UK Gymnastics Team Hits GymInfo Top 25

March 5, 2012

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- After earning its second-consecutive win over a top-25 opponent last Friday with a season-high team score of 195.950, the University of Kentucky gymnastics team has moved up to No. 25 in the GymInfo rankings, it was announced Monday. The Wildcats grabbed the ranking with a season-best Regional Qualifying Score of 194.930.

This is the first top-25 ranking for UK (6-6, 1-5 Southeastern Conference) since the preseason rankings were announced in early December. It also marks only the second time since 2007 that UK has been ranked in the top 25 at this point in the season (week two of RQS rankings).

Kentucky is coming off back-to-back impressive performances, defeating two top-25 teams the past two weeks. Most recently, UK earned one of the biggest team scores in the history of the program, posting a 195.95 – only the 11th time in school history a team has scored a 195.95 or higher – to earn a road win at No. 21 Illinois on Saturday. Two weeks ago, UK started its climb up the rankings with a then-season high team score of 195.525 in a victory over No. 15 Auburn and unranked Pittsburgh.

The Wildcats defeated Illinois on vault and floor exercise, while it posted a season-best score on beam and the second-best score of the season on bars. UK grabbed a season-best 49.125 on vault, which is the highest team score on the event since the 2011 squad set the school record with a 49.4 at Ohio State. Kentucky sealed the win over Illinois on balance beam with an impressive team score of 49.050. The high score marked only the 10th time in school history UK has posted a 49.05 or higher on the event.

Individually, UK shined in the meet with junior Caitlyn Ciokajlo taking home event honors on uneven bars and sophomore Kayla Hartley winning the floor title. Sophomore Audrey Harrison and freshman Alexis Gross posted career-best all-around scores in the meet, going 39.225 and 39.0, respectively. Overall, Kentucky set or tied 10 season highs and 10 career highs in the meet.

The win against the Illini continued Kentucky’s road success this season as the Wildcats have scored a 195 or higher in three of their last four road meets. UK scored back-to-back 195.05s at Illinois-Chicago on Jan. 28 and at LSU on Feb. 3. In Kentucky’s previous road meet, before the trip to Champaign, Ill., it had a slight setback at top-five ranked Georgia, scoring a 193.125.

UK’s win over Auburn two weeks ago in Lexington, Ky., marked its first over a Southeastern Conference opponent this season. The Wildcats earned season-best team scores on two events, scoring a 49.125 on uneven bars and a 49.2 on floor exercise. The high score on bars is tied for the 12th-highest score on the event in school history, while UK's 49.2 on floor is tied for the 16th-best in school history and the highest since UK posted a 49.2 in the 2010 NCAA Regional in Lexington. Sophomore Audrey Harrison won her second all-around title of the season in the meet, scoring a career-best 39.175, while UK gymnasts set or tied 12 season highs and 10 career highs in the event.

The Wildcats were ranked 23rd in the nation in the 2012 GymInfo Preseason Coaches’ Poll, which is the second-highest preseason ranking in school history and the highest since UK was picked tied for 22nd in 2007.  

Event rankings and individual rankings were also released Monday. UK sits tied for 24th on vault with a RQS of 48.835, while the Wildcats are 26th on balance beam (48.615), 31st on uneven bars (48.690) and 36th on floor exercise (48.735). Harrison is ranked 33rd in the nation as an all-around competitior with an RQS of 39.035.

Kentucky will return to action on Sunday when it plays host to the final home meet of the year against George Washington and Ball State. The meet will serve as Senior Night for Kentucky as it honors the four-year accomplishments of senior co-captains Whitney Rose and Storey Morris. The meet is scheduled to begin 2 p.m. ET.

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