Feb. 24, 2012
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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Behind season-best performances on uneven bars and floor exercise, the University of Kentucky gymnastics team posted its best team score of the year and its first win in Southeastern Conference action, finishing first ahead of No. 15 Auburn and Pittsburgh in a tri-meet Friday night at Memorial Coliseum.
Kentucky (5-6, 1-5 SEC) posted a team score of 195.525 in the meet, while Auburn finished second with a 195.150 and Pittsburgh third with a 193.325. The high score for UK shattered their previous season-high mark of 195.05, which was set at Illinois-Chicago and at LSU. UK defeated Auburn and Pittsburgh on both beam and floor exercise, while Auburn posted the highest team score on bars and vault.
"This was a great step in the right direction for our team and I could not be more proud," UK head coach Tim Garrison said. "We didn't try to sugarcoat how we did last week and I think that paid off in the long run because our girls were motivated tonight to do well. The biggest thing for me was that our girls took it upon themselves to reevaluate how they were performing. We talked to the team captains about relaying that message to the other girls, because until they believe it then it doesn't matter. They took it upon themselves to come in here and correct that tonight and they did a good job. Tonight's win against an SEC team and how we performed overall will really carry over for the rest of the season."
The Wildcats earned season-best team scores on two events, scoring a 49.125 on uneven bars and a 49.2 on floor exercise. The high score on bars is tied for the 12th-highest score on the event in school history, while UK's 49.2 on floor is tied for the 16th-best in school history and the highest since UK posted a 49.2 in the 2010 NCAA Regional in Lexington.
The win over SEC foe Auburn marked Kentucky's first since it beat LSU last season in Memorial Coliseum. The Wildcats have now earned at least one SEC regular-season win in three consecutive seasons for the first time since defeating Auburn in 1998, 1999 and 2000. Kentucky defeated LSU in 2010 at the Lady Luck Invitational in Las Vegas, Nev.
Sophomore Audrey Harrison won her second all-around title of the season for UK, scoring a career-best 39.175. Freshman Alexis Gross finished tied for third in the all-around competition with a 38.925. In all, UK set or tied 12 season highs and 10 career highs in the event.
"Very happy with how some people stepped up and did well on uneven bars, that really got us some momentum," Garrison said. "I thought that beam was our best performance of the night. Then we went to floor and finished strong, which is what you have to do at home. Everybody got into it, including our fans, which was great. It was a great atmosphere tonight and a great performance by our team."
Kentucky's best event of the night was floor exercise. Harrison and freshman Kenzie Hedges led the Wildcats, finishing first and second overall at the meet. Harrison grabbed a career-best 9.9 on floor, becoming the 19th gymnast in school history to record a 9.9 or higher on the event. A native of Knoxville, Tenn., Harrison's score is tied for the highest score by any gymnast on any event this season. Hedges followed closely behind Harrison with a career best with a 9.875, while sophomore Kayla Sienkowski finished third on the team with a 9.825. Freshman Shelby Hilton started off the rotation for Kentucky and scored a career-best 9.8, while Gross also set a career high with a 9.8. Sophomore Kayla Hartley, who had UK's first 9.9 on floor two weeks ago vs. Alabama, concluded the event with a 9.675.
The Wildcats were equally impressive on uneven bars, posting a team score of 49.125. Senior Storey Morris took home the event title on bars by tying a career-best 9.9, which is the highest score on bars since she and then-senior Andrea Mitchell posted a pair of 9.9s last season on March 4. This was the second time Morris has scored a 9.9 on bars. Junior Caitlyn Ciokajlo finished second on the team and tied for third overall with a score of 9.85, which marked her second-consecutive score of 9.85 or higher. Harrison and freshman Sara Shipley each posted career-high 9.8s on the event, while senior Whitney Rose posted a season-best 9.775. Gross concluded the UK rotation with a 9.75, which was just off her career best of 9.775.
UK posted a team score of 48.6 on both balance beam and vault. Harrison led UK's effort on beam with a season-high tying 9.75, which helped her finish tied for first overall. Sienkowski, Gross and sophomore Holly Cunningham finished second on the team with 9.725s, while freshman Shannon Mitchell grabbed a 9.675. Morris concluded the rotation for UK with a 9.65.
Kentucky started the night on vault as Hedges led the Wildcats for the third time this season with a score of 9.825. Harrison was second on the team with a 9.725, while Hilton earned a career-best 9.7. Morris also grabbed a 9.7, while Gross scored a 9.65 and Cunningham concluded the rotation with a 9.625.
The Wildcats will be in action again when they travel to face No. 18 Illinois next Friday at 8 p.m. ET in Champaign, Ill.
For more information on the Kentucky gymnastics team, follow "UKGymnastics" on Twitter or Facebook, or visit UKathletics.com.
1) UK 195.525; 2) AU 195.150; 3) PITT 193.325
1) Brianna Guy (AU) 9.850, Alicia Talucci (PITT) 9.850; 3) Kenzie Hedges (UK) 9.825; 4) Haley Sedgewick (PITT) 9.775; 5) Brittany Webster (AU) 9.750, Kylie Shields (AU) 9.750; 7) Audrey Harrison (UK) 9.725, Toi Garcia (AU) 9.725, Petrina Yokay (AU) 9.725; 10) Storey Morris (UK) 9.700, Shelby Hilton (UK) 9.700, Allyson Sandusky (AU) 9.700, Haley Bodenheimer (PITT) 9.700; 14) Alexa Riech (PITT) 9.675, Brittany Marcsisin (PITT) 9.675;;; 16) Alexis Gross (UK) 9.650; 17) Holly Cunningham (UK) 9.625; 18) Maya Ketner (PITT) 9.600
1) Storey Morris (UK) 9.900; 2) Amy Varela (PITT) 9.875; 3) Caitlyn Ciokajlo (UK) 9.850, Megan Walker (AU) 9.850, Kylie Shields (AU) 9.850; 6) Abbey Habicht (AU) 9.825, Petrina Yokay (AU) 9.825, Allyson Sandusky (AU) 9.825, Alyssa Adrian (PITT) 9.825; 10) Audrey Harrison (UK) 9.800, Sara Shipley (UK) 9.800, Haley Bodenheimer (PITT) 9.800; 13) Whitney Rose (UK) 9.775, Nicole Galluzzo (AU) 9.775; 15) Alexis Gross (UK) 9.750, Bri Hogan (PITT) 9.750, Maya Ketner (PITT) 9.750; 18) Haley Sedgewick (PITT) 9.375
1) Audrey Harrison (UK) 9.750, Petrina Yokay (AU) 9.750; 3) Kayla Sienkowski (UK) 9.725, Alexis Gross (UK) 9.725, Holly Cunningham (UK) 9.725, Megan Walker (AU) 9.725; 7) Alicia Talucci (PITT) 9.700; 8) Shannon Mitchell (UK) 9.675; 9) Storey Morris (UK) 9.650 ;10) Abbey Habicht (AU) 9.600; 11) Haley Bodenheimer (PITT) 9.550; 12) Kylie Shields (AU) 9.525, Haley Sedgewick (PITT) 9.525; 14) Caryn Kadous (AU) 9.475; 15) Allyson Sandusky (AU) 9.350; 16) Katie O'Rourke (PITT) 9.050; 17) Lisa Taylor (PITT) 8.975; 18) Amy Varela (PITT) 8.875
1) Audrey Harrison (UK) 9.900; 2) Kenzie Hedges (UK) 9.875; 3) Kylie Shields (AU) 9.850, Brittany Webster (AU) 9.850, Toi Garcia (AU) 9.850; 6) Kayla Sienkowski (UK) 9.825; 7) Shelby Hilton (UK) 9.800, Alexis Gross (UK) 9.800, Laura Lane (AU) 9.800, Haley Sedgewick (PITT) 9.800, Alicia Talucci (PITT) 9.800, Katie O'Rourke (PITT) 9.800; 13) Haley Bodenheimer (PITT) 9.775; 14) Caryn Kadous (AU) 9.750; 15) Kayla Hartley (UK) 9.675, Alexa Riech (PITT) 9.675; 17) Kelsey Ainsworth (PITT) 9.650; 18) Petrina Yokay (AU) 9.625
1) Audrey Harrison (UK) 39.175; 2) Kylie Shields (AU) 38.975; 3) Alexis Gross (UK) 38.925, Petrina Yokay (AU) 38.925; 5) Haley Bodenheimer (PITT) 38.825; 6) Haley Sedgewick (PITT) 38.475
UK: VAULT: 48.600, BARS: 49.125, BEAM: 48.600, FLOOR: 49.200
VAULT: Kenzie Hedges 9.825, Audrey Harrison 9.725, Storey Morris 9.700, Shelby Hilton 9.700, Alexis Gross 9.650, Holly Cunningham 9.625
BARS: Storey Morris 9.900, Caitlyn Ciokajlo 9.850, Audrey Harrison 9.800, Sara Shipley 9.800, Whitney Rose 9.775, Alexis Gross 9.750
BEAM: Audrey Harrison 9.750, Kayla Sienkowski 9.725, Alexis Gross 9.725, Holly Cunningham 9.725, Shannon Mitchell 9.675, Storey Morris 9.650
FLOOR: Audrey Harrison 9.900, Kenzie Hedges 9.875, Kayla Sienkowski 9.825, Shelby Hilton 9.800, Alexis Gross 9.800, Kayla Hartley 9.675
All-Around: Audrey Harrison 39.175, Alexis Gross 38.925