By Jacob Most
March 25, 2013 -
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The nineteenth-ranked Kentucky gymnastics team earned a National Women’s Gymnastics Championship bid, and will compete at the Morgantown regional on April 6, the NCAA announced Monday. The Wildcats will be making their 25th NCAA Regional appearance.
The Wildcats will be making their ninth-consecutive and 25th overall NCAA Regional appearance.
Kentucky will join top-seeded Michigan, No. 2-seed Nebraska, No. 3-seed Illinois, as well as host West Virginia and North Carolina seeded fifth and sixth respectively.
“After a disappointing performance at the SEC Championships we are looking forward to our next opportunity to compete,” head coach Tim Garrison said. “The Morgantown regional will be a tough competition, but the team will be ready.”
Six teams, five all-around competitors (who are not on a qualifying team) and one individual event specialist per event [who has a minimum Regional Qualifying Score (RQS) of 9.4] were named to each of the six predetermined host sites.
The top-18 teams are seeded nationally, based on RQS. Teams 19-36 are organized into three pods (19-24, 25-30 and 31-36) and placed geographically at one of the six sites, beginning with teams 19-24 followed by teams 25-30 and then finally teams 31-36.
Kentucky owns the No. 19 RQS in the nation. UK’s RQS of 196.060 is highest in school history as the previous program-record was 195.6.
Kentucky has broken the total team score school-record twice this season, most recently two weeks ago at Penn State.
The Wildcats scored 196.775 at Penn State to top the previous record, which they set two weeks earlier at Ball State.
Kentucky scored 196.5 at Ball State, breaking the previous school-record mark of 196.375 set 11 years earlier.
Competing in the nation’s top gymnastics conference, Kentucky finished the Southeastern Conference schedule with three wins, the most in school history, highlighted by a home-opening victory over then-No. 9 Arkansas. UK also beat then-No. 13 Auburn twice, and tied then-No. 6 Georgia at home.
Kentucky also scored more than 196 four-consecutive weeks leading up to the SEC Championship. UK had never topped a 196 team score two meets in a row before this season.
Audrey Harrison has enjoyed a breakout season with seven individual all-around titles, with a league-high six coming in SEC competition. Harrison has the second-most individual all-around wins in Division I this season.
Tickets for the Morgantown Regional are $12 each when purchased in advance online at WVUGAME.com or by calling the Mountaineer Ticket Office at 1-800-WVU-GAME. Groups of 10 or more can receive a special group rate of $9 per person at WVUGAME.com or by calling 1-800-WVU-GAME. Group tickets must be purchased in advance. Tickets will be available at the door for $15 each on the meet day.
Morgantown Regional (West Virginia University, host) – 6 p.m.
5. West Virginia
6. North Carolina
1. Austyn Fobes, New Hampshire
2. Luisa Leal, Rutgers
3. Kirsten Strausbaugh, Pennsylvania
4. Alexis Gunzelman, Rutgers
5. Kayla Gray, New Hampshire
Alt. – Joyce Li, Yale
Individual Event Specialists
Vault – Hannah Barile, New Hampshire
Alt. – Jenna Williams, Rutgers
Uneven Bars – Jenna Williams, Rutgers
Alt. – Jen Aucoin, New Hampshire
Balance Beam – Claudia Salinas, Rutgers
Alt. – Megan Milavec, Pennsylvania
Floor Exercise – Hannah Barile, New Hampshire
Alt. – Danielle D’Elia, Rutgers