Feb. 28, 2014
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LEXINGTON, Ky. - The No. 24 University of Kentucky gymnastics team recorded the fifth-highest team score in program history to upset 11th-ranked Auburn Friday night in Memorial Coliseum, 196.275-194.825.
UK's program-record 49.650 on floor was one of three season-best team scores, all which resulted in event titles for the Wildcats. Kentucky's floor score also is the second-highest in the country this year. The Wildcats added 12 season or career bests in the victory as Kentucky won four individual events.
"It was just a great night," UK head coach Tim Garrison said. "Overall, I am extremely pleased with vault, extremely pleased with what happened over on bars, with a lot of what happened on beam and the way we closed it out on floor, I was very happy. Overall I would say it was a great day for us.
"We had a great feeling about the night. The athletes had a great night, they were up for it and ready to go after a great week of training."
The Wildcats improved to 5-1 against Auburn in the past three seasons, all under Garrison. UK has won four consecutive regular season meets against AU
Kentucky's team score was also the second-best at home in team history after a 196.375 last season. Four of the five top scores in UK history have come in 2014 or 2013.
"Wins over SEC teams are hard to come by," Garrison added. "That's what we talked about to the girls after the meet is, `Listen, we don't take these for granted because they're hard to come by.' Yeah, and we're excited for that. We're excited for the score more because we could score a little higher and not come out with a win and do a little better in the rankings, but we'll take both."
Along with a school-record 49.650 on floor, UK posted a 49.175 on uneven bars, tied for the seventh-best in team history. Kentucky's vault score of 49.200 to open the night is tied for the 15th best in the UK record books.
Individually, Kentucky tallied the top five scores on floor, all with a 9.925 or higher and all career-high scores. Senior Audrey Harrison scored a career-best 9.950, while redshirt junior Kayla Hartley, juniors Shelby Hilton and Kenzie Hedges and freshman Taylor Puryear all scored a 9.925. UK posted the top two scores on balance beam, led by Harrison's 9.925. Junior Shannon Mitchell tied for the vault title with a career-high-tying 9.900, while Hartley tied for the uneven bars title, also with a 9.900.
UK never trailed against its SEC foes, and held a 0.650-point lead going into the final rotation. Kentucky wanted to end the meet with a bang on floor, it's best event all season long. The Wildcats didn't settle with just a bang. Before tonight, nine gymnasts in UK history had ever scored a 9.925. After tonight, that list is now at 13, with one added at 9.950.
Hilton got things started with a 9.925, and Puryear matched it with a 9.925 of her own. After sophomore Tiara Phipps scored a 9.700, Hedges added a 9.925 of her own. Harrison then scored a 9.950, tied for the highest individual score in the Garrison era. Hartley capped the night with another 9.925 to secure the record-setting team total.
The Wildcats opened with a strong start on vault, with a season-best 49.200. UK only competed five gymnasts on the event, and four of them set or tied their career or season high marks. Mitchell led Kentucky with a career-high-tying 9.900 while Harrison recorded a season-best 9.875 to open the meet. Hilton followed Harrison with a season-high-tying 9.800 and Hedges added a 9.850. Hartley anchored for the Wildcats with a career best 9.775 to seal a season-best team total.
UK's hot start continued on uneven bars with another season-best score. A 49.175 on the event also gave Kentucky its second event title to open the night. The Wildcats were led by Hartley's 9.900 and senior Kayla Sienkowski's 9.875, both career-best marks. Sophomore Marissa Beucler, who anchored on the event, also had a 9.875, while sophomore Amy Roemmele added a 9.825 and Hilton recorded a 9.700.
Harrison's career-high 9.925 on beam highlighted a 48.250 by the Wildcats on the event. The score gave the senior a high of at least 9.900 on all four events in her collegiate career.
Also on beam, Mitchell scored a 9.875, while Sienkowski and Beucler each registered a 9.700. Roemmele competed second and notched a 9.050 for UK.
UK hosts No. 19 California and Centenary on March 7 on senior day in the Wildcats' home finale. Kentucky will honor three graduating seniors, Holly Cunningham, Audrey Harrison and Kayla Sienkowski, before the 7 p.m. ET contest.
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.