Feb. 7, 2014
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LEXINGTON, Ky. - After three consecutive weekends on the road, the University of Kentucky gymnastics team scored a season-best 195.450 in its returned to Memorial Coliseum Friday on DanceBlue Night against No. 1 Florida.
The Wildcats (4-4, 1-3 Southeastern Conference) tallied a season-high score by 0.300 points against the defending national champion-Gators (5-0, 3-0 SEC) thanks to a 2014-best vault score and individual season-highs set or tied six times. UF recorded a 197.175 to keep its perfect record intact.
"I think we made progress," UK head coach Tim Garrison said. "Just another step forward. We started off well on vault. We go to the bars and did pretty well over there, little misses here and there. Went over to beam and did definitely better than last week and made a lot of corrections over there. They've been working really hard in the gym, so I was excited to see them fight and when they had to struggle, struggle through and make the routines in the end except for one. And then finished up the night on floor, got the crowd excited."
For the first time this year, Kentucky scored a 49.000 or higher on two events, with a 49.025 on floor and a season-best 49.000 on vault to open the competition. The Blue and White also notched a 48.800 on uneven bars and a 48.625 on balance beam, both their second-highest totals on each apparatus in 2014.
Senior Audrey Harrison led UK with a 39.225 in the all-around, a season-best. Harrison also led the Wildcats with a 9.825 on beam, a 9.800 on bars and tied redshirt junior Kayla Hartley with a 9.825 on floor. Senior Holly Cunningham notched a team-best 9.850 on vault.
Florida's Bridget Sloan scored a perfect 10.0 on balance beam. Her second perfect score of the season, it was the fourth 10.0 in the nation this year and the first on beam. Sloan claimed the all-around title on the evening with a 39.675.
Friday was DanceBlue Night, to raise awareness and money to benefit children with cancer who are treated at UK's Pediatric Oncology Hematology Clinic. DanceBlue is a year-long fundraising effort that culminates with a 24-hour dance marathon each February. UK wore gold warm-up tops, which are being auctioned off on UKathletics.com to benefit DanceBlue. More information about DanceBlue can be found at DanceBlue.org.
The Wildcats got the night off to a great start, with a season-best 49.000 on vault. Harrison and sophomore Marissa Beucler each posted a 9.775 to start the night for UK. Beucler's score was a career-best, which was followed by a 9.800 by junior Shelby Hilton. Kentucky's night on vault was capped by a 9.800 from junior Kenzie Hedges and a season-best 9.850 from senior Holly Cunningham.
UK rode a strong showing on vault to a near-season-high 48.000 on uneven bars. Just 0.075 points shy of tying its season-best, Kentucky was led by Harrison's 9.800, while Hartley notched a 9.775. Senior Kayla Sienkowski and Beucler each tallied a 9.750, with Beucler's performance coming in her collegiate debut on the apparatus. Hilton rounded out the Wildcats' scoring on the event with a 9.725.
On beam, the blue and white scored a 48.625, just 0.050 shy of a season high. UK was led by Harrison, who closed the rotation with a 9.825. Junior Shannon Mitchell tallied a season-high 9.775, while Sienkowski added a 9.700. Beucler tied her season best with a 9.675 and sophomore Amy Roemmele recorded a 9.650.
Kentucky closed the meet on floor with a 49.025. Its third-straight 49.000 or higher on the event, Hilton posted a 9.800 to lead off for UK. After a 9.725 and a 9.775 from freshman Taylor Puryear and a 9.775 from sophomore Tiara Phipps, Hedges added a 9.800. Harrison and Hartley each closed with a 9.825 to secure the season-high total for the Blue and White.
Hilton, who competed in the all-around, scored a 38.275 in her second all-around appearance of the campaign.
The Wildcats return to the road Feb. 15 at the Metroplex Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas. UK will face a trio of top-15 teams in No. 2 Oklahoma, No. 3 LSU and 13th-ranked Arizona. Kentucky travels to the Lone Star State for the first time since 2008, when UK won a four-team invitational hosted by Texas Women's University.
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.