Wildcats Fall to Trio of Top-17 Teams in Texas
Feb. 16, 2014
FORT WORTH, Texas – Competing against three teams ranked in the top 17, including two of the nation’s top three teams, the University of Kentucky placed fourth at the Metroplex Challenge Saturday night in Fort Worth, Texas.
At a neutral-site competition for the second time this season, the Wildcats (4-5, 1-3 Southeastern Conference) scored a 194.850, to finish behind No. 2 Oklahoma’s 198.175, No. 3 LSU’s 197.875 and 17th-ranked Arizona’s 195.625.
For the second consecutive meet, UK posted a 49.000 or higher on two events, with a season-best 49.050 on uneven bars and also a 49.050 on floor to begin the competition. The Wildcats added a 48.650 on vault and a 48.100 on balance beam.
Eight individual season or career highs were set or tied Saturday, including two career bests set by sophomore Amy Roemmele on uneven bars and balance beam. Senior Audrey Harrison competed in the all-around for the sixth time in 2014 and scored a 38.425.
"To this point in the season, we have underachieved as a team," head coach Tim Garrison said. "This weekend was another example of just that. We were one routine away from beating the No. 17 team in the country, and putting up a big score, but failed to close out the meet. We need more consistency from our senior class and continued improvement from other gymnasts to achieve our goals for the season."
Three perfect scores of 10.000 were set in front of 2,011 at the Fort Worth Convention Center Arena. LSU’s Llomincia Hall earned the night’s perfect mark on floor, while teammate Rheagan Courville followed suit on vault. Oklahoma’s Haley Scaman posted her perfect score on floor in the final routine of the evening.
Opening on floor for the first time this season, UK got off to a strong start with a 49.050, its second-highest total of the season. Redshirt junior Kayla Hartley led the way for the Wildcats with a career-high-tying 9.900. The high score came after three consecutive scores of 9.800, from sophomore Tiara Phipps, junior Kenzie Hedges and Harrison. Freshman Taylor Puryear added a 9.750 to help Kentucky eclipse a 49.000 on the apparatus for the fourth meet in a row.
The Wildcats scored a 48.650 on vault to maintain a slight, 0.025-point lead over Arizona for third place. Junior Shannon Mitchell’s 9.775 was a team high, followed by Harrison’s 9.750 and Hedges’ 9.725. Junior Shelby Hilton and senior Holly Cunningham each tallied a 9.700.
UK posted a season-high 49.050 on bars, its first score of the year above a 49.000 on the event. Three career-bests were set on the apparatus, including a 9.900 from sophomore anchor Marissa Beucler. Sophomore Amy Roemmele led off with a 9.850, while senior Kayla Sienkowski notched a 9.825, both career bests. Hilton recorded a 9.750, while Hartley scored a 9.725 to help elevate UK past the 49.000 mark.
Going into the final event, Kentucky held a 0.250-point lead over Arizona, but UK was unable to hold the lead, with a 48.100 on the event to U of A’s 49.100 on bars. Roemmele posted her second career high of the meet with a 9.850, while Mitchell and Beucler each scored a season-best 9.825. Harrison’s 9.375 and Sienkowski’s 9.225 rounded out the Wildcats’ scoring.
For the only time this season, the Wildcats will compete twice in one weekend, when they travel to No. 11 Arkansas on Feb. 21 and to No. 7 Nebraska on Feb. 23. The Wildcats and Razorbacks will compete at 8 p.m. ET, while the Masters Classic in Lincoln, Neb., which also features Bridgeport and Wisconsin-Stout, commences at 3 p.m. ET two days later.
For complete news and updates on the Kentucky Gymnastics program, go to UKathletics.com. Breaking news, behind-the-scenes updates, photos and more can be found on Twitter at @UKGymnastics and Facebook at Facebook.com/UKGymnastics.