Wildcats Begin Rough Two-Week Stretch at No. 6 Alabama

Feb. 16, 2011

LEXINGTON, Ky. – After a week off from competition, the University of Kentucky gymnastics team will return to action by competing in four meets in 10 days, starting with a Southeastern Conference dual-meet at No. 6 Alabama on Friday at 8:30 p.m. ET.

Following the match with the Crimson Tide, Kentucky (2-4, 0-4 SEC) will travel north to face 14th-ranked Ohio State on Sunday afternoon at 2 ET. The Wildcats will have another double-meet weekend next weekend when it hosts No. 21 LSU on Feb. 25 at 7 p.m. ET, before traveling west to face No. 10 Nebraska, No. 20 Iowa and Bowling Green in a four-team meet in Lincoln, Neb., on Feb. 27 at 3 p.m. ET.

“We were really careful with how much we did in our bye week because of the schedule we have ahead of us,” UK assistant coach Heather Hite said. “Anytime that you have a double-meet weekend it is difficult. When you add on to that four top-25 ranked teams and three road meets then it is even more difficult. I know we are ready and can handle it, though. We are not looking at this stretch as a pain or a burden, but as an opportunity.”

Kentucky starts the difficult stretch of meets with one of the best teams in the nation in No. 6 Alabama (7-1, 2-1 SEC). The Tide have had a great start to the 2011 season, defeating ranked foes Penn State, Arkansas, Boise State, Nebraska and LSU. Alabama is coming off an impressive win at home over then-No. 21 Auburn. UA has been led this season by Kayla Hoffman, who is 10th in the nation in the all-around category, averaging 39.250, while Geralen Stack-Eaton is 15th in the country with an average of 39.208.

The Wildcats are coming off a bye week after its two best scores of the year in the previous two weekends. A week after scoring a season-high mark of 195 against Georgia, UK notched its second-highest score of the season at Auburn with a 194.45.

Although Kentucky fell by narrow margins against the Bulldogs and Tigers, several UK gymnasts took home all-around titles. Senior Phylicia Reshard won the all-around title against Georgia, marking the first time a UK gymnast had won an all-around title in a SEC meet since 2007, while fellow senior Andrea Mitchell’s all-around title at Auburn was the first for UK on the road in the SEC since 2006. The back-to-back all-around title for Kentucky in SEC action was the first time for the program since the 2003 season.

UK is represented well in the GymInfo rankings, sitting in the top 25 on two events, while four gymnasts are ranked in the top 25 in the nation. UK’s highest event ranking is on floor, where the Wildcats are seventh in the nation with an average of 48.945 and a season high of 49.15. Kentucky is also ranked 17th on vault with an average of 48.865. Junior Whitney Rose is ranked 16th in the nation on vault with an average of 9.86, while seniors Mitchell, Reshard and Jasmine Minion are tied for 23rd on floor with all three averaging 9.83 this season on the event.

The meet will be shown on a delayed basis throughout the south on Fox Sports on Feb. 26 at 9 p.m. ET. Live video and live scores will be available at rolltide.com.

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