UK Faces Four Ranked Teams at NCAA Regional Championships
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Kentucky gymnastics team earned its program-record 11th consecutive NCAA Championship berth and will compete in the NCAA Regionals on April 4th at 6 p.m. ET at St. John Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
NCAA Regional Championships
Saturday, April 4 - 4 p.m. ET
St. John Arena
UK Info: Meet Notes (PDF)
Meet Info: Championship Central
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Seeded fifth in its regional, UK will make its 27th NCAA Championship appearance. Along with UK and Ohio State, which will host the event, the regional field includes No. 6 Michigan, No. 7 UCLA, No. 18 Arizona and Central Michigan.
Live video of the regional championships will be available on OhioStateBuckeyes.com, which will include separate video streams of each apparatus. Live results can also be found on OhioStateBuckeyes.com, while additional notes and behind-the-scenes updates from Columbus will be available on Twitter at @UKGymnastics.
The NCAA Regional will be a homecoming for four Wildcats from Ohio. Junior Marissa Beucler and freshman Sydney Waltz hail from Findlay, redshirt freshman Kirsten Canini is from Caroll and freshman Katie Carlisle is a Newark native.
At last season's regional, the Wildcats broke the school record regional score with a 195.925 to finish fourth. At regionals, Audrey Harrison became the first UK gymnast since 2010 to qualify for the NCAA Championships, when she earned a 9.850 on balance beam to win the event.
The top two teams in each of the six regionals will advance to the 2015 NCAA Finals. The finals will be held in Fort Worth, Texas, April 17-19.
IN THE RANKINGS
In addition to a regional qualifying score of 195.745 that is the second highest in program history and ranked 26th nationally, UK is ranked in the top 25 on beam and floor. Kentucky is 22nd on floor with a 49.140 RQS, while its balance beam RQS of 48.985 is also 22nd. The Wildcats are 28th on uneven bars with a 48.940 and 33rd on vault with a 48.980.
Joining the Wildcats in the NCAA Regionals is No. 6 Michigan, with a 197.270 RQS and No. 7 UCLA, with a 197.200. Arizona is 18th in the country with a 196.445, while Central Michigan is also in the top 25 at No. 21 with a 196.190 RQS. Ohio State has earned a 195.400 and is ranked 32nd.
Eight of UK's 12 regular season opponents are ranked in the top 25, including the top two and four of the top five. The Wildcats have faced ranked teams in all but three meets this year in the regular season. The only four un-ranked opponents at the time they played UK was Washington, which is currently tied for 23rd, and Missouri, which is just outside the top 25 at No. 27, along with Pittsburgh and Ball State.
PURYEAR, RECHENMACHER, WALTZ EARN ALL-SEC HONORS AT SEC CHAMPIONSHIPS
At the SEC Championships on April 21, three Wildcats earned All-SEC honors. Sophomore Taylor Puryear and freshman Sydney Waltz were named to the All-SEC Team, while Waltz and fellow freshman Cori Rechenmacher were named to the SEC All-Freshman Team.
Puryear and Waltz's selection to the All-SEC team marks the third consecutive year UK has had at least two named to the team. Prior to fourth-year head coach Tim Garrison's arrival in Lexington, Kentucky had just eight honorees in program history, and no more than one in a season. Rechenmacher and Waltz are UK's first All-Freshman team selections in team history.
The two freshmen were recognized by the SEC for the first times in their careers, while Puryear and Whittle were both named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll last season.
Puryear and Waltz earned All-SEC honors after they tied for meet-high honors on floor with a 9.900 in the first session of the SEC Championships on March 21. Waltz's score marked a career best, while Puryear's was a season high.
Rechenmacher was named to the All-Freshman Team after a 9.800 on beam was the top score in the first session among freshmen. She was second on the team and tied for fourth among all competitors on the event in the championships' opening session.
LAST YEAR AT THE NCAA REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
For the second consecutive season, Kentucky broke the school record NCAA Regional score with a 195.925 to place fourth on in 2014. The Wildcats set a UK record by 0.350 points a year after a 195.575 broke the previous UK record. No. 1 Florida won the 2014 Regional with a 197.050, while host-Penn State finished second with a 196.725.
Audrey Harrison tied for the win on beam with a 9.850 and became the first Wildcat since 2010 to qualify for the NCAA Championships. Along with a win on beam, Harrison added an all-around score of 39.300 to place sixth, just shy of an NCAA qualifying score in the event. Tiara Phipps tied for second on floor with a 9.925, while Taylor Puryear also reached the podium with a 9.900 on floor to tie for fourth.
SEC, SEC, SEC!
One of the toughest gymnastics conferences in the country, all eight teams from the Southeastern Conference qualified for the NCAA Regionals. Along with defending co-NCAA champion Florida, 2015 SEC Champion Alabama and LSU all earned No. 1 seeds. Auburn and Georgia are seeded second, while Arkansas is seeded fourth. Kentucky and Missouri are both seeded fifth.
The SEC is one of three conferences to have every team earn an NCAA bid. The league's eight teams are also the second most to make the field of 36 from one conference. Each of the Big 12's three teams and the Mountain Rim's five schools made the NCAA Regionals. Nine of the Big Ten's 10 teams qualified for regionals, the only league to earn more postseason bids than the SEC.
UP NEXT: NCAA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
Should the Wildcats place in the top two at Saturday's NCAA Regional, they will qualify for the NCAA National Championships for the first time in program history. Individual UK gymnasts can also qualify for the national championship at Saturday's regional competition. The three-day NCAA Championships will be held April 17-19 in Fort Worth, Texas
For complete news and updates on the Kentucky Gymnastics program, go to UKathletics.com. Breaking news, behind-the-scenes updates and more can be found on Twitter at @UKGymnastics and Facebook at Facebook.com/UKGymnastics.
|Click image for UK's Meet Notes (PDF)|