Gymnastics Makes 24th Post-Season Appearance; Fifth Consecutive
April 2, 2009
COLUMBUS, Ohio - This year marks the Kentucky gymnastics program's 24th overall and fifth straight time advancing to the NCAA Regional Championships since they first went in 1982, just one year after the program's inception. UK has also made post-season appearances five out of the six years head coach Mo Mitchell has led the Cats. Kentucky travels to Columbus, Ohio, for the NCAA Central Region Championship hosted by Ohio State on Saturday, April 5. The meet is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET in the St. John Arena.
Six teams, five all-around competitors (who are not on a qualifying team) and one individual event specialist per event [who has a minimum Regional Qualifying Score (RQS) of 9.4] were named to each of the six regions. Joining the Cats and the No. 17 Buckeyes are No. 5 LSU, No. 8 Oregon State, No. 22 Kent State and Michigan State. Last season Kentucky traveled to Baton Rouge, La., for the Central Region meet which Ohio State and Kent State both attended.
UK will begin the meet on the vault. Previously at the Southeastern Conference Championships, the Wildcats ended on the event with a season high-tying 49.225, counting five scores of at least 9.800. As the Cats proceed in Olympic order, they will have two byes, one before the uneven bars and one after the balance beam.
Most recently, the Kentucky Wildcats earned the best Southeastern Conference meet total under head coach Mitchell with a 195.000. It was also the highest mark in almost 10 years as the Cats took a 195.850 in 2001.
LSU is coming out of a fourth place finish at SEC's. Last year at the regional meet they finished second behind Stanford. As they have still retained Ashleigh Clare-Kearney and Susan Jackson, as well as the majority of last year's line-up, the Tigers are a strong contender to finish in the top-two again.
Oregon State finished second at the Pac-10 Championships for the second straight year. The Beavers took three titles as Mandi Rodriguez won vault and the floor exercise and Leslie Mak and Jen Kesler tied for the uneven bars title. Rodriguez was also awarded the Pac-10 Gymnast of the Year.
Ohio State grabbed a fifth place finish with a 195.900 at the Big Ten Championship. The Buckeyes' freshman Taylor Jones was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year. With a 39.100, Jones finished second for Ohio State in the all-around.
Kent State defended its 2008 MAC title by scoring a 194.500 to win the 2009 MAC Championship. Although they struggled on beam, the Golden Flashes finished with a 49.025 on floor to maintain their lead over Central Michigan who earned a 194.350.
Michigan State came out of the Big Ten Championships with a 195.650 taking sixth place, just behind Ohio State. Katlyn Roggensack led MSU in the all-around setting a career-high with a 39.150 to finish 11th overall.
The top two teams and the top two all-around competitors (who are not on an advancing team) from each region will receive an automatic berth to the national championships in Lincoln, Neb., April 16-18, hosted by the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. In addition, the event winners at the regional championships will advance to the national championships (in that event only) if they are not part of a qualifying team or the all-around qualifiers.
Tickets for the Central Region Championships are available via phone by calling TicketMaster (1-800-745-3000) or going online to www.ticketmaster.com. Tickets will not be available at Ticketmaster outlets.