Rose Named SEC Freshman of the Year

March 21, 2009

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - For Whitney Rose, being a rookie in the collegiate gymnastics scene seemed to be no big deal. She gradually combined all four events to become one of the Cats’ all-around performers. During the conclusion of the 2009 Southeastern Conference Championships, end of the year awards were announced and Rose of Frisco, Texas, was named the SEC’s Freshman of the Year.

“It couldn’t happen to a better person,” head coach Mo Mitchell said. “We’re very proud of her. She’s just starting to turn into the athlete she can be. I look forward to bigger and better things from her.”

Only four other gymnasts in Kentucky history have been honored as the Freshman of the Year, Jenny Hansen (1993), Kristin Hoeferlin (1997), Ashley Burkholder (1998) and Julia Gore (2000).

Rose earned the first event title of her career against LSU with a career-high 9.900 on the vault. She has led the team on either the vault or uneven bars three times, and the only freshman on the team to do so.

The Texas rookie competed on vault in every meet this season with a career-best mark of 9.925. She averaged a 9.828 on the event, the second highest on the team. Rose scored below a 9.800 only twice with a 9.850 or better in her last four meets including a 9.875 at the SEC Championships.

Rose captured three event titles this year, two on vault and one all-around. During her title-earning all-around performance she earned a season-high 9.825 on beam which was added to her total of 39.100. Other career bests were a 9.825 on the uneven bars and a 9.775 on the floor exercise.

Rose’s performance at the recent SEC Championship helped the Cats earn a season high-tying and top-five school record 49.225 on the vault as well as an overall total of 195.000, the best score under Coach Mitchell at the SEC’s. The Blue and White now wait final word of its location for the NCAA Regional competition which takes place on Saturday, April 4. Kentucky will compete with five other schools for a ticket to Nationals.