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Gymnastics Closes Home Slate with Senior Night Meet

Senior Audrey Harrison is coming off a career-best 9.925 on beam last week

Senior Audrey Harrison is coming off a career-best 9.925 on beam last week

March 6, 2014

UK VS. NO. 22 CALIFORNIA & CENTENARY
When:
Friday, March 7, 2014 at 7 p.m. ET
Where: Memorial Coliseum, Lexington, Ky.
Tickets: UKathletics.com/tickets
Live Video: UKathletics.com | Live Results: UKathletics.com
Meet Info: Meet Notes
Additional Info: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The University of Kentucky gymnastics team closes its home slate Friday with a Senior Night matchup against No. 22 California and Centenary at 7 p.m. ET in Memorial Coliseum.

Friday’s home finale is also Senior Night, where UK will honor graduating seniors Holly Cunningham, Audrey Harrison and Kayla Sienkowski. In their four years, the trio has helped UK record the top three team scores in program history, along the best score in team history on all four events.

A live video stream and live results from Memorial Coliseum will be available on UKathletics.com. Updates can also be found on Twitter at @UKgymnastics.

Kentucky, 7-9 on the season and 2-4 in SEC competition, is coming off a season-best, school-record upset win over No. 11 Auburn Friday. The Wildcats scored a 196.275, with a program record 49.650 on floor. UK also scored a 49.175 on bars, good for 15th-best in the UK record books and 49.200 on vault, the seventh-highest total in team history.

Cal is 5-6 and 1-4 in Pac 12 competition, while Centenary is 1-12 and 0-3 in the Midwest Independent Conference. The Golden Bears, ranked 22nd nationally, competed in a rare Monday meet on March 3, a 196.750-196.025 loss at No. 10 Stanford. The Centenary Ladies haven’t competed since Feb. 23, where they finished third to Texas Women’s University and Southeast Missouri State with a 190.425.

TICKET AND PARKING INFORMATION
Season tickets for the 2014 season are $15 for reserved seating in Sections C through G. General admission seating is located in all other sections. Reserved tickets for single meets are $5.00 each, regardless of age. General admission tickets are $5.00 for adults, $2.00 for Seniors (65+) and Youth (6-18).  Children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge.

Tickets can be purchased by calling the ticket office at 1-800-928-2287. Tickets are also sold at the Joe Craft Center Ticket Office on the night of the event. Group tickets (20+ people) are available by calling the ticket office in advance of the event.

Parking will be available in all E-Lots (Employee Lots) surrounding Memorial Coliseum beginning 3 hours prior to the start of the meet. Additional parking will be available in Parking Structure #5 (adjacent to Kennedy’s Bookstore), which is a 5-10 minute walk to the Coliseum.

Handicap parking is available in the E-Lot (Employee Lot) north of the Joe Craft Center, adjacent to the metered spaces, with a valid, state-issued handicap tag. These spaces are available on a first-come, first-serve basis until full.  Please note that parking is prohibited in any R-Lot (Residential Lot). Vehicles parking in R-Lots without a proper permit, along yellow curbs, grass spaces or other non-specified and unapproved areas may be subject to ticket and/or tow.

IN THE RANKINGS
In the rankings, the Wildcats are 26th nationally with a 195.355 Regional Qualifying Score, while Cal is 22nd with a 195.650 RQS and Centenary is 66th with a 188.095. UK boasts top-20 rankings on both floor and vault. Kentucky is 19th on floor with a 49.055 RQS and 20th on vault with a 49.005. UK also is 28th on bars with a 48.870 RQS and 38th on beam with a 48.505.

The Golden Bears are within the top 33 on each event, highlighted by a No. 23 ranking on bars with a 48.965 on bars. The Centenary Ladies are ranked highest on beam at 57th with a 47.585 RQS and in the top 75 on the other three events.

RECORD-BREAKERS ON FLOOR
Through eight weeks of competition, the Wildcats are ranked 19th nationally on floor with a 49.078 average, including a UK-record 49.650 last weekend vs. No. 11 Auburn. Six of UK’s 12 best team scores have come on floor, with five consecutive and six of the last seven scores of 49.000 or higher.

In Feb. 28’s upset win over Auburn, the Wildcats closed with a school-record 49.650 on floor. The third-highest floor score in the country at the time, Kentucky counted five scores of 9.925 or higher. Led by senior Audrey Harrison’s 9.950, juniors Shelby Hilton, Kenzie Hedges and Kayla Hartley and freshman Taylor Puryear all recorded a 9.925. UK became the third team this season to have five scores of 9.925 or higher in one meet.

Kentucky recorded a 49.125 at Missouri, followed by a 49.000 at Georgia and a 49.025 against Florida. In all three meets, it was a consistent effort from the Wildcats that resulted in the high totals. At Mizzou, all six UK gymnasts scored a 9.700 or higher, while all five Wildcats to score at UGA and against Florida each posted at least a 9.775.

UK VS. THE CALIFORNIA GOLDEN BEARS
The Wildcats are 1-1 all-time against California, with a win in 1999 before a loss last season. Both meetings with the Golden Bears came in quad meets, both in the state of California. 1999 was part of a four-team contest hosted by UCLA, while last season UK and UC were joined by Arizona and Auburn.

Last year, UK notched the program’s best-ever score at a season-opening meet with a 195.125 to finish second, behind Cal but ahead of Arizona and Auburn. It was Kentucky’s first score above a 195.000 to open the season in program history. Audrey Harrison tied for first with a 9.900 on bars, while Kayla Hartley won floor with a 9.900.

UK VS. THE CENTENARY COLLEGE LADIES
Kentucky is 7-0 all-time against Centenary, including 2-0 in Memorial Coliseum. The Wildcats and Ladies last met in 2012, where UK pulled out a 195.875-192.825 road victory in head coach Tim Garrison’s first season. The win gave UK six consecutive victories on the season and secured its first winning regular season since 2008.

Two seasons ago, UK won all four events and claimed event titles on each apparatus in Shreveport, La. The Wildcats posted a 48.875 or higher on each event. Audrey Harrison won the all-around title, while Storey Morris and Kenzie Hedges shared the vault title. Caitlyn Ciokajlo won bars, Kayla Hartley won floor and Kayla Sienkowski and Shannon Mitchell shared top honors on beam.

UP NEXT: AT LSU, MARCH 14, 8 P.M. ET
UK travels to LSU for its final regular season contest on March 14. The Wildcats and Tigers square off at 8 p.m. a week before the SEC Championship in Birmingham, Ala.

LAST TIME OUT: VS. AUBURN
Kentucky recorded the fifth-highest team score in program history to upset 11th-ranked Auburn on Feb. 28 in Memorial Coliseum, 196.275-194.825. The Wildcats’ program-record 49.650 on floor was one of three season-best team scores, all which resulted in event titles for the Wildcats. Kentucky’s team score was also the second-best at home in UK history after a 196.375 last season.

Kentucky’s floor score also was the third-highest in the country this year as the Wildcats improved to 5-1 against Auburn in the past three seasons, all under head coach Tim Garrison. UK has won four consecutive regular season meets against AU.

Along with a school-record 49.650 on floor, UK posted a 49.175 on uneven bars, tied for the seventh-best in team history. Kentucky’s vault score of 49.200 to open the night is tied for the 15th best in the UK record books.

The Wildcats added 12 season or career bests in the victory as Kentucky won four individual events. Individually, Kentucky tallied the top five scores on floor, all with a 9.925 or higher and all career-high scores. Senior Audrey Harrison scored a career-best 9.950, while redshirt junior Kayla Hartley, juniors Shelby Hilton and Kenzie Hedges and freshman Taylor Puryear all scored a 9.925. UK posted the top two scores on balance beam, led by Harrison’s 9.925. Junior Shannon Mitchell tied for the vault title with a career-high-tying 9.900, while Hartley tied for the uneven bars title, also with a 9.900.

RECORD CROWD SEES EXCITE NIGHT WIN
As Kentucky beat three teams to win its season-opener on Jan. 10, it did so in front of one of the largest crowds in UK gymnastics history. A crowd of 5,839 witnessed the Excite Night victory, which marked the largest since 2007, when 6,875 were in attendance. It also marked the third-largest UK home crowd since at least 1997.

CATS BEAT THREE TO WIN OPENER


 

 

In front of nearly 6,000 fans, Kentucky defeated three teams and won the annual Excite Night at the Kentucky Classic event to open the 2014 season in Memorial Coliseum on Jan. 10.

UK scored a 195.000 and claimed the top scores on vault, beam and floor. The Wildcats finished ahead of No. 15 Penn State’s 193.975, while West Virginia placed third and Ball State fourth. UK senior Audrey Harrison won the all-around title with a 39.075 along with a win on beam with a 9.850. She joined redshirt junior Kayla Hartley with a meet-best 9.825 on floor.

2014 SCHEDULE NOTHING TO LAUGH AT
With 10 top-25 teams on Kentucky’s 2014 slate, including four of the top five, ranked in the preseason coaches poll, the Wildcats face one of the most grueling schedules in the nation. Among top-25 teams, CollegeGymFans.com has tabbed UK’s schedule as the toughest in the country, while RoadtoNationals.com ranks the Blue and White’s schedule as the second-best strength of schedule among all NCAA teams. Seven of the SEC’s eight teams enter the season ranked nationally, with the eighth, Missouri, receiving votes.

HIGHEST PRESEASON RANKING
The Wildcats earned their highest preseason ranking in team history at 21st. In the GymInfo Preseason Coaches Poll, UK is one of seven SEC teams ranked nationally, led by top-ranked and defending national champion Florida and No. 2 Alabama. In 2012, head coach Tim Garrison’s first season, the Wildcats were ranked 23rd while they were voted 25th last season.

RETURNING STARPOWER
UK returns 13 letterwinners from the record-setting 2013 team and lost just two. Among the returners are seniors Holly Cunningham, Audrey Harrison and Kayla Sienkowski along with redshirt junior Kayla Hartley. Harrison returns after winning a league-leading six all-around titles in SEC competition last year. The Wildcats welcome three freshmen, Alyssa Bertoni, Kirsten Canini and Taylor Puryear to the team in 2014.

SEC’S ALL-AROUND LEADER IS BACK
Senior Audrey Harrison is coming off a record-setting 2013 season. One of the most consistent competitors in the nation last season, the Knoxville, Tenn., native tallied a league-leading six all-around titles in SEC meets and totaled seven in all competitions. Harrison scored a career-high score of 39.425 at Ball State and also won all-around titles against then-No. 13 Auburn, No. 9 Arkansas, No. 6 LSU, No. 6 Georgia and No. 1 Florida.

A LOOK BACK AT A RECORD-SETTING 2013
Kentucky is coming off a record-setting 2013 campaign that saw numerous school records fall. UK earned a ninth-consecutive NCAA Regional bid with a school-record regional qualifying score of 196.06 after breaking the team best score twice. A 196.775 in the regular season finale at Penn State bested the previous high score, set earlier in the season at Ball State.

The Wildcats notched three wins against SEC opponents, the most in program history and earned a 3-3-1 league mark, also a school best. All three wins were against teams ranked in the top 15, with two over top-nine foes. In postseason play, UK tallied the program’s highest-ever NCAA Regional team score of 195.575 and finished fourth at the regional.

WINNING BIG AT THE CATSPY AWARDS
The Kentucky gymnastics team wrapped up a historic 2013 season by claiming the prestigious “Team of the Year Award” at the annual CATSPY Awards along with two individual awards.

Tim Garrison was named Coach of the Year alongside baseball coach Gary Henderson and rifle coach Harry Mullins, while sophomore Shannon Mitchell picked up the Scratch Award, given to the top non-scholarship student-athlete.

The 11th-annual CATSPYs recognized UK’s athletic and academic performance during the year. A spin-off of the popular ESPY Awards held each year by ESPN, the CATSPYS feature 24 individual and team honors, chosen from UK’s 22 varsity sports.

SEC DOMINANCE
Across all sports the Southeastern Conference is one of the toughest in the country, and gymnastics is certainly no exception. With seven of the SEC’s eight teams ranked in the top 25, including four in the top five, the league is primed for another season of elite competition.

SEC schools have won eight of the last nine NCAA Championships, including the last three, but the league’s dominance is nothing new. Seventeen national titles have been won by SEC schools since the inaugural NCAA Championship in 1982.

Florida captured the program’s first NCAA Championship last season to join Alabama and Georgia. Four SEC teams advanced to the Super Six at last season’s NCAA Championships.

The SEC has placed at least two teams among the top six in 30 of the possible 32 NCAA Championship events. A record five SEC teams advanced to the NCAA Super Six team final in 2009. The SEC also leads all conferences in NCAA individual titles (92).

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