March 10, 2012
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Coming off back-to-back weeks where it defeated a top-25 opponent, the No. 25 University of Kentucky gymnastics team looks to continue its recent success when it concludes its home schedule against George Washington and Ball State on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET inside Memorial Coliseum.
Kentucky (6-6, 1-5 Southeastern Conference) will honor its two seniors, Storey Morris and Whitney Rose, after the meet for their hard work and dedication to the Kentucky program. Morris and Rose have had a significant impact the past four years, earning countless accolades inside and outside the gym. Both were inducted into the Frank G. Ham Society of Character and are three-year members to the SEC Academic Honor Roll.
Morris, a native of Tyler, Texas, has been in every vault, uneven bars and beam lineup this season, leading UK in bars and beam average. Rose has also participated on bars in every meet with a strong average on the event.
As a team, UK is coming off back-to-back impressive performances, defeating two top-25 teams the past two weeks. Most recently, UK earned one of the biggest team scores in the history of the program last Saturday, posting a 195.95 – only the 11th time in school history a team has scored a 195.95 or higher – to earn a road win at No. 21 Illinois. Two weeks ago, UK started its climb up the rankings with a then-season high team score of 195.525 in a victory over No. 15 Auburn and unranked Pittsburgh.
For their efforts, Kentucky jumped into the GymInfo top-25 team rankings with a Regional Qualifying Score of 194.930. The top-25 ranking for the Wildcats was its first since the preseason rankings were announced in December. It also marked only the second time since 2007 that UK has been ranked in the top 25 at this point in the season (week two of RQS rankings).
The Wildcats defeated Illinois on vault and floor exercise, while it posted a season-best score on vault and beam, and the second-best score of the season on bars. UK grabbed a 49.125 on vault, which is the highest team score on the event since the 2011 squad set the school record with a 49.4 at Ohio State. Kentucky sealed the win over Illinois on balance beam with an impressive team score of 49.050. The high score marked only the 10th time in school history UK has posted a 49.05 or higher on the event.
Individually, UK shined against Illinois with junior Caitlyn Ciokajlo taking home event honors on uneven bars and sophomore Kayla Hartley winning the floor title. Sophomore Audrey Harrison and freshman Alexis Gross posted career-best all-around scores in the meet, going 39.225 and 39.0, respectively. Overall, Kentucky set or tied 10 season highs and 10 career highs in the meet.
The win against the Illini continued Kentucky’s road success this season as the Wildcats have scored a 195 or higher in three of their last four road meets. UK scored back-to-back 195.05s at Illinois-Chicago on Jan. 28 and at LSU on Feb. 3. In Kentucky’s previous road meet, before the trip to Champaign, Ill., it had a slight setback at top-five ranked Georgia, scoring a 193.125.
UK is also represented well in the individual event rankings, sitting tied for 24th on vault with a RQS of 48.835. The Wildcats are 26th on balance beam (48.615), 31st on uneven bars (48.690) and 36th on floor exercise (48.735), while Harrison is ranked 33rd in the nation as an all-around competitor with an RQS of 39.035.
Ball State is ranked 51st in the nation as a team with a RQS of 192.575. BSU is coming off a dual-meet win over Bowling Green last week, where it scored a season-high mark of 194.025. George Washington is ranked just behind Ball State at No. 52. The Colonials defeated Yale on Thursday with a team score of 192.875, while their highest score of the season was a 193.125 at Pittsburgh.
Live scores from the meet will be available online at UKathletics.com, while live video streaming will also be available through a premium subscription. The entire team will sign autographs after the meet.
Gymnastics parking is available in the following surface lots and parking structures:
• Joe Craft Center North E-Lot - large lot located north of the Joe Craft Center, and accessible via Lexington Avenue or Rose Street
• Memorial Coliseum E-Lot - located between Lexington Avenue and Martin Luther King Boulevard and south (towards Euclid) of the center drive lane. R1 Lot is also available as it is off patrol due to spring break.
• Student Center Lot - off Euclid Ave
• Handicapped Parking (first come-first served until full) is located in the northeast corner of the MLK South Lot, must have valid state-issued hang tag.
• Good Samaritan surface Lot - accessible off Martin Luther King Boulevard
• Parking Structure #5 - entrances off Limestone and South Upper
For more information on the Kentucky gymnastics team, follow "UKGymnastics" on Twitter and Facebook or visit UKathletics.com.