Wildcats Score 196.25, Place Seventh at SEC Championships
NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – While continuing to improve upon its school-record regional qualifying score, the No. 22 Kentucky Wildcats posted a 196.25 at the Southeastern Conference Championship, the highest score in the team’s 35 total trips to the league’s premier meet.
The meet marked the fourth straight outing in which Kentucky posted has posted a score of 196 or better.
“I’m very proud of this team for a number of reasons,” said fifth-year head coach Tim Garrison. “This was our fourth 196.25 or higher in a row. Last week we broke our all-time RQS record and we broke it again with our score today. We have shown consistent improvement and are putting our best gymnastics out there at the most important time of the season. Today was a solid team performance, but we have more in us. We plan to get back in the gym and fine tune leading up to our regional competition in two weeks.”
Kentucky will continue its postseason run at the NCAA Regionals on April 2. Kentucky, a mathematical lock for the meet, will find out its fate on Monday, March 21, during the NCAA Gymnastics selection show, hosted on NCAA.com. The Wildcats could compete on one of six campuses and will travel to one of the following campuses: Alabama, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota or Utah. Fans can follow UK's selection process with live video streaming here.
Kentucky saw two of its members garner All-SEC honors, as freshmen Sidney Dukes and Alex Hyland earned both All-SEC and SEC All-Freshman team selections, after each posted a 9.9 on the balance beam to lead the first session.
In addition to her honors for balance beam, Dukes also earned a spot on both of the previously mentioned teams with a career-high 39.4 in the all-around in the first session. The Tyler, Texas native finished second in all-around during the first session, trailing only Georgia’s Brandie Jay who scored a 39.575.
A pair of 9.85’s from Dukes and vault standout freshman Katie Stuart guided Kentucky to a 49.05 in the second rotation. Freshman Aubree Rosa, who has also seen plenty of success on the apparatus this season, scored a 9.8. Sophomore Sydney Waltz also returned to the vault lineup for the third time in four meets, scoring a 9.8. Freshman Katrina Coca rounded out the scoring vaults with a 9.75, while senior Marissa Beucler added a 9.6.
Kentucky’s largest challenge of the day came at the bars, where the team scored a 48.925. A trio of 9.8’s from Coca, Dukes and Hyland led the team. Stuart competed second, adding a 9.775 to the fold. Beucler anchored the Wildcats, scoring a 9.75. Waltz made an appearance as well, but her 9.725 was discarded.
Kentucky continued to thrive on balance beam, posting over a 49 for the seventh time this season. UK posted a 49.125, marking the highest score on beam in the meet’s first session. Senior Montana Whittle scored a 9.8 to lead off for UK. The Wildcats were tested early, as the final four gymnasts had to respond after a fall led to a 9.15 from senior Amy Roemmele. Kentucky remained mentally tough, with Stuart scoring a 9.675. Waltz posted a 9.85 next, before Dukes and Hyland put an exclamation point on the rotation with a pair of 9.9 scores.
The Wildcats strung together a solid opening performance, scoring its highest mark of any rotation with a 49.15. Dukes and floor specialist Taylor Puryear occupied the final two spots, both with 9.85 scores to lead UK. Hyland and senior Tiara Phipps added 9.825’s, both with impressive performances. Roemmele opened the day with a 9.8 on floor. Stuart matched her score in the third spot.