GymKats Qualify For First Round of NCAA Championships

After scoring a 195.850 at the Southeastern Conference Championships, the University of Kentucky gymnastics team overtookMichigan State for the No. 5 spot in the Central Region and qualified for the opening round of NCAA gymnastics action. The26th-ranked GymKats will travel to Tuscaloosa, Ala., for the regional championships on Saturday, April 7. Joining UK will be No. 4Alabama, No. 9 Arizona State, No. 16 Minnesota, No. 20 Kent State and No. 21 Ohio State.

"We are very pleased with our performances and are glad to be in," Coach Leah Little said. "This will be our third timecompeting on Alabama’s equipment. This season we have performed well each time, and being in front of their crowd, I think theirfans will support us as another SEC team. We will start on the uneven bars, which is the draw we wanted. This field is strong, and wehave already seen Bama and ASU. We are just excited to be here and will be ready to compete."

Only 36 teams qualified for regional competitions, and the top 18 were seeded and distributed among the six regions. As aresult, No. 18 Louisiana State was sent out of the Central Region to the North East Region, while ASU was placed in the Centralfrom the South Central and Minnesota came from the North Central.

UK has faced the Crimson Tide twice this season. On Feb. 24, the GymKats nearly pulled off the upset, leading the Tide goinginto the fourth rotation. However, UA put together a strong score on the floor exercise to top UK, 195.900-195.825. The twoteams ran into one another again this past weekend at the SEC Championships where Alabama scored a 197.425 to finish second,while UK’s total of 195.850 was good for fifth.

The GymKats and Sun Devils meet two weeks ago at a quad meet at ASU. UK finished third in the meet scoring a 194.350while ASU totaled 195.575. In that meet, UK topped No. 12 Iowa, a team that also qualified for regional competition.

Action is set to get under way at 6 p.m. CST at Coleman Coliseum on Alabama’s campus.