GymKats Claw No. 16 Cougars
Jan. 31, 2003
The University of Kentucky gymnastics team pulled out a 194.075-192.475 victory over 16th-ranked Brigham Young Friday night in front over nearly 1,100 fans in Memorial Coliseum. Five GymKats achieved career-high scores, led by junior All-American Aronda Primault's 9.950 on vault.
Kentucky (4-3) began the evening on vault. The Wildcats would count five scores of 9.800 or higher, including career-high marks by Primault and sophomores Michelle Gales (9.875) and Kara Prestigiacomo (9.850). When the chalk had settled on the first rotation, the GymKats had tied their school record on vault, 49.325. That mark was originally set against Florida in 1996, the year Kentucky competed with a pair of All-Americans - current UK assistant coach Robin (Ewing) Bodem and Wildcat great Jenny Hansen.
The Cats moved to the second rotation leading by 1.725 points, and continued to impress on the uneven bars. Senior Julia Gore won her second bars' title of the season with a score of 9.875. Junior Julie Joy came in second place with a 9.800, competing with a foot injury suffered mid-week that held her out of the remaining events. The Wildcats posted a season-high score on bars and held a 98.000-95.550 lead at intermission.
Kentucky hit the beam for their third rotation, but could not hold onto their momentum. UK would count a pair of falls on the apparatus, scoring a 47.350. Senior Melanie Zaharias would lift the Cats, taking first place on the event with a 9.875. BYU tried to inch closer to Kentucky in the third rotation, led by Brooke Haskett's 9.900 on floor, but the Cougars still trailed UK by 1.125 points with only one event remaining.
Kentucky started the final rotation with a pair of career highs, as sophomore Krista Prestigiacomo and Zaharias both nailed their routines to close the door on BYU. The Cats would put together a 48.725 on floor to guarantee a team victory. UK came out ahead in three of the four events, tying or beating a total of seven team and individual records on the night.
Individually, all four events and the all-around were won by GymKats, highlighted by Zaharias' victories on beam and floor and Primault's titles on vault and in the all-around, where she posted a 39.075.
The GymKats earned their first victory of the season over a ranked opponent. They will try for two more next Friday, Feb. 7, at 7:30 p.m. ET, when No. 22 Arkansas and No. 21 Illinois-Chicago join Texas Woman's University for a quad meet in Memorial Coliseum. Kerri Strug , 1996 Olympic gold medalist, will be the GymKats' special guest for the event. Strug will sign autographs for one hour beginning at 6:30 p.m., and will be a guest emcee during the meet.
Individual Apparatus Results
Bars: UK - 48.675; BYU - 47.600
Beam: UK - 47.350; BYU - 48.250
Floor: UK - 48.725 BYU - 48.675