UK Beats Mizzou with Season-High Score, Three Win Event Titles
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COLUMBIA, Mo. – The No. 23 Kentucky gymnastics team used season-high floor and balance beam scores to erase an early deficit and score a season-best 195.825 to beat Missouri Friday. Three Wildcats won event titles in the 195.825-195.150 road victory.
The Wildcats (3-3, 1-3 Southeastern Conference) improved to 3-0 in dual meets vs. the Tigers (4-3, 0-3 SEC) since MU joined the SEC for the 2013 season. UK notched a road win at Mizzou for the second consecutive year, again using the strengths of a third-rotation floor routine.
“It feels good to get a season-high score and that first win in the SEC,” UK head coach Tim Garrison said. “Another strong performance for our team moving forward, and I saw a lot of good things today. On floor we really performed well, and the highlight for me was our performance on beam. I’m very proud of the effort today, but we need to keep on getting better.”
Kentucky trailed 97.850-97.675 after two events, but outscored Mizzou 98.150-97.300 in the final two rotations to secure the road victory.
Junior Montana Whittle and senior Shannon Mitchell each recorded a 9.875 to win beam, while sophomore Taylor Puryear tied for a win on floor with a 9.850. Whittle earned her first career event title, and Puryear her first of the season and second of her career. Mitchell’s win was the second of the season and seventh of her career.
UK opened with a meet-high 48.975 on bars before a 48.700 on vault. The comeback began with a 49.150 on floor, followed by a 49.000 on beam, both season highs and meet-best scores. Along with Mitchell, Puryear and Whittle, junior Marissa Beucler led the Wildcats with a 9.825 on bars and freshman Sydney Waltz posted a team-high 9.875.
The Wildcats are back on the road on Feb. 13 at 8 p.m. ET at the Perfect 10 Challenge in Oklahoma City. The Wildcats face No. 1 Oklahoma, the defending co-national champions in a neutral site matchup in OU’s backyard.
UK opened the meet with a 48.975 on uneven bars. Beucler anchored with a team-high 9.825, and Waltz and senior Kayla Hartley each added a 9.800, competing third and fourth, respectively. Freshmen Katie Carlisle and Cori Rechenmacher both scored a 9.775. After one event, the Wildcats trailed by 0.025 after Mizzou opened with a 49.000 on vault.
On the second rotation, UK scored a 48.700 on vault, while MU tallied a 48.850 on bars. Kentucky was led on vault by Waltz, who anchored with a career-high 9.875. Mitchell recorded a season-best 9.825, while freshman Brittany Furuyama scored a 9.750. Beucler added a 9.675 and Hartley a 9.575.
At the halfway point in the competition, Kentucky trailed, 97.850-97.675, but that’s when the Wildcats made their comeback. UK moved to floor and scored a season-high 49.150 while Mizzou went to beam and posted a 48.400.
UK took a 146.825-146.250 lead on floor thanks to a five scores of 9.825 or higher. Puryear led the way with a 9.850, while four Wildcats scored a season-high-tying 9.825. For the second week in a row, senior Shelby Hilton, junior Tiara Phipps and Mitchell each tallied a 9.825, along with Hartley.
With a 146.825-146.250 lead, UK stretched the advantage with a season-best 49.000 on beam. Mitchell and Whittle led UK with a 9.875, with Whittle’s score coming as a career high. Carlisle recorded a 9.850 in her career debut on the event after the freshman was inserted into the lineup at the beginning of the rotation. Waltz added a career-high 9.750 and junior Amy Roemmele led off with a 9.650.
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