By Jacob Most
March 3, 2013 -
MUNCIE, Ind. – The Kentucky gymnastics team shattered the school record with a 196.5 team score in a win over Ball State on Sunday inside Irving Gymnasium.
Kentucky (6-4-1, 3-3-1 SEC) has now posted team scores of more than 196 two weeks in a row for the first time in school history.
Audrey Harrison won her fifth-consecutive individual all-around title with a huge career-high score of 39.425. The Knoxville, Tenn., native now has a Southeastern Conference-leading seven AA titles this season.
Harrison, a junior, also tied for the vault title with a career-high 9.9. She now has 15 event crowns.
Holly Cunningham produced career-highs of 9.9 and 9.875 on vault and balance beam respectively to tie for the win in both events. Cunningham set her previous career-bests in those events last week.
Kentucky would sweep the event crowns as Kayla Hartley won uneven bars with a career-best 9.875, and she earned the same score on floor exercise.
Shannon Mitchell’s career-high 9.875 on beam tied her for event honors with Cunningham, and she went 9.8 on floor. Mitchell has now gone 9.8 or better on floor seventh-straight weeks.
“To break the record total team score and set our regional qualifying score record in the same meet is exciting,” head coach Tim Garrison said. “We had a good day. As I have said all year, this team still has more to offer. Stay tuned.”
Kentucky had the school record in sight all week long after topping 196 last week in a loss at top-ranked Florida. The team’s confidence was apparent from the first rotation.
Kentucky entered the final rotation with three event scores of more than 49 for the first time this season, and each individual score of the afternoon topped 9.7.
Going into the final stanza the program-record was firmly within grasp with UK needing a 48.975 on beam to tie the mark of 196.375, set in 2002.
UK had a team score of 186.625 after the first four beam scores had been compiled, which meant one of the final two Wildcats to compete would need a 9.75 to tie the target score.
The team’s fate would end up coming down to Cunningham.
The junior, Colorado Springs, Colo., native stuck her dismount to clinch the program-record comfortably, and top her career-best mark of 9.85.
Kentucky opened the meet on uneven bars posting a score of 49.15, which tied the team’s season-best, and was the sixth-highest score in school-history. Amy Roemmele anchored the event in her second-ever collegiate routine with a personal-best 9.8.
The Wildcats would carry the momentum to vault, again tying a season-high team score of 49.15 behind both Harrison and Cunningham’s first career 9.9s on the event. Sara Shipley tied her career-high for the second consecutive week opening the rotation with a 9.8.
Off the two top event scores of the season, Kentucky kept pushing for the school record when the action shifted to floor exercise. Even with some unforgiving judging decisions UK still posted a score of 49.1.
Tiara Phipps led off with a career high-tying 9.8. Kenzie Hedges and Mitchell scored 9.8. Harrison then masterfully positioned herself for a run at a career-high AA score with a 9.825, and Hartley anchored with the event-winning score.
Kayla Sienkowski gave Kentucky just what the doctor ordered with a 9.8 on beam leading off. Marissa Beucler went 9.8, and Harrison closed out her career AA effort with a strong 9.85.
Kentucky hosts Bowling Green next Friday inside Memorial Coliseum for the 2013 home finale at 7 p.m. ET.
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