March 17, 2012
SHREVEPORT, La. -- The 23rd-ranked University of Kentucky gymnastics team defeated Centenary on every event, including tying a season-best team score on vault with a 49.125, to roll to a 195.875-192.825 victory over Centenary on Saturday night in Shreveport, La. The win was Kentucky’s sixth consecutive, giving the Wildcats their first winning regular season since 2008.
“Today was another step forward for the Kentucky gymnastics program,” said UK head coach Tim Garrison, who is in his first season at the helm of the program. “We didn’t set a record team score or even a season high. What we did was, once again, show consistency in our performance. We hit 24 of 24 routines and that has been our goal all season. We have worked really hard to make sure that we take full advantage of every chance we get to represent this great university. This team is more confident than ever heading into the SEC Championships next weekend.”
The win continued the Wildcats’ recent surge in team scores, as UK has now scored a 195 or higher in five of their last six meets, including a 195.875 or higher in three straight meets. UK’s high score Saturday marked the first time in school history the Wildcats have posted three-consecutive team scores of 195.875 or higher. Kentucky scored a 195.95 two weeks ago at Illinois before last week’s historic 196.025.
UK has been fantastic on the road, scoring over a 195 or higher in four of their six road meets this season. The Wildcats’ impressive showing Saturday and two weeks ago in Champaign, Ill., marks the highest consecutive road scores in school history. The high scores have jumped UK’s Regional Qualifying Score to a 195.49, which is only tenths off UK’s highest RQS in school history.
Kentucky (9-6, 1-5 Southeastern Conference) defeated Centenary on every event, posting a 48.875 or higher on all four apparatuses. UK tied a season-high team score on vault with a 49.125, while scoring a 48.975 on uneven bars, 48.9 on floor exercise and 48.875 on balance beam.
Individually, a UK gymnast took home event honors on each event, including sophomore Audrey Harrison, who won her fourth all-around title of the season. The native of Knoxville, Tenn., set a career high in the all-around competition with an impressive mark of 39.250. Harrison tied a career high on vault and bars with scores of 9.825 on each, while she finished the night with a 9.775 on beam and a 9.825 on floor. Sophomore Alexis Gross was second in the all-around with a 38.875.
Senior Storey Morris and freshman Kenzie Hedges finished tied for first on vault with 9.85s, while sophomore Caitlyn Ciokajlo grabbed her third-consecutive bars title with a 9.85. A pair of underclassmen in sophomore Kayla Sienkowski and freshman Shannon Mitchell won beam with 9.8s, while sophomore Kayla Hartley won floor with a 9.85.
The Wildcats started the night on bars as Ciokajlo led the way with a 9.85, marking the fifth-consecutive score of 9.825 or higher on bars. Harrison finished second on the team with a career-high tying 9.825, while Morris was third with a 9.8. Gross and fellow freshman Sara Shipley finished tied for fourth at the meet with 9.75s, while senior Whitney Rose scored a 9.725.
Kentucky then moved to vault, where it continued to score well. Morris and Hedges led UK with 9.85s, while Harrison and fellow sophomore Holly Cunningham finished tied for third at the meet with 9.825s. Shipley, who was competing on vault for the first time since the opening meet of the year, finished sixth overall at the event with a 9.775, while Gross completed the UK scoring with a 9.7.
Hartley led Kentucky on floor with her third floor title of the season. Harrison followed closely behind with a 9.825, while Hedges was third with a 9.775. Sienkowski continued her consistency on the event with a 9.75. She was followed by freshman Shelby Hilton and Gross, who each posted a 9.7.
Kentucky concluded the night on beam, with yet another impressive team score on the event. Entering the 2012 season, UK had only scored a 49.0 or higher on beam 11 times in 37 years, before doing it back-to-back meets this season. Sienkowski and Mitchell paced UK with 9.8s, while Harrison and Morris each grabbed 9.775s to finish tied for third. Gross and Cunningham scored 9.725s to complete the UK rotation.
The Wildcats will not have much time to soak in the victory as they will be in action again next Saturday at the SEC Championships in Duluth, Ga. Tickets to the event may be purchased at SECsports.com or by calling the Gwinnett arena directly at 1-800-745-3000.
For more information on the UK gymnastics team, follow “UKGymnastics” on Twitter and Facebook, or visit UKathletics.com.
1.) Kentucky 195.875 2.) Centenary 192.825
UK SCORES: Vault 49.125, Bars 48.975, Beam 48.875, Floor 48.9
VAULT: Gross 9.7, Shipley 9.775, Morris 9.85, Harrison 9.825, Hedges 9.85, Cunningham 9.825
BARS: Rose 9.75, Gross 9.75, Harrison 9.825, Shipley 9.75, Morris 9.8, Ciokajlo 9.85
BEAM: Sienkowski 9.8, Mitchell 9.8, Harrison 9.775, Gross 9.725, Morris 9.775, Cunningham 9.725
FLOOR: Hilton 9.7, Sienkowski 9.75, Gross 9.7, Hedges 9.775, Harrison 9.825, Hartley 9.85
All-Around: Harrison 39.250, Gross 38.875