No. 25 UK Takes Two-Meet SEC Winning Streak to No. 3 Florida
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The No. 25 Kentucky gymnastics team returns to the road to face No. 3 Florida on Friday at 7 p.m. ET. Having won their last two meets in Southeastern Conference competition, the Wildcats face the defending co-national champions for the second time in three weeks after traveling to Oklahoma on Feb. 13.
#25 Kentucky at #3 Florida
Friday, Feb. 27 - 7 p.m. ET
O'Connel Center, Gainseville, Fla.
UK Info: Meet Notes (PDF)
TV: SEC Network
Live Results: GatorZone.com
Text Updates: Subscribe
The top-25 matchup will air live on the SEC Network, with Melissa Lee, Courtney Kupets and Suri Serano on the call. Live results from the O'Connell Center can be found on GatorZone.com, while additional notes and behind-the-scenes updates will be available on Twitter at @UKGymnastics.
The Wildcats are coming off an upset win over No. 14 Arkansas on Friday. UK's 195.750 its second-highest score of the season, as Shannon Mitchell and Taylor Puryear won event titles. Kentucky opened with a 49.175 on vault, its highest score of the season on any event. The Wildcats head to Gainesville with a 4-4 record and a 2-3 mark in SEC action, having won back-to-back league meets.
No. 3 Florida is 5-2 and 4-2 in conference competition. The Gators scored a 197.425 in a loss at No. 2 LSU on Friday after posting a season-best 198.225 in a win vs. Missouri on Feb. 13. UF has recorded a 196.800 in every meet this season, with five scores of 197.000 or higher.
IN THE RANKINGS
In addition to a regional qualifying score of 195.275 that is No. 25 nationally, UK is in the top 25 on two events. Kentucky's balance beam RQS of 48.780 is 20th, while the Wildcats are 21st on uneven bars with a 48.890 RQS.UK is also 29th on floor and 33rd on vault with a 48.855 and 48.785 RQS, respectively.
Florida is third nationally with a 197.270 RQS. UF is ranked in the top four on all four events, highlighted by a No. 2 ranking on bars with a 49.400 RQS. The Gators are third on vault with a 49.435 and fourth on both beam and floor, with a 49.220 and 49.340 RQS, respectively.
Nine of UK's 12 regular season opponents are ranked in the top 25, including the top three and four of the top five. The Wildcats have faced ranked teams in all but two meets this year in the first eight weeks of the season. Including Friday's meet at Florida, the only two un-ranked opponents at the time they played UK was Washington, which is currently 22nd, and Missouri, which is 23rd.
|Click image for UK's Meet Notes (PDF)|
SCOUTING NO. 3 FLORIDA
Third-ranked Florida is 5-2 in 2015 and 4-2 in SEC action. The Gators are coming off a 197.950-197.425 loss at LSU, UF's fourth consecutive meet scoring a 197.000 or higher. Florida's season-high score of 198.225 came on Feb. 13 in a home win over Missouri. The Gators, the defending co-national champions, are represented nine times in the individual top 25 rankings. Kytra Hunter is ranked on three events and the all-around, where she is No. 2 nationally with a 39.350 RQS.
THE LAST TIME IN GAINESVILLE
Kentucky's last visit to Florida, on Feb. 22, 2013, resulted in one of the best scores in program history at the time and propelled the Wildcats to a historic finish to the 2013 season. Against the top-ranked Gators, UK finished with a total score of 196.075, the sixth best in program history at the time. The Wildcats used season-high event scores on vault and beam to reach 196.000 for the first time in 2013, a feat they would reach in each of their next three meets as well, a program record.
UP NEXT: VS. AUBURN, MARCH 6
Kentucky returns home for the final two contests of the regular season, beginning with a conference matchup with No. 7 Auburn on March 6 at 7 p.m. ET. The Wildcats close the regular season vs. Pittsburgh and Ball State on Senior Night in Memorial Coliseum on March 13 at 7 p.m.
LAST TIME OUT: WILDCATS UPSET NO. 14 ARKANSAS
Using a season high score on the vault, and following with solid performances in the remaining events, No. 24 Kentucky came from behind on the final rotation to upset No. 14 Arkansas, 195.750 to 194.825, on Feb. 20 in Memorial Coliseum. The result marks the second-highest score by the Wildcats this season as UK notched its second consecutive SEC win. The victory came on Jenny Hansen Night, as UK Athletics officially retired the jersey of one of the greatest gymnasts in NCAA history.
Kentucky began quickly on the vault, ascending to a season-high score of 49.175. UK posted a 48.775 on uneven bars. The Wildcats scored a 48.95 atop the balance beam, the second best of the season. It left Kentucky just one-tenth of a point behind going into the final rotation. UK notched a 48.85 on floor as Arkansas tallied a 47.825 on beam to give the Wildcats the comeback win.
Senior Shannon Mitchell notched her third event title of the season with a career-high-tying 9.900 on beam, while sophomore Taylor Puryear won her second event title with a 9.850 on floor. Freshman Sydney Waltz's career-best 9.900 on vault was a team-high, while junior Marissa Beucler's 9.800 on bars led the Wildcats.
For complete news and updates on the Kentucky Gymnastics program, go to UKathletics.com. Breaking news, behind-the-scenes updates, photos and more can be found on Twitter at @UKGymnastics and Facebook at Facebook.com/UKGymnastics.