UK Gymnastics Begins Season With Excite Night Against Ball State


LEXINGTON, Ky. – Following months of preparation, the Kentucky gymnastics team will take the floor once again, with its 2016 debut against the Cardinals of Ball State on Friday, Jan. 8 at 7 p.m. in Memorial Coliseum. The evening will serve as Kentucky’s annual Excite Night at the Kentucky Classic.

Kentucky enters its 35th season of competition in 2016. In that time, the Wildcats have had individuals qualify for the NCAA Championships 16 times, won eight individual NCAA Championships, had six All-America selections, nine individual SEC Champions, five SEC Freshmen of the Year and 15 All-SEC selections. Kentucky had three gymnasts earn All-SEC honors last season in Sydney Waltz, Taylor Puryear and Cori Rechenmacher. Waltz was named to both the All-SEC team and the All-Freshman team; Puryear was named to the All-SEC team and Rechenmacher the All-Freshman team.

GAMEDAY PROMOTIONS

Excite Night will include plenty of promotions including an exclusive meet and greet with special guest Laura Marano, a chance to win a limited edition Kentucky Gymnastics American Girl Doll, and other giveaways.

Fans have a chance to be selected for the meet and greet with Laura Marano by sharing daily posts on UK gymnastics Facebook page at facebook.com/ukgymnastics. Winners will be selected and posted on the Facebook page. Winners need to make sure to contact devin.kochergen@uky.edu in order to ensure their attendance at the meet and greet.

Kentucky marketing will be giving away one American Girl doll each meet. To be eligible to win, fans will share the posts leading up to home meets in order to qualify for a golden ticket. One golden ticket winner will be selected at each home meet to win an American Girl doll. Fans must be present at the meet to qualify.  

Upon entrance to Memorial Coliseum, all fans are invited to take a free set of light-up UK pom poms. 

GAMEDAY PARKING

All E-lots surrounding Memorial Coliseum are off control beginning 3 hours prior to the meet.  This includes the North Joe Craft Center, Rose Street, Linden Walk, and College of Education E-lots.
The South Limestone Garage (PS#5, adjacent to Kennedy's Bookstore) and the Rose Street Garage (PS#2) are available 2 hours prior to the meet. 
Disabled parking is available in the E-Lot (Employee Lot) north of the Joe Craft Center, adjacent to the metered spaces running along the front of the Craft Center with a valid, state issued disabled hang tag.  These spaces are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis until full.
Free shuttle service from the South Limestone Garage (PS#5) is available beginning 2 hours prior to the meet.  The shuttle picks up/drops off on Administration Drive, at the end of the pedestrian sky bridge accessed from the 3rd floor of the parking garage.  The pickup/drop off point is near Memorial Coliseum at the Euclid entrance.  Shuttles will operate until 1 hour post-meet.  

Please note: parking is prohibited in any R-lots (Residential). Vehicles parked in Residential lots without a proper permit, along yellow curbs, grass spaces, or other non-specified and unapproved areas may be subject to ticket and/or tow.

WILDCATS FINISH TOP 25 IN 2015

For the sixth consecutive season, the Kentucky Wildcats gymnastics program finished the 2015 campaign ranked in the top 25, coming in at No. 24 in the final 2015 standings. In head coach Tim Garrison’s four years at the helm, the Wildcats have averaged a team score of 195.166, finishing both the 2013 and 2014 season ranked at No. 21 in the country.

FAMILIAR FACES RETURN FOR 2016

The Wildcats return 11 letterwinners from the previous year’s team in 2016. Among the notable performers returning are All-SEC gymnasts Sydney Waltz and Taylor Puryear, along with SEC All-Freshman team selection Cori Rechenmacher. In addition to the 11 returners, UK adds eight freshmen to the fold, with many looking to compete for spots in the rotation.


SENIOR LEADERSHIP

Kentucky will look to its four seniors Marissa Beucler, Tiara Phipps, Amy Roemmele and Montana Whittle for leadership this season. The group has shown success in respective fields, with Beucler (beam), Phipps (floor) and Roemmele (bars) each posting scores on the program’s leaderboards over their respective careers. 

WALTZ AMONG TOP 100 IN 2015; PURYEAR, RECHENMACHER CLOSE

Kentucky found individual success in 2015, with sophomore Sydney Waltz ranking among the top 100 gymnasts in the nation in average vault score. Waltz showed consistency, ranking 67th overall with an average score of 9.816. Junior Taylor Puryear and sophomore Cori Rechenmacher each came close to cracking the top 100 averages in respective events, with Puryear ranking 103rd on the floor with a 9.820 average, while Rechenmacher averaged a 9.757 on bars for 120th nationally. 


SCOUTING THE CARDINALS

Ball State also opens its season at Excite Night at the Kentucky Classic, where they will face the Wildcats. After going 3-10 last season with a 193.679 average, the Cardinals return 17 gymnasts this season. 


LOOKING AHEAD: AUBURN

Following the meet with Ball State, Kentucky will travel down to Auburn, Ala. to face Auburn on Jan. 15 at 8 p.m. ET. Last season, the Wildcats upset the then-No. 9 Tigers, posting the second-best team score in program history with a 196.575.

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.