No. 19 GymKats Head to SEC Championship
March 23, 2002
The 19th-ranked University of Kentucky gymnastics team travels to Birmingham, Ala., for the Southeastern Conference Championship on Saturday, March 23. Action is set to take place at 7 p.m. CT in Bartow Arena on the campus of the University of Alabama-Birmingham.
"We have proven with our performances this season that this is the best team Kentucky has ever had," Coach Little said. "Midway through the year we really started clicking and have scored a 196.000 three times, the only UK team to do that. We are focused on our goals: to win the conference, win our regional and advance to the NCAA Championship. This team believes it can accomplish them. We just want to go out relaxed and perform like we know we can."
UK (8-6, 1-4 SEC) heads into the championships riding a wave of strong scores. In the last five meets of the regular season, the GymKats have scored below 195.100 just once and 196.000 or above three times to average 195.665. In contrast, Kentucky started the season with no score greater than 194.775 and averaging a 193.685.
Kentucky's three 196-plus scores are the only three in school history, and the GymKats reset the school record last week with a 196.375 at Texas Woman's University. With a regional qualifying score of 195.280, UK is ranked third in the Central Region, and with another high score can vault into the top 18 nationally to secure the team's first seed in NCAA regional competition.
UK will face some tough competition, however. Along with Kentucky, four other teams are ranked in the nation's top 20: No. 2 Alabama, No. 3 Georgia, No. 9 LSU and No. 18 Florida. In the regular season, the GymKats finished 0-4 against the quartet, winning their only conference meet against Auburn.
2002 Southeastern Conference Gymnastics Championship