March 15, 2012
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- After securing a winning regular season for the first time since 2008, the 23rd-ranked University of Kentucky gymnastics team is looking to conclude its regular-season schedule on a high note as it travels to Shreveport, La., to face Centenary in a dual meet on Saturday at 7 p.m. ET.
The meet will serve as the final tuneup for Kentucky (8-6, 1-5 Southeastern Conference) before it begins postseason action at the SEC Championships on Saturday, March 24 at the Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Ga. Tickets to the event may be purchased at SECsports.com or by calling the Gwinnett arena directly at 1-800-745-3000.
The Wildcats are coming off their best meet of the season, defeating George Washington and Ball State with one of the highest scores in school history of 196.025. The two wins assured UK its first winning regular season since 2008, while the high scored marked only the 10th time in program history UK has scored a 196.0 or higher. Kentucky has now posted a 195.95 or higher in two consecutive meets for the first time since the 2002 squad grabbed back-to-back 196s.
UK defeated the Colonials and the Cardinals on every event, while setting or tying eight season highs and seven career highs in the meet. UK scored a 49 or higher on three events, including a season-best 49.15 on uneven bars. Junior Caitlyn Ciokajlo took home the event title on bars with a 9.875, while senior Storey Morris won balance beam with a 9.875 and sophomore Audrey Harrison claimed floor with a 9.875. Harrison also took home her third all-around title of the season with a 39.175.
Head coach Tim Garrison and Co. have earned a 195 or higher in four of their last five meets, including a 195.5 or higher in three straight. UK scored back-to-back 195.05s at Illinois-Chicago on Jan. 28 and at LSU on Feb. 3, while it posted a 195.525 on Feb. 24 at home against Auburn/Pittsburgh. The Wildcats scored a 195.95 two weeks ago in Champaign, Ill., before last week’s 196. UK’s lone setback during that stretch was a 193.125 at highly ranked Georgia.
Kentucky’s recent success has moved it into the GymInfo rankings coming in at No. 23 this week. It was the second-consecutive top-25 ranking for the Wildcats, who entered the top 25 last week for the first time since preseason rankings were announced in December. It also marked the eighth time since 1996 that UK has been ranked in the top 25 at this point in the season (week three of Regional Qualifying Score rankings). The RQS of 195.255 is the second highest at this point of the season in school history.
UK is also represented well in the individual and event rankings. Kentucky is ranked 24th in the nation on balance beam with an RQS of 48.755, while sitting 26th on vault (48.835), 27th on bars (48.815) and 32nd on floor (48.84). Individually, Harrison is ranked 34th in the nation in the all-around competition with an RQS of 39.09.
Centenary enters the weekend ranked 62nd in the nation with a RQS of 190.385. The Ladies are coming off their best meet of the season, scoring a 193.2 in a home meet last weekend with Illinois State and Illinois-Chicago. Centenary was led in the meet by junior Meg Crowley, who earned Midwest Independent Conference Specialist of the Week honors for her 9.875 mark on floor exercise. The Ladies lone dual-meet win of the season came two weeks ago at home against Springfield College. Before last week’s showing, Centenary’s season high was a 191.475.
Fans can keep up with scores from the meet by following “UKGymnastics” on Twitter and Facebook. For more information on the UK gymnastics team, visit UKathletics.com.