Gymnastics Posts Season-High Score in Loss at No. 3 Florida
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The No. 25 Kentucky gymnastics team recorded a season-best score of 195.950 in a strong showing in a 198.125-195.950 loss to No. 3 Florida Friday night in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.
Senior Shannon Mitchell won her fourth event title of the season as the Wildcats (4-5, 2-4 Southeastern Conference) notched the ninth-highest score in the Tim Garrison era and the 19th-best overall in program history.
“This team showed a lot of grit tonight, that’s what I’m most proud of,” Garrison said. “They’re a bunch of fighters, they are fighting hard, and it’s so great to see. We have work to do, but we’re getting closer. I know we can get a lot better in the short amount of time left in the regular season, and I’m really excited about that.”
Competing on the road against one of the defending co-national champions for the second time in three weeks, Kentucky tallied a season-high score on floor with a 49.150. UK’s 49.050 on vault and 48.975 on balance beam marked the second-highest scores of the campaign on each event. The Wildcats opened with a 48.775 on bars, their first event, before answering in a positive way on the final three rotations.
“After not having the start we wanted on bars, we did pretty well on the execution on vault,” Garrison said. “The last three gymnasts really did well to finish strong. Sydney Waltz with a 9.900 was a great finish to the rotation. On floor, five in a row nailed their routines, we needed that. Same on beam, after a mistake, five in a row competed well. I wish we didn’t have to come back from that, but the responses on each event are a sign that we’re moving in the right direction towards where we want to be.”
Mitchell’s win on beam was her team-best fourth on the event in 2015 and the ninth event title of her career. Mitchell, along with fellow senior Kayla Hartley and sophomore Taylor Puryear, led the Wildcats on floor with a 9.850. Freshman Sydney Waltz recorded a team-high and career-high-tying 9.900 on vault for the second consecutive week, while freshman Cori Rechenmacher earned a 9.800 on bars to pace Kentucky.
Kentucky returns home for the final two contests of the regular season, beginning with a conference matchup with No. 7 Auburn on March 6 at 7 p.m. ET. The Wildcats close the regular season vs. Pittsburgh and Ball State on Senior Night in Memorial Coliseum on March 13 at 7 p.m.
The Wildcats opened with a 48.775 on bars, led by Rechenmacher’s 9.800. Junior Amy Roemmele opened the meet with a 9.775, while freshman Sydney Waltz scored a 9.750. Freshman Katie Carlisle and Hartley each recorded a 9.725.
Kentucky responded with a strong showing on vault, scoring a 49.050 and eclipsing the 49.000 mark for the second consecutive week. It was the Wildcats’ second half of the rotation that shined brightest, led by Waltz’s 9.900 in the anchor position. Senior Shelby Hilton was fifth and recorded a season-high-tying 9.850, and Mitchell was before her and posted a 9.800. Freshman Brittany Furuyama led off, and Hartley competed third, both with a 9.750.
On floor, UK’s last five competitors scored in a big way. Junior Tiara Phipps began with a 9.775, followed by a career-high 9.825 by Carlisle. Mitchell, Puryear and Hartley each recorded a 9.850 to close the routine and give the Wildcats a season-high-tying 49.150 on the event.
UK wrapped up the meet on beam, and after a fall to open the rotation, Kentucky answered to record a 48.975, its second-highest total of the season on the event. Mitchell’s career-high-tying 9.900 anchored as the senior won her fourth event title of the year on the event. Waltz notched a 9.850, and junior Montana Whittle added a 9.850. Rechenmacher posted a 9.750, while Carlisle earned a 9.650.
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