March 14, 2014
BATON, ROUGE, La. – Competing against the nation’s No. 1 team for the second time this season, the No. 24 University of Kentucky gymnastics team closed out the regular season with a loss at top-ranked LSU, 197.800-195.000, Friday night at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
The Wildcats (9-10, 2-5 Southeastern Conference) faced a team ranked No. 1 in the nation for the second time in 2014. The top-ranked Tigers (10-3, 5-2 SEC) were the eighth opponent ranked within the top eight that Kentucky faced in the regular season and the fourth in the top three.
“I thought we had a good night with a disappointing ending,” UK head coach Tim Garrison said. “We came up just two routines shy of a great night, but there were a lot of positives. Audrey Harrison put together one of her strongest meets of the year with a season-high all-around score, and Kenzie Hedges scored well on vault. Kayla Sienkowski also had a good night on bars and beam. We still have some work to do heading into postseason competition next weekend at the SEC Championships.”
For the third consecutive meet and the sixth time in the past seven contests, the Wildcats scored a 49.000 or higher on at least two events. UK registered a 49.025 on vault and a 49.250 on floor, the second and third rotations of the evening. Kentucky opened with a 48.950 on uneven bars and closed the meet with a 47.775 on balance beam.
Individually, senior Audrey Harrison registered a season-best 39.250 all-around score. Harrison, along with redshirt junior Kayla Hartley, led the Wildcats with a 9.875 on floor. Junior Kenzie Hedges posted a team-best 9.850 on vault, while senior Kayla Sienkowski notched team-high honors on uneven bars with a 9.850. Harrison also posted a team best 9.825 on balance beam in her final regular season meet of her career.
The Wildcats opened on uneven bars with a 48.950, their third-highest score of the season on the event. Sophomore Amy Roemmele got UK started with a 9.825, followed by junior Shelby Hilton’s season-high-tying 9.775. Sienkowski scored a team-best 9.850, while Hartley and Harrison each added a 9.750.
On vault, UK scored a 49.025, its fifth consecutive score of 49.000 or higher on the event. The Wildcats were led by Hedges, who recorded a team-high 9.850. Harrison, junior Shannon Mitchell and senior Holly Cunningham all added a 9.800, while Hilton and Hartley each scored a 9.775.
After two events, UK had a 97.975, while LSU had a 98.925. The Wildcats moved to floor, their strongest event this season.
Kentucky scored a 49.250 on floor, tied for the 13th-best total in school history. Harrison and Hartley, for the fifth time this season, shared team-high honors on the event. The duo each scored a 9.875 as UK’s fifth and sixth competitors. Hilton led off with a 9.850, while Hedges and sophomore Tiara Phipps scored a 9.825. Phipps’ total marked a career-high for the San Antonio, Texas, native.
The Wildcats closed with a 47.775 on balance beam. UK got off to a solid start with a 9.775 from Sienkowski, followed by Harrison’s team-high 9.825. Roemmele added a 9.750, but consecutive falls from Cunningham, who scored a 9.175 and Mitchell, who recorded a 9.225, was followed by a 9.200 from freshman Taylor Puryear.
Postseason competition begins for the Wildcats at the Southeastern Conference Championship in Birmingham, Ala. The SEC’s eight teams will be split into two sessions, at 3 p.m. ET and 7 p.m. ET. Seeding will be announced on March 17.
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.