Wildcats Begin on Bars

March 20, 2009

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The No. 22 Kentucky gymnastics team will start the 2009 Southeastern Conference Gymnastics Championship on the uneven bars. UK is currently ranked 22nd on the event. The SEC’s will be held at the Sommet Center in Nashville, Tenn., Saturday, March 21. The first three-minute touch is scheduled for 5:05 p.m. ET.

The Competition Draw took place between the two practice sessions on Friday with senior Heather Hite choosing for the Blue and White. Last season the Cats started with the first bye before vault, but this year UK will begin on the uneven bars.

Senior Natalie Rubinstein leads Kentucky on the bars with an average of 9.804 and a career high of 9.900. She most recently tied her career mark of 9.900 on the uneven bars while competing in Anchorage, Alaska.

After the uneven bars routines UK will head straight to beam then have a bye just before floor. Kentucky’s last event of the competition will be vault which is cushioned by a pair of byes. With the Cats’ last event being vault, they finish the evening on an event on which they are ranked 15th in the country. Ending on a team’s best event is thought to hold an advantage.

This season Kentucky has broken the team’s vault Regional Qualifying Score (RQS) record with an RQS of 49.115. UK has averaged a 49.037 on the event and is led by junior Emily Green who holds a career high of 9.950 which she earned this season. Green ranks top 25 on the event followed by sophomore Jasmine Minion and freshman Whitney Rose coming in at No. 33 and No. 36, respectively.

The Crimson Tide drew what is typically thought to be the best draw, a first round bye followed by the Olympic order of events, vault, bars, beam and floor. Arkansas will start with a bye just before floor, Florida begins on vault, Auburn has a bye before bars, Georgia competes first on the balance beam and LSU kicks the night off on floor.

All seven of the SEC schools are ranked in the top 25 with the Georgia Bulldogs leading the pack at No. 1. Four other schools join UGA in the top 10, No. 4 LSU, No. 5 Alabama, No. 6 Florida and No. 9 Arkansas. The Auburn Tigers come in at No. 11.

A score of 196.225 or better will help the Wildcats’ rankings as they head into NCAA Regional competition. If the Cats can jump into the top 18, they will be seeded and can compete at any regional site.

Live scoring and complete coverage of the 2009 SEC Gymnastics Championships can be found at www.secsports.com.