March 31, 2011
LEXINGTON, Ky. - For the 23rd time in school history and the seventh consecutive time, the University of Kentucky gymnastics team will begin its run in the postseason with an appearance in the NCAA Regionals when it competes against some of the best teams in the nation at Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Saturday at 7 p.m. ET.
Kentucky (9-15) will be joined at the regional by five top-25 teams, including Southeastern Conference foes No. 2 Alabama and No. 22 Auburn. No. 11 Penn State, No. 14 Illinois and No. 25 Central Michigan will also join the Wildcats in Tuscaloosa. Individual event specialists and all-arounders from Ball State, Bowling Green State, Centenary, Eastern Michigan and Western Michigan also make up the field.
The top two scoring teams advance to the NCAA Championships final in Cleveland, Ohio on April 15-17. In addition, the top two all-arounders not from a qualifying team as well as each event winner - if they are not already qualified with a team or as an all-arounder - move on to Nationals.
UK is making its 23rd appearance at the NCAA Regionals, including its seventh in a row. The Wildcats have finished as high as third twice at the NCAA Regionals, but has yet to advance to the NCAA Championships final. UK earned an invite after acquiring a 194.945 regional qualifying score during the season.
The Wildcats have competed against three of the five teams in the Tuscaloosa Regional, defeating Illinois in its season opener and falling to Alabama and Auburn in dual matches during SEC play. Last year at the NCAA Regional in Lexington, Ky., UK was joined by Alabama, Illinois and Central Michigan, with Kentucky finishing fifth with a team score of 194.975.
Kentucky enters the weekend ranked 30th in the nation and in the top 35 on each event, including a No. 18 ranking on vault with a regional qualifying score 49.065. UK is also ranked tied for 25th on floor exercise, 29th on uneven bars and 32nd on balance beam. Seniors Phylicia Reshard and Andrea Mitchell are ranked in the top 25 as individuals with Reshard coming in at No. 23 in the nation in the all-around competition, while Mitchell is tied for 22nd on floor exercise.
UK is coming off a seventh-place finish at the SEC Championships in Birmingham, Ala., where the Wildcats earned a team score of 193.950. Kentucky's best event of the night came on vault with UK scoring a 48.725, including 9.8s from Reshard and senior Jasmine Minion.
For ticket information, fans can contact the Alabama ticket office at (205) 348-2262 or rolltide.com.
Live video and live scores for the meet will be available at rolltide.com. For more information on the Kentucky gymnastics team, visit UKathletics.com or follow "UKGymnastics" on Twitter and Facebook.