No. 22 Gymnastics Closes SEC Slate At Home vs. No. 9 Auburn

March 5, 2015

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The No. 22 Kentucky gymnastics team begins its final homestand of the season vs. No. 9 Auburn on Friday in Memorial Coliseum. The final Southeastern Conference matchup of the year for the Wildcats marks the first of two consecutive home meets to close the regular season.

MEET CENTER
#22 Kentucky vs. #9 Auburn
Friday, March 6 - 7 p.m. ET
Memorial Coliseum, Lexington, Ky.

Tickets: UKathletics.com/tickets
UK Info: Meet Notes (PDF)
Fan Info:
Gymnastics Meetday
COVERAGE
TV: SEC Network+
Live Results:
UKathletics.com
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The top-25 matchup will be broadcast on SEC Network +, with Mark Buerger and former UK coach Leah Little on the call. Live results can be found on UKathletics.com, while additional notes and updates from Memorial Coliseum will be available on Twitter at @UKGymnastics.

Due to the winter storms that have hit Lexington in the past two days, admission will be free. The meet will begin at its scheduled time of 7 p.m. ET in Memorial Coliseum.

With limited parking in the lots surrounding Memorial Coliseum, fans are encouraged to take a free parking shuttle from the South Limestone Garage (next to Kennedy's Bookstore) to and from Memorial Coliseum. The heated, handicap-accessible shuttle will be available starting at 5 p.m. ET until one hour after the end of the meet. Doors to Memorial Coliseum will open at 5:30 p.m. Fans can get on the shuttle by taking the third-floor sky bridge from the parking structure across Limestone. The shuttle picks up on Administration Drive, and fans should look for the blue and white shuttle sign.

The Wildcats are coming off a season-high 195.950 on Feb. 27 in a loss at No. 3 Florida. Senior Shannon Mitchell won her team-leading fourth event title of the season with a 9.900 to tie for the win on balance beam. The Wildcats return to Lexington with a 4-5 record and a 2-4 mark in SEC action, having won two of their last three league meets.

No. 9 Auburn is 5-3 and 3-3 in conference competition. The Tigers scored a program-record score of 197.750 in a win over then-No. 9 Georgia on Feb. 27. AU has won back-to-back meets and has recorded a 197.000 or higher in two of its last three competitions and three times in 2015.

IN THE RANKINGS
In addition to a regional qualifying score of 195.555 that is No. 22 nationally, UK is in the top 25 on two events. Kentucky's balance beam RQS of 48.885 is 20th, while the Wildcats are 25th on uneven bars with a 48.890 RQS. UK moved up three spots to 26th on floor with a 48.950 RQS, while Kentucky is 31st on vault with a 48.875.

Auburn is ninth nationally with a 196.745 RQS. AU is ranked in the top 12 on all four events, led by a No. 7 ranking on beam with a 49.145 RQS. The Tigers are 10th on vault with a 49.235 and 11th on bars and 12th on floor, with a 49.175 and 49.180 RQS, respectively.

Nine of UK's 12 regular season opponents are ranked in the top 25, including the top three and six of the top 10. The Wildcats have faced ranked teams in all but two meets this year in the first nine weeks of the season. Including Friday's meet vs. Auburn, the only two un-ranked opponents at the time they played UK was Washington, which is currently 25th, and Missouri, which is 24th.

UK VS. AUBURN
Kentucky has made plenty of history vs. Auburn, highlighted by a 196.275-194.825 upset victory over the 11th-ranked Tigers last year at home. The win marked UK's fourth over AU in head coach Tim Garrison's first three seasons in Lexington. As the Wildcats posted the sixth-highest score in team history, they earned a 49.650 on floor, a school record and one of just six teams to score a 49.650 or higher last season. All four victories over the Tigers under Garrison have come in upset fashion, as AU was ranked 11th in 2014, 13th in both meetings in 2013 and 15th in 2012, Garrison's first season.

SCOUTING NO. 9 AUBURN
Ninth-ranked Auburn is 5-3 in 2015 and 3-3 in SEC action. The Tigers are coming off a 197.750-196.775 win over then-No. 9 Georgia as the Tigers recorded a program-record team score. Caitlin Atkinson, who won the all-around and floor titles vs. UGA, earned SEC Athlete of the Week honors, while MJ Rott was named the league's Specialist of the Week after winning vault in AU's win over the Bulldogs. The Tigers are represented seven times in the individual top 25 rankings. Atkinson is 15th in the all-around with a 39.290 RQS, and is ranked in the top 25 on vault, bars and beam.

UP NEXT: SENIOR NIGHT VS. PITT, BALL STATE, MARCH 13
Kentucky closes the regular season next week on Senior Night. The Wildcats host Pittsburgh and Ball State in Memorial Coliseum on March 13 at 7 p.m.

LAST TIME OUT: WILDCATS POST SEASON-HIGH 195.950 AT FLORIDA
Kentucky recorded a season-best score of 195.950 in a strong showing in a 198.125-195.950 loss at No. 3 Florida on Feb. 27. Senior Shannon Mitchell won her fourth event title of the season as the Wildcats notched the ninth-highest score in the Tim Garrison era and the 19th-best overall in program history.

Competing on the road against one of the defending co-national champions for the second time in three weeks, Kentucky tallied a season-high score on floor with a 49.150. UK's 49.050 on vault and 48.975 on balance beam marked the second-highest scores of the campaign on each event. The Wildcats opened with a 48.775 on bars, their first event, before answering in a positive way on the final three rotations.

Mitchell's win on beam was her team-best fourth on the event in 2015 and the ninth event title of her career. Mitchell, along with fellow senior Kayla Hartley and sophomore Taylor Puryear, led the Wildcats on floor with a 9.850. Freshman Sydney Waltz recorded a team-high and career-high-tying 9.900 on vault for the second consecutive week, while freshman Cori Rechenmacher earned a 9.800 on bars to pace Kentucky.

UKGYM_Notes
Click image for UK's Meet Notes (PDF)

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.