Gymnastics Opens Season Saturday with Excite Night

Jan. 5, 2010

LEXINGTON, Ky. - The University of Kentucky gymnastics squad opens its 2010 campaign with Excite Night against Texas Woman's University at Memorial Coliseum, Saturday, Jan. 9. The program starts at 6:30 p.m. EST, but the annual celebration for the start of the new season begins when doors open at 5:30 p.m.

The circus-themed Excite Night celebration, presented by The Little Gym, features "Cambo the Clown" and aerial performers as well as a magician and juggler. The first 1,000 fans receive blue clown noses and one lucky fan will win round trip airfare for two, courtesy of Bluegrass Airport. Additional prizes will be given away and the entire squad will sign autographs following the meet.

"It's a circus theme that will be great for the kids," seventh-year head coach Mo Mitchell said. "We want people to come out, be a part of Excite Night and support the new and improved UK gymnastics team."

Ranked just outside the 2010 preseason coaches' top 25 poll at No. 27, the UK gymnastics team features five seniors, four juniors and last year's Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year honoree, Whitney Rose (Frisco, Texas).

One of the nation's best teams on the vault, the Wildcats return three of the sport's top 50 vaulters in senior Emily Green (Penfield, N.Y.), junior Jasmine Minion (Memphis, Tenn.) and Rose.

Mitchell can choose from as many as 10 athletes when UK competes on the uneven bars. Rose, along with senior Jamie Reimann (Johnston, Iowa), junior Collen Williams (Naperville, Ill.), sophomore Storey Morris (Tyler, Texas), and freshman Caitlyn Ciokajlo (Brooklyn, Mich.) highlight UK's depth on the event.

Green and Rose will help anchor the Wildcats' effort on the floor exercise. Green posted scores of 9.825 or better in five of the last seven meets last year.

"This team has been working so hard for this season and the girls are anxious for it to start," said Mitchell whose squad is looking to improve on last season's 8-19 record. "The coaches have been telling the girls how their work is going to pay off and now the opportunity is here."

Texas Woman's University, who finished last season at 9-19, has won nine USA Gymnastics (USAG) Women's Collegiate National Championships in the last 17 years.

Tickets are available by calling the UK Athletic ticket office at  1-800-928-CATS  1-800-928-CATS or by visiting the Joe Craft Center athletic ticket office. Junior Wildcat Club members receive free admission with their membership card or t-shirt. Fans also can receive free admission with their UK-Georgia men's basketball ticket stub. A limited number of free admission passes are available at Lexington area Chick-fil-A restaurants.

Parking will be available in all lots surrounding Memorial Coliseum for Excite Night. Parking within Parking Structure #5, located behind Kennedy's bookstore, is available free of charge, and a shuttle will be available to transport people from the structure to Memorial Coliseum. The structure will be open beginning at 5 p.m. and the shuttle will begin at 5:30 p.m. The shuttle also will be available after the meet to transport people back to the structure.

For complete coverage of Kentucky gymnastics, please visit www.ukathletics.com or follow "UKGymnastics" on Facebook and Twitter.