No. 24 Gymnastics Closes Regular Season on Senior Day Friday
The No. 24 Kentucky gymnastics team concludes the regular season with a Senior Day matchup vs. Pittsburgh and Ball State Friday in Memorial Coliseum at 7 p.m. ET. Before and after the meet, UK will honor its four seniors, Kayla Hartley, Shelby Hilton, Shannon Mitchell and Sara Shipley.
#24 Kentucky vs. Pitt, Ball State
Friday, March 13 - 7 p.m. ET
Memorial Coliseum, Lexington, Ky.
UK Info: Meet Notes (PDF)
Fan Info: Gymnastics Meetday
TV: SEC Network+
Live Results: UKathletics.com
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One of the most successful classes in program history, Kentucky's four seniors have left their mark in the UK record book for years to come. Entering Friday's meet, they have competed in 353 total events in their careers for the Wildcats and have made NCAA Regionals every season. They have helped UK set the top five scores in program history and the school record on two events have also fallen in the last four years.
The Senior Day meet will air live on the SEC Network +, with Mark Buerger and former UK head coach Leah Little on the call. Live results from the Memorial Coliseum can be found on UKathletics.com, while additional notes and behind-the-scenes updates will be available on Twitter at @UKGymnastics.
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 record-setting win over No. 9 Auburn on March 6. Kentucky recorded a 196.575, the second-highest score in team history as UK earned its fifth consecutive win over the Tigers in the regular season, all in upset fashion. The Wildcats earned a 49.000 or higher on all four events for the first time this season, highlighted by a 49.250 on beam, the fifth-highest score in team history. Mitchell's career-best 9.925 on beam earned the senior her fifth event title of 2015.
Pitt comes to Lexington with a 4-10 mark, while Ball State is 3-8 on the year. Ball State, ranked No. 50 nationally, is coming off a loss at Kent State, where BSU scored a program-record 195.500. No. 52 Pitt posted a 194.450 in a loss at North Carolina on March 7.
IN THE RANKINGS
In addition to a program-record regional qualifying score of 195.625 that is No. 24 nationally, UK is ranked in the top 25 on two events. Kentucky's balance beam RQS of 48.920 is 19th, while the Wildcats are 25th on uneven bars with a 48.940 RQS. UK is 28th on floor with a 49.015 RQS, while Kentucky moved up to 30th on vault with a 48.960.
Ball State is No. 50 with a 194.040 RQS, while Pittsburgh is No. 52 with a 193.770. Both teams are ranked highest on floor, with Ball State 37th with a 48.905 and Pittsburgh 49th with a 48.725. BSU is also 39th on both vault (48.800) and beam (48.645) and 58th on bars. The Panthers are within the top 57 on vault, bars and beam.
Nine of UK's 12 regular season opponents are ranked in the top 25, including the top three and five of the top seven. The Wildcats have faced ranked teams in all but two meets this year in the first nine weeks of the season. The only two un-ranked opponents at the time they played UK was Washington, which is currently 21st, and Missouri, which is just outside the top 25 at No. 27.
SCOUTING BALL STATE, PITTSBURGH
No. 50 Ball State enters the weekend with a 3-8 record and a 2-4 mark in MAC action. The Cardinals are coming off a program-record score of 195.500 in a loss at Kent State. BSU has won two of its last three, with conference victories over Northern Illinois and at Illinois State. Capped by their record score on March 8, the Cardinals have posted higher scores than the previous week in each of the past four meets.
No. 52 Pittsburgh comes to Lexington with a 4-10 record, while the Panthers are 1-5 in the East Atlantic Gymnastics League. On March 7, Pitt posted a 194.450 in a loss at conference-foe North Carolina. Two of the Panther's four wins came at home on Feb. 28 in a second-place finish with a season-best 194.875 over North Carolina and Temple while falling to West Virginia.
UP NEXT: SEC CHAMPIONSHIPS, MARCH 21, DULUTH, GA.
Postseason competition begins for the Wildcats next weekend at the SEC Championships in Duluth, Ga. Kentucky is slated to compete in the first session at 2 p.m. ET in the Arena at Gwinnett Center vs. No. 10 Georgia, No. 16 Arkansas and Missouri. No. 2 Florida, No. 3 LSU, No. 5 Alabama and No. 7 Auburn are in the evening session.
LAST TIME OUT: WILDCATS UPSET NO. 9 AUBURN WITH RECORD SCORES
For the second time in the last three weeks, the No. 22 Kentucky gymnastics team upset a higher-ranked Southeastern Conference opponent, this time with the second-highest score in program history to defeat No. 9 Auburn, 196.575-196.325 on March 6.
Kentucky's team score of 196.575, a season-high, is the second-highest score in program history and the best ever in Memorial Coliseum. It is the third time UK has scored 196.500 or higher, all occurring in the last three years under fourth-year head coach Tim Garrison. The Wildcats upended the Tigers for the fifth time in the last four years.
The Wildcats put together undoubtedly their most compete meet of the season from start to finish. UK recorded a 49.000 or higher on all four events for the first time since 2013. UK scored a season-high 49.250 on the beam, the fifth-highest score in team history as UK earned its first event title of the night, thanks to senior Shannon Mitchell's career-high 9.925. The victory marked UK's first win over a top-10 team since the Wildcats beat No. 9 Arkansas in 2013.
The third win for the Wildcats in SEC competition in their last four league meets gives UK three conference victories for the second time in team history. Kentucky first posted three SEC wins in 2013, the first year the league expanded to eight teams.
|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.