Rose Qualifies on Vault for NCAA Gymnastics Championship

April 12, 2010

LEXINGTON, Ky. -

University of Kentucky sophomore Whitney Rose (Frisco, Texas) has qualified as an event specialist and will compete on vault at the NCAA Gymnastics Championships April 22-24 at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center in Gainesville, Fla.

Rose scored a 9.900 to tie four other gymnasts for title honors on the apparatus Saturday at the NCAA Lexington Regional at Memorial Coliseum. All first-place event finishers advance to the championships regardless if their team qualifies. Kentucky finished fifth with a 194.975 team score and did not advance as a squad.

“It’s probably my biggest accomplishment since coming to Kentucky,” said Rose who was named Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year last season. “I went out there on Saturday knowing it could be my last vault of the season and I wanted to represent the team well and finish strong. But it’s hard to be too excited for myself, because I’d much rather be traveling with my teammates.”

Rose’s first-place finish on vault at the NCAA Lexington Regional Saturday marked her seventh vault title of the season and the ninth of her career. She has registered a 9.900 or better in the event at six meets this season.

Rose entered the NCAA regional tied for 14th in the nation with a 9.900 regional qualifying score.

“You’re talking about one of the top vaulters in the country,” Mitchell said. “She works hard on all the little things -- body position, propulsion and landings -- that it takes to be a national champ.”

“She has a natural ability to pop off the table and it makes for a dynamic vault,” said UK assistant coach Chuck Dickerson who trains UK vaulters. “I am so happy for her. She trains so hard and is such a consistent performer.”

Rose becomes Kentucky’s first event specialist to advance to the NCAA Championships since Krystle Cook won the NCAA Central Regional vault title with a 9.900 in 2006. Cook went on to finish 21st on the vault at nationals.

Former Wildcat Jenny Hansen (1993-96) is the only UK gymnast to win a national title. She won eight national crowns during her storied career, including three all-around titles (1993-95), two titles each on vault and balance beam (1994-95) and one floor title (1995).

“You want to be represented at nationals,” UK head coach Mo Mitchell said. “If you can’t go as a team, this is the next best thing. To have someone there is a step in the right direction.”