By Jacob Most
Feb. 21, 2013 -
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The Kentucky gymnastics team will travel to top-ranked Florida for the SEC regular season finale inside the Stephen O’Connell Center on Friday beginning at 7 p.m. ET.
The Wildcats hit the road for the first time in three weeks after having enjoyed the friendly confines of Memorial Coliseum for much of the month of February.
The meet will be broadcast on CSS with Melissa Lee and Courtney Oros on the call. Friday’s action will air on a delayed basis Feb. 26 at 9 p.m. ET, and on CST Feb. 28 at 1 p.m.
Florida will broadcast Friday’s action live with a video stream available on Gatorzone.com. Live scoring will be available on UKathletics.com.
Kentucky defeated Missouri 194.250-194.125 in Memorial Coliseum last Friday.
The win over Mizzou wrapped up the Wildcats’ home SEC schedule finishing 2-1-1 inside Memorial Coliseum in conference meets. Kentucky has already set a school-record with three SEC wins, and UK is guaranteed to finish with at least a .500 conference record for the first time in school history.
Kentucky checked in at No. 23 in the most recent GymInfo rankings. The Wildcats rank No. 14 on floor exercise, No. 23 on uneven bars and No. 24 on balance beam.
Audrey Harrison has carried the banner for Kentucky much of the season, and has been on a particularly impressive hot streak the past three weeks. Harrison has won the individual all-around title three-straight weeks, with career-high 39.3s each of the past two weeks.
The junior also won beam, and shared the honors on bars and floor last week against Mizzou. The Knoxville, Tenn., native now has 12 individual event honors this season, and 19 in her career.
Her five all-around wins in 2013 have all come against Southeastern Conference competition. Additionally Harrison scored a 9.9 on uneven bars, her third such score of the season on the event this season. She has five 9.9s on all events this season, and seven all-time.
Shannon Mitchell has also produced a multitude of impressive scores in recent weeks. Since the start of Kentucky’s recent home stretch the sophomore has set or matched a career-high on floor each meet, with a new best of 9.85 last week in an event-winning routine.
Freshmen have also stepped up for UK in the past few weeks. Tiara Phipps has notched two-straight season-highs on floor after stepping into the leadoff role against Georgia. She went 9.8 for the first time as a collegiate competitor to spearhead a final-rotation comeback victory over Missouri. Jill Chappel has also gone over 9.8 for the first two times of the season on vault the past two weeks.
Marissa Beucler stepped into the lineup three meets into the season and added solid contributions with an event title on beam in her first ever meet, in addition to having stepped into the vault lineup the last three weeks.
Alexis Gross has competed in three events the last three weeks, and she went over 9.8 on both bars and floor last week.
Friday’s meet will mark the fifth time this season that Kentucky faces a top 10 opponent.
Kentucky travels to Ball State next weekend as UK will begin a stretch of three-straight non-conference competitions leading up to the SEC Championships.