No. 12 UK Gymnastics Plays Host to No. 4 Florida

Jan. 21, 2010

LEXINGTON, Ky. - - The 12th-ranked University of Kentucky gymnastics squad plays its Southeastern Conference home opener Friday, Jan. 22, when fourth-ranked Florida comes to Memorial Coliseum for a 7 p.m. contest.

Off to its best start in five seasons, Kentucky (3-1, 1-0 SEC) enjoys its highest ranking under seventh-year head coach Mo Mitchell and the highest overall since 1998 when the Wildcats were listed eighth nationally.

UK is coming off a second-place finish at the Lady Luck Invitational in Las Vegas on Jan. 15. Kentucky fell short to Missouri 195.625-195.525, but finished ahead of LSU (195.350) and Arizona State (192.675). The win over then-No. 16 LSU marked UK's first over its SEC foe in 15 years, spanning 31 meets. Kentucky's previous finish ahead of the Tigers came at the 1996 SEC Championships.

Friday's meet should feature some outstanding gymnastics as two of the nation's top teams on vault and floor exercise face off. Florida (1-1, 1-0 SEC) ranks first on the vault (49.275) and fourth on the floor exercise (49.200) while Kentucky is listed at sixth on the vault (49.112) and seventh on the floor exercise (49.050).

Both teams are ranked in all four events. Kentucky also is tied for 15th on the uneven bars (48.800) while Florida is tied for 19th (48.625). Florida is third on the balance beam (48.325) while UK is 20th (48.400).

"Florida always has a good squad and performs well," Mitchell said. "But, we're a good squad too. We improved so much from week one to week two and we want to continue that rate of improvement Friday. For us, it's all about getting better as a team. The wins and losses will take care of themselves."

Sophomore Whitney Rose (Frisco, Texas) finished second on the vault last week, tying a career high with a 9.925. Sophomore Story Morris (Tyler, Texas) took second place on the beam with a career-high 9.825. Junior Andrea Mitchell (Knoxville, Tenn.) took third on the beam at 9.775. Senior Jamie Reimann (Johnston, Iowa) tied for third on the uneven bars with a career-high at 9.875.

Florida has competed against two top-12 opponents already this season. The Gators opened the year at No. 9 Oklahoma, dropping a 196.251-195-275 decision. Last week, Florida returned home for a 196.575-195.925 victory over No. 7 Arkansas.

Tickets for the meet are available by calling the UK Athletic ticket office at 1-800-928-CATS or by visiting the Joe Craft Center athletic ticket office.

Friday is Girl Scout Night and Club Team Night at Memorial Coliseum. Girl Scouts, Brownies, and troop leaders receive free admission by wearing their Girl Scouts uniform, sash or t-shirt (guests pay full price). Club teams receive free admission if they submit their roster in advance (Lpear2@uky.edu).

Fans also can receive free admission with a ticket stub from Thursday's UK vs. Arkansas women's basketball game.

The first 250 kids will receive a jump rope while the first 100 UK students also will receive coupons for a free hot dog and soda.

The UK freshmen gymnasts will sign autographs following the meet.

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

Live results for Friday's meet will be available at UKathletics.com.