After Season-High Roadtrip, UK Hosts AU in Top-25 Showdown
Feb. 27, 2014
NO. 24 UK VS. NO. 11 AUBURN
When: Friday, February 28, 2014 at 7 p.m. ET
Where: Memorial Coliseum, Lexington, Ky.
Live Video : UKathletics.com | Live Results : UKathletics.com
Meet Info: Meet Notes
Video: Coach Garrison Previews Auburn
Cat Scratches Feature: Cats taking ownership as season winds down
Additional Info: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
LEXINGTON, Ky. – After three consecutive road contests, including two meets in three days, the No. 24 University of Kentucky gymnastics team returns home to face No. 11 Auburn Friday at 7 p.m. ET in Memorial Coliseum.
The Wildcats are back in the national rankings after they recorded a season-high score at No. 13 Arkansas Friday. They face the Tigers in a top-25 matchup a year after UK upended AU on the road for Kentucky’s first road SEC dual meet win since 1999. In the Tim Garrison era, the Wildcats are 4-1 against Auburn, with two wins in each of the past two seasons.
A live video stream and live results from Memorial Coliseum will be available on UKathletics.com. Updates can also be found on Twitter at @UKgymnastics.
Kentucky, 6-9 on the season and 1-4 in SEC competition, is coming off a season-best outing Friday at No. 13 Arkansas. The Wildcats scored a 195.975, led by junior Shannon Mitchell’s 9.900 on both vault and beam. UK also tallied season-high scores on vault and beam. Two days later, Kentucky finished second at the four-team Masters Classic, behind the host team, No. 8 Nebraska. The Wildcats return home looking to improve on a 3-1 mark in Lexington.
Auburn is 3-4 in 2014 and 1-4 in SEC meets. Like the Wildcats, the Tigers have faced one of the nation’s toughest schedules. AU is coming off back-to-back home losses to then-No. 5 Alabama and No. 6 Georgia, but the Tigers recorded a season-best 197.100 in their loss to the Crimson Tide two weeks ago. Auburn’s lone league win came at Arkansas, by a 196.550-196.100 margin.
TICKET AND PARKING INFORMATION
Season tickets for the 2014 season are $15 for reserved seating in Sections C through G. General admission seating is located in all other sections. Reserved tickets for single meets are $5.00 each, regardless of age. General admission tickets are $5.00 for adults, $2.00 for Seniors (65+) and Youth (6-18). Children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge.
Tickets can be purchased by calling the ticket office at 1-800-928-2287. Tickets are also sold at the Joe Craft Center Ticket Office on the night of the event. Group tickets (20+ people) are available by calling the ticket office in advance of the event.
Parking will be available in all E-Lots (Employee Lots) surrounding Memorial Coliseum beginning 3 hours prior to the start of the meet. Additional parking will be available in Parking Structure #5 (adjacent to Kennedy’s Bookstore), which is a 5-10 minute walk to the Coliseum.
Handicap parking is available in the E-Lot (Employee Lot) north of the Joe Craft Center, adjacent to the metered spaces, with a valid, state-issued handicap tag. These spaces are available on a first-come, first-serve basis until full. Please note that parking is prohibited in any R-Lot (Residential Lot). Vehicles parking in R-Lots without a proper permit, along yellow curbs, grass spaces or other non-specified and unapproved areas may be subject to ticket and/or tow.
WILDCATS BACK IN THE TOP 25
With the release of this week’s GymInfo Top 25 ranked by Regional Qualifying Average (RQS), Kentucky returned to the top 25 for the first time in four weeks. The Wildcats have a 195.130 RQS, good for 24th in the country. UK is one of seven SEC teams in the top 25, including three of the top four. UK is also in the top 25 in three of the four event rankings.
UK has been in the top 21 on floor exercise every week in 2014, and the Wildcats debut at 19th in the first RQS rankings. With a high of 49.125 and an RQS of 49.020, Kentucky has recorded a 49.000 or higher five times this year.
The Wildcats returned to the rankings at 24th on uneven bars with a 48.815 RQS and a season-best score of 49.050, earned on Feb. 15 at the Metroplex Challenge. UK is 25th on vault. Thanks to back-to-back scores of 49.000 or higher, Kentucky has an RQS of 48.925 and a 49.150 season-high score.
LAST YEAR VS. THE TIGERS
Last season on Jan. 11, 2013, UK used a solid performance on all four events to score a 195.525, and defeat Auburn inside Auburn Arena. The victory was the first road win for the Wildcats in a Southeastern Conference dual meet since UK topped Auburn in 1999, and the first SEC season-opening win since 2008.
Audrey Harrison posted a 39.200 to win the all-around competition. Kenzie Hedges scored a 9.850 to win the individual vault title, while Kayla Hartley’s 9.850 on floor was tied for a meet high. UK posted the top score on three events as a team. Overall, Kentucky earned 13 season or career-high scores in the meet.
The regular season win was Kentucky’s fourth consecutive victory over the Tigers, including postseason play. UK posted a season-opening win against the Tigers a week earlier in California, while the Wildcats also defeated Auburn in a home tri-meet with Pittsburgh and in the SEC Championship meet in 2012. The four-meet winning streak against Auburn was the longest since UK claimed 11 straight victories over the Tigers from 1995-99. UK’s winning streak came to an end at the 2013 SEC Championships, when Kentucky placed eighth and Auburn fifth.
UP NEXT: SENIOR DAY VS. CALIFORNIA & CENTENARY, FEB. 28, 7 P.M. ET
UK hosts No. 19 California and Centenary on March 7 on senior day in the Wildcats’ home finale. Kentucky will honor three graduating seniors, Holly Cunningham, Audrey Harrison and Kayla Sienkowski, before the 7 p.m. ET contest.
LAST TIME OUT: AT ARKANSAS, NEBRASKA
In a rare two-meet weekend, the No. 24 Kentucky gymnastics team posted a season-best 195.975 score Friday at No. 13 Arkansas and a 195.200 Sunday at No. 8 Nebraska. UK placed second among four teams at Nebraska after a loss to Arkansas, the first time the Wildcats competed twice in one weekend since 2011.
Friday at Arkansas, UK notched a season-best 49.150 on vault and a 48.900 on beam, while junior Shannon Mitchell led the Wildcats with a career-high 9.900 on both vault and beam, both team highs. Sophomore Amy Roemmele led UK on bars with a 9.825, while senior Audrey Harrison and redshirt junior Kayla Hartley each tallied a 9.850 on floor to lead the squad.
Two days later in Lincoln, Neb., UK’s 195.200 was its third-highest score of the season in a loss to Nebraska and a win over Bridgeport and Wisconsin-Stout. Senior Holly Cunningham recorded a team-best and career-high-tying 9.900 on vault, while sophomore Amy Roemmele led the way on bars with a career-best 9.900 on bars. Mitchell’s 9.850 on beam was a team high, while Hartley paced the way with a 9.850 on floor.
Through seven weeks of competition, the Wildcats are ranked 19th nationally on floor with a 49.006 average. Five of UK’s nine best team scores have come on floor, with five consecutive scores of 49.000 or higher.
Kentucky recorded a 49.125 at Missouri, followed by a 49.000 at Georgia and a 49.025 against Florida. In all three meets, it was a consistent effort from the Wildcats that resulted in the high totals. At Mizzou, all six UK gymnasts scored a 9.700 or higher, while all five Wildcats to score at UGA and against Florida each posted at least a 9.775.
RECORD CROWD SEES EXCITE NIGHT WIN
As Kentucky beat three teams to win its season-opener on Jan. 10, it did so in front of one of the largest crowds in UK gymnastics history. A crowd of 5,839 witnessed the Excite Night victory, which marked the largest since 2007, when 6,875 were in attendance. It also marked the third-largest UK home crowd since at least 1997.
2014 SCHEDULE NOTHING TO LAUGH AT
With 10 top-25 teams on Kentucky’s 2014 slate, including four of the top five, ranked in the preseason coaches poll, the Wildcats face one of the most grueling schedules in the nation. Among top-25 teams, CollegeGymFans.com has tabbed UK’s schedule as the toughest in the country, while RoadtoNationals.com ranks the Blue and White’s schedule as the second-best strength of schedule among all NCAA teams. Seven of the SEC’s eight teams enter the season ranked nationally, with the eighth, Missouri, receiving votes.