Gymnastics Climbs to Highest National Ranking since 1998 at No. 12

Jan. 18, 2010

LEXINGTON, Ky. - The University of Kentucky gymnastics team climbed two spots to No. 12 in national rankings released Monday, marking the program's highest listing since 1998. UK is coming off a second-place finish at the Lady Luck Invitational quad meet Jan. 15 in Las Vegas.

The Wildcats move up two positions in the rankings after jumping into the poll at No. 14 on Jan. 11. UK ranked just outside the Top 25 entering the season. Kentucky's current ranking is the program's highest since Feb. 24, 1998 when the Wildcats were listed at No. 8.

It marks the highest ranking during Mo Mitchell's seven-year tenure as UK head coach.

"It's a nice honor, but the team is not satisfied," Mitchell said. "In fact, they are a little disappointed they didn't perform better in Las Vegas. The two events we have struggled with the most have been the beam and the bars. We've just got to make more handstands, stick more landings and get rid of falls."

Kentucky (3-1, 1-0 SEC) is ranked in each event for the second consecutive week. The Wildcats are sixth on vault (49.112), seventh on floor exercise (48.950), tied for 15th on the uneven bars (48.800) and 20th on the balance beam (48.325).

Three Wildcats are listed in individual rankings. Sophomore Whitney Rose (Frisco, Texas) is tied for 10th on the vault (9.887). Senior Hillary Ferguson (Richmond, Ky.) is tied for 20th on vault (9.850). Sophomore Storey Morris (Tyler, Texas) is tied for 17th on the balance beam.

Rose registered a career-high 9.925 on the vault to finish in second place in Las Vegas. Rose and Ferguson shared title honors on the vault with a 9.850 score in UK's season-opening win over Texas Woman's University on Jan. 9. Ferguson also charted a 9.850 on the vault in Las Vegas.

Morris posted a career-high 9.825 to finish second on the balance beam in Las Vegas. She shared title honors on the event a week earlier, after recording a 9.825 against Texas Woman's.

The trio helped spur Kentucky on a stirring rally in Las Vegas last weekend. Finding themselves in third place after two events, the Wildcats rallied on the floor exercise and vault only to fall just short to then-No. 15 Missouri (195.625). Kentucky (195.525) finished ahead of Southeastern Conference foe LSU (195.350) and unranked Arizona State (192.675). UK's win over then- 16th-ranked LSU marked its first against the Tigers in 15 years, spanning 31 meets. Kentucky last finished ahead of LSU at the 1996 SEC Championships.

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.

Kentucky plays host to No. 4 Florida Friday, Jan. 22 at Memorial Coliseum. The first rotation begins at 7 p.m. EST.