750 on bars in its second rotation. After two events, the Wildcats trailed by just 0.050, at 97.450-97.400.
The third rotation saw UK on floor and UW on beam, both teams’ strongest events in 2014. The Wildcats recorded a 48.825 while the Huskies scored a 48.525 to give Kentucky its first lead of the night at 146.225-145.975.
Hartley again led Kentucky on floor with a 9.825, while Carlisle and junior Tiara Phipps each recorded a 9.775. Hilton and Puryear both scored a 9.725 to add to UK’s total.
UK closed the meet on beam with a 48.750, while Washington scored a 48.350 on floor. In addition to Rechenmacher’s 9.825, Roemmele and sophomore Montana Whittle both recorded a 9.750. Gross added a 9.725 coming after a fall before senior Shannon Mitchell closed with a 9.700.
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