Jan. 24, 2014
Complete Results | Photo Gallery | Interviews: Coach Garrison, Harrison
COLUMBIA, Mo. - In its first true road meet of the season, the University of Kentucky gymnastics team had season high scores on three events en route to a 195.150-193.775 win over Missouri Friday night at the Hearnes Center.
The Wildcats (4-2, 1-1 Southeastern Conference) won their first three events, vault, uneven bars and floor, all with season best scores. Individually, UK notched three event titles along with the senior Audrey Harrison's all-around win. Fifteen career or season highs were set or tied in UK's first dual meet of the year.
"We had a season high score on three events, so we're pleased with that," UK head coach Tim Garrison said. "We had some great performances by athletes that were entering lineups for the first time, and that was exciting to see. We let it get away from us a little bit at the end, and we're capable of much more and we're hoping to see that in the days to come."
Harrison led UK with a 38.675 to win the all-around title for the second time in three weeks to open the year. Harrison also won floor and tied two others, including sophomore Tiara Phipps, for the win on uneven bars. Sophomore Amy Roemmele won balance beam. Harrison posted UK's first 9.900 of the season on floor and tied Phipps on uneven bars, who was making her collegiate debut on the event.
For the first time this season, UK opened on uneven bars, and scored a season- and meet-high 48.875. Three Wildcats posted season bests, while Phipps made her presence known in her first bars appearance with a meet-high-tying 9.825. Harrison also scored a 9.825 and was joined by Hilton (9.775) and Sienkowski (9.750) with season highs.
After one event, the Wildcats held a 48.875-47.825 lead after the Tigers opened on vault.
Kentucky extended its lead with a 48.900 on vault, a season best on the event for the second consecutive weekend. Junior Kenzie Hedges and senior Holly Cunningham led UK with a 9.825 and Hilton notched a 9.800, all season highs. Beucler, along with Harrison, added a 9.725, which tied a career high for Beucler.
Halfway through the competition, the Wildcats held on to a 97.775-96.200 advantage, but it was a strong performance on floor that was the highlight and increased the lead to over two points.
UK turned in one of its best and most consistent routines of the season on floor with a 49.125. All six Wildcats, along with junior Shelby Hilton, who exhibitioned, scored a 9.700 or higher, led by Harrison's 9.900. The senior became the first UK gymnast in 2014 to record a 9.900 or higher, a score which tied her career best on the event.
Hedges posted a career-high-tying 9.875 and redshirt junior Hartley registered a 9.850 to tie her season best. Phipps brought in a season-high 9.775 and freshman Taylor Puryear recorded a career-best 9.725. In the exhibition, Hilton notched a 9.800, which tied her career high.
The Wildcats closed on balance beam, where a 48.250 was a season low. UK was led by Roemmele's 9.775, both a meet and career best. Cunningham's 9.725 was a season high, while sophomore Marissa Beucler and senior Kayla Sienkowski recorded a 9.675.
Despite the low beam score, Kentucky won by 1.375 points, its largest victory margin of the year. UK won three events as a team for the second time in 2014 and the Blue and White registered individual wins in three events also for the first time this season.
The Wildcats cap a three-week roadtrip at sixth-ranked Georgia on Feb. 1 at 4 p.m. ET. Last season, UK tied then-No. 6 UGA, 195.825-195.825 in Lexington. With a season-high team score, the Wildcats won beam and floor, the final two events. Audrey Harrison won the all-around title and notched the top score on floor while Alexis Gross tallied a win on bars.
For complete news and updates on the Kentucky Gymnastics program, go to UKathletics.com. Breaking news, behind-the-scenes updates, photos and more can be found on Twitter at @UKGymnastics and Facebook at Facebook.com/UKGymnastics.
COACH GARRISON POST-MEET