Kentucky Earns Season Best Vault Score at NCAA Central Region Championships
April 4, 2009
COLUMBUS, Ohio - A season-high vault score highlighted the NCAA Central Region meet for Kentucky. UK entered its 24th overall and fifth straight NCAA Regional Championship and walked away with a 49.250 on vault, the program's fourth best total on that event. Southeastern Conference foe, No. 5 LSU, defended their Central Region title with a 196.875 in St. John Arena Saturday night in Columbus, Ohio. No. 8 Oregon State also earned a bid to the national championships as they placed second overall with a 196.800.
Head coach Mo Mitchell's career best vault total of 49.250 kicked off the night for Kentucky. Junior Emily Green anchored the Cats with a team-best 9.875. Freshman Whitney Rose also earned a 9.875 followed by junior Hillary Ferguson and sophomore Jasmine Minion's scores of 9.850. Minion has not dipped below a 9.800 all season, averaging a 9.845. Rounding out the scores for UK was sophomore Colleen William's career high-tying 9.800.
After each team had a chance to compete on one event, the Wildcats held a .025 advantage over the next closest competition. Fellow SEC member LSU earned a 49.225 on the floor exercise while Oregon State grabbed a 49.150 on the uneven bars. Other scores earned were a 49.100 by Ohio State, 48.200 from Michigan State and a 47.900 by Kent State.
UK next took to the uneven bars but the team's momentum was slowed as Kentucky scored a 48.625. Senior Natalie Rubinstein anchored the Wildcats with a team-best 9.850. Rubinstein has led the Cats on the event in 12 of 14 meets this season despite battling an old knee injury which was agitated at the recent SEC Championships.
Less than one point separated the top-four spots which included LSU, Oregon State, Ohio State and Kentucky after teams had completed two rotations.
Unfortunately, the balance beam bit again as UK was forced to take a 46.800. Senior Heather Hite completed the line-up for the Blue and White with a clean score of 9.825. Hite is the team's lead performer on the apparatus earning team top honors 13 times this season and nabbing 16 career beam titles.
Kentucky headed to floor for the final rotation following a bye. Sophomore Phylicia Reshard started things off for the Blue and White on floor, registering a 9.750, just shy of her career-high. Green and Hite capped the event off for Kentucky, each with a team-best score of 9.875, a season high-tying mark for Green as well. Ferguson also posted a solid score for the Cats with a 9.850.
"We started very strong and with a lot of enthusiasm on vault," head coach Mitchell said. "We came back on bars and didn't get to do what we wanted to, but I think we did well for us. It was beam that killed us. You can't beat anyone when you fall four times. In the end the kids gave a strong effort to come back on floor and I am really proud of them for that."
NCAA Central Region Finish
1. LSU - 196.875
2. Oregon State - 196.800
3. Ohio State - 195.950
4. Kent State - 194.650
5. Michigan State - 194.100
6. Kentucky - 193.700
teams in bold earn bids to the NCAA Championships in Lincoln, Neb.