Kentucky Grabs Best Home Score of the Year vs. No. 2 Alabama
Feb. 10, 2012
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Behind a season-high performance on floor exercise, including a career best 9.9 mark from sophomore Kayla Hartley, the No. 26 University of Kentucky gymnastics team posted its best team score in a home meet this season, falling to second ranked and defending NCAA National Champion Alabama 196.0-194.7 Friday night at Memorial Coliseum.
Kentucky (3-5. 0-4 SEC) set or tied a total of seven season highs and four career highs in the met en route to its highest home team score of the season. UK posted a 194.325 in its home opener and followed that performance with a 194.075 in its SEC home opener against Florida on Jan. 20. The Wildcats have now posted a score of 194.7 or higher in its last three meets, taking its season average to 194.196.
Alabama (7-0, 4-0) won the dual meet with a 196.0 team score. The defending SEC Champions entered the meet ranked second in the nation overall and in the top 10 on every event. Alabama won every event in the meet, eclipsing the 49.0 mark on vault, uneven bars and floor exercise. Alabama junior Ashley Sledge claimed the all-around title with a 39.175, while UK sophomore Audrey Harrison finished second with a 38.9 and freshman Alexis Gross third with a 38.625.
The Wildcats' best score of the night came on floor exercise, where they earned a season-best mark of 48.85. Hartley, a native of Versailles, Ky., led the way for UK by winning the floor title with a career-best 9.9, becoming only the 18th gymnasts in school history to earn a 9.9 or higher on floor. Hartley's solid score is the highest for any UK gymnasts this season on any event and the highest floor score of UK since Andrea Mitchell posted a 9.95 last season on March 4. Harrison finished second on the team with 9.8, while Gross earned a season high with a 9.775. Freshman Kenzie Hedges continued her consistency on floor with a 9.7, while sophomore Kayla Sienkowski posted a 9.675 and freshman Shelby Hilton a 9.625.
Kentucky started the night on vault, grabbing a team score of 48.775. Hedges led Kentucky and finished tied for second at the meet with a career-best 9.85, while sophomore Holly Cunningham earned a 9.8 to notch her second consecutive score of 9.8 or better. Senior Storey Morris, who has made every vault lineup this season after only vaulting once in her previous three seasons, posted a 9.775, followed by Harrison's 9.725. Hilton and Gross completed the scoring for UK with Hilton grabbing a career-best 9.625 and Gross a 9.55.
UK narrowly missed posting its best team score of the year on uneven bars with a 48.750, while its season high is a 48.825. Three Wildcats set or tied season highs on the event with Morris leading the way and finishing tied for third overall with a season-high tying 9.8. Gross and fellow freshman Sarah Shipley each posted 9.75s, which is a career best for Shipley, while senior Whitney Rose tied a season high with a 9.725. Harrison also earned a 9.725 to continue her consistency on the event, while sophomore Caitlyn Ciokajlo ended the event with a 9.675.
Kentucky gathered a team score of 48.325 on balance beam, led by Morris' solid performance of 9.8, which was tied for second overall. Freshman Shannon Mitchell, who scored a career-high 9.825 last week at LSU, went 9.725 Friday, while Harrison posted a 9.65 and Cunningham a 9.6. Gross and Sienkowski rounded out the scoring for UK on beam, going 9.55 and 8.6 respectively.
The Wildcats used 19 routines from freshman or sophomores in the meet, continuing its streak of using at least 18 routines from underclassmen in every meet this season.
UK will be in action again next Saturday as it stays in SEC play by traveling to Athens, Ga., to take on the No. 6 Georgia Bulldogs. The meet will take place in Stegeman Coliseum at 4 p.m. ET on Saturday. Live scores will be available online at UKathletics.com. The meet will be broadcast on a delayed basis by Fox Sports South on Feb. 25 at 7 p.m. ET.
For more information on the Kentucky gymnastics team, visit UKathletics.com or follow "UKGymnastics" on Facebook or Twitter.
1) UA 196.000; 2) UK 194.700
1) Marissa Gutierrez (UA) 9.900, 2) Kenzie Hedges (UK) 9.850, Ashley Sledge (UA) 9.850, 4) Diandra Milliner (UA) 9.825, 5) Holly Cunningham (UK) 9.800, 6) Storey Morris (UK) 9.775, Geralen Stack-Eaton (UA) 9.775, 8) Kaitlyn Clark (UA) 9.750, Kayla Williams (UA) 9.750, 10) Audrey Harrison (UK) 9.725, 11) Shelby Hilton (UK) 9.625, 12) Alexis Gross (UK) 9.550
1) Geralen Stack-Eaton (UA) 9.850, 2) Ashley Priess (UA) 9.825, 3) Storey Morris (UK) 9.800, Ashley Sledge (UA) 9.800, 5) Becca Alexin (UA) 9.775, 6) Alexis Gross (UK) 9.750, Sara Shipley (UK) 9.750, Kaitlyn Clark (UA) 9.750, 9) Whitney Rose (UK) 9.725, Audrey Harrison (UK) 9.725, 11) Caitlyn Ciokajlo (UK) 9.675, 12) Sarah DeMeo (UA) 9.175
1) Kim Jacob (UA) 9.850, 2) Storey Morris (UK) 9.800, Diandra Milliner (UA) 9.800, Sarah DeMeo (UA) 9.800, 5) Marissa Gutierrez (UA) 9.750, 6) Shannon Mitchell (UK) 9.725, 7) Audrey Harrison (UK) 9.650, Ashley Sledge (UA) 9.650, 9) Ashley Priess (UA) 9.625, 10) Holly Cunningham (UK) 9.600, 11) Alexis Gross (UK) 9.550, 12) Kayla Sienkowski (UK) 8.600
1) Kayla Hartley (UK) 9.900, 2) Ashley Sledge (UA) 9.875, 3) Geralen Stack-Eaton (UA) 9.850, 4) Marissa Gutierrez (UA) 9.825, 5) Audrey Harrison (UK) 9.800, Diandra Milliner (UA) 9.800, 7) Alexis Gross (UK) 9.775, 8) Kenzie Hedges (UK) 9.700, Kim Jacob (UA) 9.700, 10) Kayla Sienkowski (UK) 9.675, 11) Lindsey Fowler (UA) 9.650, 12) Shelby Hilton (UK) 9.625
1) Ashley Sledge (UA) 39.175, 2) Audrey Harrison (UK) 38.900, 3) Alexis Gross (UK) 38.625
UK: VAULT: 48.775, BARS: 48.750, BEAM: 48.325, FLOOR: 48.850
VAULT: Kenzie Hedges 9.850, Holly Cunningham 9.800, Storey Morris 9.775, Audrey Harrison 9.725, Shelby Hilton 9.625, Alexis Gross 9.550
BARS: Storey Morris 9.800, Alexis Gross 9.750, Sara Shipley 9.750, Whitney Rose 9.725, Audrey Harrison 9.725, Caitlyn Ciokajlo 9.675
BEAM: Storey Morris 9.800, Shannon Mitchell 9.725, Audrey Harrison 9.650, Holly Cunningham 9.600, Alexis Gross 9.550, Kayla Sienkowski 8.600
FLOOR: Kayla Hartley 9.900, Audrey Harrison 9.800, Alexis Gross 9.775, Kenzie Hedges 9.700, Kayla Sienkowski 9.675, Shelby Hilton 9.625
All-Around: Audrey Harrison 38.900, Alexis Gross 38.625