March 21, 2011
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The University of Kentucky gymnastics team has qualified to compete at the NCAA Central Regional Championship hosted by the University of Alabama at Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa, Ala, on April 2, at 7 p.m. ET.
UK is one of 36 teams from around the country to qualify for a regional invitation. Tuscaloosa is one of six national sites to play host to six competing teams, joining Ann Arbor, Mich., Athens, Ga., Corvallis, Ore., Denver, Colo., and Norman, Okla. The top two performing teams from each regional advance to the NCAA Championship finals on April 15-17 in Cleveland, Ohio. Top all-arounders and individual specialists advance as well.
Joining 30th-ranked Kentucky in the Tuscaloosa Regional is second-ranked Alabama, as well as No. 11 Penn State, No. 14 Illinois, No. 22 Auburn and No. 25 Central Michigan.
It marks the seventh consecutive year and the 23rd time in school history that UK has advanced to the NCAA regional competition. UK has finished as high as fourth place three times, including 2001, 2005 and 2006.
"Anytime that you get to compete in a NCAA Regional you have to be excited," UK assistant coach Heather Hite said. "We have already been there this year, so we are familiar with the travel time, the arena and the equipment. I think that will be big advantage to us. With two weeks to prepare we just have to work on cleaning some things up and being very precise in what we do. We have the skills and the gymnasts to get it done, we just have to be precise on our landings and fix the small problems here and there."
Kentucky has been ranked among the nation's top 30 teams nearly all season long. The Wildcats earned their invitation with a 194.945 regional qualifying score. UK is ranked 18th on vault (49.065), tied for 25th on floor exercise (48.985), 29th on uneven bars (48.785) and 32nd on balance beam (48.585). Seniors Phylicia Reshard and Andrea Mitchell have led the Wildcats this season with Reshard ranked 23rd in the nation in the all-around category with an RQS of 39.195. Mitchell is tied for 22nd on floor with an RQS of 9.875.
For ticket information, fans can visit rolltide.com or contact the Alabama Ticket Office at (205) 348-2262.
The Wildcats are coming of a seventh-place finish at the SEC Championship last weekend in Birmingham, Ala.