Jan. 19, 2011
LEXINGTON, Ky. - The University of Kentucky gymnastics team looks to build on a solid first two weeks of competition when it returns home for its Southeastern Conference home opener against the No. 13 Arkansas Razorbacks in Memorial Coliseum on Friday at 7 p.m. ET.
Kentucky (2-1, 0-1 SEC) is coming off its first loss of the season to top-ranked Florida in Gainesville last Friday. The Wildcats performed well on several events against the Gators, posting a season-high score on vault (49.050) and continuing their impressive score on floor exercise (48.925). UK was also solid on bars, posting a 48.525.
"I think that we did some really good things down in Florida," assistant coach Chuck Dickerson said. "Obviously, there are some things that we need to fix and get more consistent at, but I tell the team every day that the season is a marathon. We need to just continue to get better every time that we go into the gym and as long as we do that we will be fine."
The Wildcats, who are ranked 27th in this week's GymInfo national rankings, are also ranked in the top 25 on three of the four events, including third in the country on floor. UK is ranked 15th on vault and 25th on uneven bars, while four UK gymnasts are represented in the individual rankings. Senior Andrea Mitchell is tied for second on floor with the highest floor score in the nation so far this season at 9.95. Fellow seniors Phylicia Reshard and Jasmine Minion are also ranked in the top 25 on floor with Reshard coming in tied for 13th and Minion tied for 16th. Junior Whitney Rose moved up in the vault rankings after a season-high 9.9 against Florida, sitting tied for 18th.
Kentucky, which is in the middle of a three-meet stretch against teams ranked in the top 15 (No. 1 Florida, No. 13 Arkansas and No. 5 Georgia), will welcome a quality team in No. 13 Arkansas (0-2, 0-1 SEC) on Friday. The Razorbacks have been led this season by consistent performances on all four events, including solid scores on floor. UA ranks fifth in the country on floor, eighth on vault, 22nd on bars and 23rd on beam.
"Arkansas is a very good program and is always a fixture on the national scene," Dickerson said. "This is another good challenge for us to get better against quality competition. Our girls have prepared well this week and hopefully we can show improvement Friday night."
The meet with Arkansas will be the annual father/daughter night where all father/daughter pairs receive two-for-1 tickets and a Chick-fil-A coupon for the first 50 father/daughter pairs. Along with all seven freshman gymnasts signing autographs after the meet, free feather pens will be given away for the first 150 kids eighth grade and under along with free admission for Girl Scouts and Brownies wearing their uniforms or tie-dyed t-shirts.
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