Gymnastics to Host SEC Home Opener Against No. 8 Florida

Jan. 19, 2012

LEXINGTON, Ky. – After opening up Southeastern Conference action against the No. 3 Arkansas Razorbacks last week in Fayetteville, Ark., the University of Kentucky gymnastics team returns home to host another top-10 team when it competes against No. 8 Florida on Friday at 7 p.m. ET inside Memorial Coliseum.

“We had an intense but productive week of practice leading up to our SEC home opener with Florida this Friday,” UK head coach Tim Garrison said. “I think the team is focused and ready to get back on the competition floor.”

Kentucky (2-2, 0-1 SEC) dropped its first dual match of the season last Friday to Arkansas 196.650-191.975. In the meet, UK had 19 of 24 routines performed by freshmen and sophomores, including five Wildcats that made their collegiate debut on an event.

UK’s youth shined the most on vault, where it earned its highest event score of the night with a 48.6 showing. Freshman Kenzie Hedges led the way with a 9.775, while sophomore Holly Cunningham tied a career high with a 9.75. Freshman Sara Shipley gathered a 9.725 on vault, while sophomore Audrey Harrison went 9.7. Senior Storey Morris started off the rotation and went 9.65, while freshman Shelby Hilton made her collegiate debut with a 9.475.

Kentucky is ranked 29th in the GymInfo rankings this week with a season average of 193.150. UK sits in the top 30 in the nation on three events, including 22nd on vault with an average 48.813. The Wildcats are also ranked 28th on uneven bars, 30th on floor exercise and 34th on balance beam.

Florida enters Friday night’s meet against Kentucky with a 2-0 record after defeating North Carolina State in the season opener and Illinois-Chicago in its home opener last weekend. The Gators are ranked eighth in the nation with a season average of 196.1. UF’s best event is balance beam where they rank fourth in the nation with a season average of 49.113. Florida is also ranked sixth on uneven bars, 11th on vault and tied for 15th on floor exercise.

The first 500 fans in attendance Friday night will receive a free UK gymnastics schedule magnet, while the entire team will sign autographs after the meet. Reserved tickets for gymnastics events are $5 each, regardless of age, while general admission tickets are $5 for adults, $2 for seniors and youth.

The meet will be televised on a delayed basis on Fox Sports South on Saturday, Jan. 28 at 9 p.m. ET. This is the first of three televised meets for Kentucky this season. UK’s dual meets with Alabama and Georgia will also be shown on FSN on a delayed basis.

Live scores will be available online at UKathletics.com, while live video streaming will also be available through a premium subscription.

Gymnastics parking is available in the following surface lots and parking structures:
•    Joe Craft Center North E-Lot - large lot located north of the Joe Craft Center, and accessible via Lexington Avenue or Rose St.
•    Memorial Coliseum E-Lot - located between Lexington Ave and MLK Blvd. and south (towards Euclid) of the center drive lane.   
•    Student Center Lot - off Euclid Ave
•    Handicapped Parking (first come-first served until full) is located in the Northeast corner of the MLK South Lot, must have valid state-issued hang tag.
•    Good Samaritan surface Lot - accessible off MLK Blvd
•    Parking Structure #5 - entrances off Limestone and S. Upper

For more information on the Kentucky gymnastics team, follow "UKGymnastics" on Twitter and Facebook or visit UKathletics.com.