UK Gymnastics Notebook

Jan. 11, 2010

LEXINGTON, Ky. -

The University of Kentucky gymnastics team surged to No. 14 in national rankings released Monday, the program's highest ranking since the 2002 campaign. The rankings follow Saturday's 194.850-187.250 victory over Texas Woman's University at Memorial Coliseum.

The Wildcats are ranked in all events: eighth on vault (48.925); 15th on the uneven bars (48.675); tied for 15th on the balance beam (48.400) and tied for 13th on floor exercise (48.850).

"It's early in the season and it's all about where you finish not where you start," UK head coach Mo Mitchell said. "However, I'm very pleased with moving into the rankings. I believe we're on the right track, but we still have a ways to go."

Kentucky was ranked just outside the Top 25 entering the season.

Senior Hillary Ferguson (Richmond, Ky.) and sophomore Whitney Rose (Frisco, Texas) each scored a 9.850 for title honors on the vault Saturday against Texas Woman's. Their effort has the duo tied for 11th nationally with UCLA's Vanessa Zamarripa ranked first with a 9.925 score.

Sophomore Storey Morris (Tyler, Texas) and senior Emily Green (Penfield, N.Y.) are tied for 20th in the balance beam after each recorded a 9.825. Alabama's Ashley Priess leads the nation with a 9.900 score.

UCLA leads the country with a 196.600 team average and ranks first in the floor exercise with a 49.250 average. Future Kentucky opponents Florida (49.300) and Oregon State (49.400) rank atop the national listing on the vault and uneven bars, respectively. Nebraska leads the nation on the balance beam with a 49.050 average.

The national rankings are tabulated by total season average from Jan. 11 through Feb. 8, with the regional qualifying score determining the rankings beginning Feb. 15.

The complete rankings are available at http://www.troester.com/gym/Default.asp.

Coach Mitchell Highlights Individual Efforts

Seventh-year head coach Mo Mitchell came away from Saturday's win over Texas Woman's University especially impressed with the effort of three Kentucky gymnasts in sophomore Storey Morris, junior Andrea Mitchell and senior Hillary Ferguson.

Morris shared titlist honors in two events, recording a personal best on the beam (9.825) and posting a 9.750 on the uneven bars. Morris' effort on the uneven bars marked her second-best career score on the event bars. The titles were the first of her collegiate career.

"We know she is an awesome athlete," Mitchell said. "She was highly recruiting coming into college so we knew what we were getting when she decided to come to Kentucky. We just needed to get her healthy after she injured her foot (prior to the 2010 season)."

Ferguson made fast work of her recovery from offseason hip surgery. She did not begin to train for the 2010 campaign until December, but made a strong showing in UK's season opener Saturday. Ferguson shared her fifth career title on the vault with teammate Whitney Rose after posting a 9.850 score. One judge gave her a 9.90 score. She also competed on the floor exercise, tying teammate Andrea Mitchell for third place.

"To be ready to compete after only a month of training really says a lot of about her," Mitchell said. "The floor exercise is the toughest thing (to compete in following an injury)."

Andrea Mitchell (Knoxville, Tenn.) was Kentucky's lone all-around performer Saturday, outscoring two TWU gymnasts with a 38.800 score to claim her first title in the event. Shelved for most of last season due to a back injury, Mitchell made her first appearance for the Wildcats and drew the difficult assignment of leading off all four events.

"She performed really well," Coach Mitchell said. "She did a great job of setting the pace throughout the meet."

Kentucky travels to Las Vegas, Nev., Friday to compete in the Lady Luck Invitational against No. 16 LSU and unranked Arizona State. The meet starts at 10 p.m. EST. UK returns to Memorial Coliseum to play host to No. 8 Florida on Jan. 22 at 7 p.m. EST.

Following UK Gymnastics with Wildcat Alert

Fans of University of Kentucky Athletics, including gymnastics, can now stay instantly connected to their favorite UK Athletic program using Wildcat Alert. Wildcat Alert will keep all fans up-to-date with scores and team updates using TextCaster, a leading wireless messaging application from Kansas City-based Mobile Media Technologies LLC.

Fans may sign up to receive, free of charge, the following types of information for only the sport they have selected:

Score Updates - Scores throughout each game or meet, including the final score. Also, fans will be immediately alerted of UK game or meet leaders. • Breaking News - Breaking news on your favorite UK sport • Schedule Updates - Be the first to know if a game is delayed due to inclement weather.

To sign up for the new Wildcats Alerts, fans can go to www.UKathletics.com, where they can opt into the service and select the specific sports category and information they wish to receive.