UK's Rose Ties for First on Vault; Wildcats Finish Fifth
April 11, 2010
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Sophomore Whitney Rose (Frisco, Texas) tied for first on the vault and the 20th-ranked University of Kentucky gymnastics team posted its highest NCAA regional score since 2001 with a 194.975, but finished fifth at the NCAA Lexington Regional Saturday at Memorial Coliseum.
Top-ranked Alabama swept all team and individual titles to post a meet-best 197.400. No. 12 Nebraska finished second in three of four team events to register a 195.875. Both teams advance to the NCAA Championship April 22-24 in Gainesville, Fla.
No. 13 Illinois took third at 195.425. No. 24 Central Michigan charted a 195.125 to take fourth place. Michigan State finished sixth with a 194.475.
Rose earned her seventh vault title of the season and should discover on Sunday whether she advances as an event specialist, following a comparison of all vault scores from the five other regionals taking place on Saturday.
Alabama's Geralen Stack-Eaton won the all-around title with a 39.550, including sharing individual title honors on both the vault (9.950) and the uneven bars (9.900). Crimson Tide teammates Ashley Priess and Morgan Dennis claimed the individual title on the beam and floor exercise, respectively. Priess posted a 9.875 on the beam to finish alone in first place. Dennis posted the highest score of the competition with a 9.950 on the floor exercise to claim the top spot.
Sarah Schmidt of Illinois and Nicole Curler of Michigan State finished third and fourth, respectively, in the all-around and will advance to the NCAA Championships in Florida as the top two all-arounders from squads not advancing to the finals. Schmidt notched a 39.225 while Curler recorded a 39.175.
Kentucky started the evening on the uneven bars, finishing third with a 48.675 team score. Alabama was first on the event with a 49.375 followed by Nebraska at 49.100. Freshman Caitlyn Ciokajlo (Brooklyn, Mich.) led UK's effort on the uneven bars with a 9.800 to finish in a tie for 11th place. Sophomore Storey Morris (Tyler, Texas) finished second among UK performers on the bars with a 9.750 to tie for 15th place.
The Wildcats struggled on the balance beam and were forced to count a fall in placing sixth with a 48.025. Alabama won the team title with a 49.125, followed by Nebraska (48.650) and Central Michigan (48.650) who tied for second. Senior Emily Green (Penfield, N.Y.) charted UK's top scores in the event with a 9.725 to tie for 14th place.
Kentucky rebounded on the floor exercise, registering a third-place finish with a 49.200. The Wildcats finished behind Alabama (49.525) and Illinois (49.225) in the team standings. Green tied with teammate junior Jasmine Minion (Memphis, Tenn.) for third place with matching 9.900 scores. Minion's effort tied a career-high. UK junior Phylicia Reshard (West Chester, Ohio) posted a career-high 9.850 to tie for 13th.
UK closed the competition on vault, tying Nebraska for second place at 49.075. Alabama was first at 49.375. Four Wildcats finished behind Rose, tying for 15th place with scores of 9.775, including Andrea Mitchell (Knoxville, Tenn.), Hillary Ferguson (Richmond, Ky.), Green and Reshard.
"We dug a deep whole for ourselves after two events, but we fought hard and continued to compete," UK head coach Mo Mitchell said. "I told the team after the meet that one performance on one event doesn't dictate the type of season we've had. We made great strides and I'm proud of their efforts."
The Wildcats ranked among the top 25 teams in the nation for 12 consecutive weeks during the 2010 campaign and carried the program's highest regular-season regional qualifying score of 195.600 into Saturday's competition.