No. 19 GymKats Finish Fifth at SEC Championship
March 23, 2002
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -The 19th-ranked University of Kentucky gymnastics team scored a 194.325 to tie for fifth place with Auburn at the Southeastern Conference Championship on Saturday, March 23. The No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs claimed the title, their 12th overall and sixth in seven years, with a 197.025 to top No. 2 Alabama's 196.925. No. 18 Florida finished third with a 196.425, while ninth-ranked LSU took fourth with a 196.225. UK sophomore Aronda Primault tied for fifth in the all-around with a 39.200.
"We're disappointed because we've been on a roll," coach Leah Little said. "However, I hope we got our jitters out of the way and we can use this as a rehearsal for regionals. This is a prestigious event and we want to do well. But the regional competition is more important, so we will just go back in the gym and get better. Aronda did great tonight. She has continued to be consistent and gets the job done."
UK (8-10-1) got the night started on the floor exercise in the second rotation after a first rotation bye. Freshman Michelle Gales led the way for Kentucky with a 9.825, while Primault scored a 9.800. Fellow sophomore Julie Joy scored a 9.775 as juniors Melanie Zaharias and Julia Gore rounded out the scoring with a 9.750 and 9.725. After their first event, the GymKats team total stood at 48.875.
Kentucky then moved to the vault where Primault paced UK with a 9.800. In an off night for the GymKats, Zaharias scored a 9.775, while Gore scored a 9.750 and Joy totaled a 9.700. Freshman Kara Prestigiacomo completed the scoring with a 9.675 to give team a two-event total of 97.575. Midway through the meet, UK held onto fifth place ahead of Auburn's 96.600 and just behind Florida's and LSU's 98.075. Alabama and Georgia were fighting it out for first place with Bama leading 98.625-98.450.
UK received another bye in the fourth rotation before moving on to the uneven bars. The GymKats scored a 49.050, the highest event total of the evening, behind a trio of 9.825s from senior Jessie Lemp, Gore and Joy. With a 9.800 from Primault and a 9.775 from Joy, Kentucky's total increased to 146.625 for a fifth-place standing.
Kentucky finished the night on the balance beam. Primault and Zaharias each scored a 9.800, while Joy added a 9.700. However, the GymKats scored a 47.700 after counting two falls to keep them in fifth place but tied with Auburn.
Kentucky now awaits its official invitation to NCAA Regional competition. With a No. 3 ranking in the Central Region, UK is guaranteed a spot at the Central Region Championships to be held at LSU on April 6.
Team Scores: 1. Georgia 197.025, 2. Alabama 196.925, 3. Florida 196.425, 4. LSU 196.225, t5. 194.325, t5. 194.325.
Individual Apparatus Results