Wildcats Meet Tigers in Friday Night Meet

Jan. 22, 2009

LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Kentucky gymnastics team (1-1 overall, 0-1 Southeastern Conference) returns to Lexington to face the No. 11 LSU Tigers (5-1, 0-1 SEC) on Fri., Jan. 23 at 7 p.m. ET in Memorial Coliseum. The meeting is UK’s first home conference meet of the season. 

In their last outing, the Wildcats met No. 9 Alabama (2-0, 1-0 SEC) in Tuscaloosa, Ala., for the Crimson Tide’s home-opener. Bama outscored the Cats, 195.825-194.075. Kentucky earned a season-high on the uneven bars with a 48.725, just above Alabama’s 48.575. UK’s senior Natalie Rubinstein matched her season-high on the event with a 9.850, which gave her second place honors.

The Blue and White have shown great improvement since their home-opener vs. Utah State, topping four-of-five scores while at Alabama. The two freshmen, Whitney Rose and Storey Morris, who have found their way into the starting line-up for the Cats, have begun to settle into their own. Each went three-for-three at Tuscaloosa in only their second collegiate meet.

Another Kentucky gymnast was able to find her stride at Alabama, senior Heather Hite had a season-best performance on the balance beam, posting a 9.875. She tied for the event’s title along with Alabama’s Geralen Stack-Eaton and Ashley Priess.  The top-honor was Hite’s 20th career individual title and 12th on the balance beam.

Kentucky ranks No. 11 on the vault with a season-high of 49.100 earned against Utah State. Rubinstein is individually ranked on the uneven bars at No. 14, while junior Hillary Ferguson is 13th on the floor exercise.

The No. 11 Tigers are coming off a home loss to No. 4 Georgia. LSU fell behind the Dawgs, 196.850-195.950, in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. Despite the loss, the Tigers earned a season-high score, bettering their previous season-high of 194.900, which they scored at the Cancun Classic on Jan. 2. LSU’s senior Ashleigh Clare-Kearney claimed her 90th individual title of her career on vault with a 9.950.

Clare-Kearney is ranked No. 20 in the all-around, placing second on vault and ninth on the uneven bars. Susan Jackson is also a top-25 all-around competitor. The Tigers are ranked as a team in the top-25 on all four events.

The Tigers dominate the all-time series against the Cats, only dropping the meet to Kentucky three times.

The Friday night meet is Father/Daughter night. For the Father/Daughter duos, tickets are buy one, get one free. The first 150 pairs will receive UK gift packages which include a UK visor, UK wristbands and a UK commemorative glass. The Kentucky vs. LSU meet is also Student Appreciation night, the first 150 students who show their Kentucky issued student I.D. will be given commemorative glasses. All students are admitted free.

Following the meet the freshmen gymnasts will meet with fans and sign autographs.

Kentucky continues SEC competition for the next four weeks.

For complete coverage of Kentucky gymnastics, please visit www.ukathletics.com.