Gymnastics Concludes SEC Road Schedule at No. 4 Georgia

Feb. 16, 2012

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- After securing a season-best team score in a home meet last week against then-No. 2 Alabama, the University of Kentucky gymnastics team hits the road for the third time in the last four weeks when it travels to face No. 4 Georgia on Saturday at 4 p.m. ET inside Stegeman Coliseum.

The meet with the highly ranked Bulldogs is the last Southeastern Conference road meet of the season for the Wildcats. Kentucky (3-5, 0-4 SEC) will conclude its SEC schedule next weekend at home in a tri-meet with Auburn and Pittsburgh.

“It’s important for us to take advantage of every opportunity we get and our staff feels we have a great opportunity this weekend,” UK head coach Tim Garrison said. “With this being our last SEC road meet of the year, we need to go down there and put up a big score to improve our RQS. We have been quietly building momentum all season and although it did not help us move up in the rankings, we had what we feel was our best performance last weekend against Alabama.”

Kentucky performed well last week in a 196.0-194.7 loss to defending SEC and National Champion Alabama. UK was led by a solid night on floor exercise, where it posted a season-high team score of 48.85. Sophomore Kayla Hartley led UK on the event with a 9.9, which was the highest score by any UK gymnast on any event this season. The high mark helped Hartley become only the 18th gymnast in school history to earn a 9.9 or higher on floor and the first since Andrea Mitchell scored a 9.95 two times last season. Fellow sophomore Audrey Harrison posted a 9.8 on the event, while freshman Alexis Gross earned a career high with a 9.775.

The Wildcats have performed well in its two previous road meets against Illinois-Chicago and LSU. Kentucky posted a season-high team score against UIC on Jan. 28 with a 195.05 and then matched that score a week later against LSU. The two high scores helped UK eclipse the 195 mark in back-to-back meets for the first time since the 2010 season. The score of 195.05 vs. LSU was the highest in a SEC dual meet since UK earned a 195.55 against Georgia in 2010, which was the Wildcats’ last trip to Athens.

UK enters the weekend ranked 27th in the latest GymInfo Team Rankings with a season average of 194.196. Kentucky is ranked in the top 30 in the nation on every event, including 24th on vault with an average of 48.796. The Wildcats are also ranked 27th on balance beam, 29th on uneven bars and 30th on floor exercise.

Georgia is currently ranked fourth in the nation with a season average of 196.642 and an impressive RQS of 196.520. The Bulldogs are coming off a 196.825-195.875 win over third-ranked Arkansas last weekend where they scored a 49.0 or higher on every event. The Bulldogs are ranked in the top 10 in the nation on every event, including fourth on beam with an average of 49.158.

Last year the two schools squared off in Memorial Coliseum with Georgia grabbing a 195.550-195.0 victory over Kentucky. The 195.0 score was the highest for UK at that point in the season. Then-senior Phylicia Reshard won the all-around competition, becoming the first UK gymnast to win the all-around title in an SEC dual meet since 2007.

Saturday’s meet is a “Pink Out Meet” for Georgia. Before the meet, 2012 Pink t-shirts will be sold at the Stegeman Shops with proceeds benefitting the Athens Regional Medical Center Foundation. There will also be a reception for breast cancer survivors prior to the meet in the coliseum club room. Those survivors will be recognized prior to the meet.

Live scores for the meet will be available at UKathletics.com. For more information on the Kentucky gymnastics team, follow “UKGymnastics” on Twitter and Facebook.