A Brief Discussion With UK Gymnast Krystle Cook
With the University of Kentucky gymnastics team headed to its 12th regional in 15 seasons this weekend, we take some time to sit down with standout junior Krystle Cook and discuss some of the details behind UK’s success this year.
You (team) are one win away from breaking the single-season school record for wins, you’ve been ranked in the top 20 all season, and you’ve produced some of the top team scores in program history. In all, you could argue this is the one of the best Kentucky teams ever. What do you attribute the success to and what sorts of things are you as a team doing to maintain this level of performance?
One thing I would attribute to the success of this season to our team's commitment to succeed. Each girl has the ultimate goal – NCAAs – in sight and conducts their entire life accordingly to make that goal attainable. The team as a whole, including the coaches, have accepted the sacrifices we need to make because we all know how rewarding it will be. As long as the team remembers our goals and the things we are capable of, then we can maintain our level of performance and achieve what we set out for.
Having never been to the NCAA Championships as a program, what would it mean to the team and the University of Kentucky gymnastics program to earn a bid?
I think making NCAA Championships would be great for our team and the Kentucky athletics program as a whole. To be the first team would lay the groundwork for gaining the much deserved respect from the gymnastics community. More importantly, it only takes one time of reaching the goal to start believing it can happen again and again. To be the team that starts that trend is as much a reward as going to championships itself.
Talk about your feelings on how the season has gone for team. Are you pleased with the progress? What types of things are you looking to improve on? What is your favorite moment of the season?
This has been a great and consistent season and I feel we have done better than we expected. We started the year fearing we wouldn't have sufficient numbers for each event but we prevailed. If there is anything that needs improving is making sure everyone goes into each competition without any doubts. Every time out we need to show them what Kentucky gymnastics is made of. The best moment of the year was the win against Auburn. To start the year wondering if we would be able to hold our own because of the hardships number-wise, and to then to beat an SEC team in our first SEC meet of the year, really set the tone for the year. We got the chance to show people that we are a force to be reckoned with and we won't lie down and let other teams beat us without a fight.
Talk about the Central Regional. No. 6 Oklahoma and host No. 7 LSU come in as the favorites, but neither team is as dominate as say No. 1 Georgia. What types of things does the team need to do in order to slip into the top two and earn a trip to Big Dance?
The thing our team needs to do this year is what we have done all year; focus on what we can do. We feel given the right opportunity we are just as talented as the two "favorites" of the meet. As long as we focus on doing what we trained and having faith in our capabilities, we can do great things and get in the top two. We have had a great year – one for the record books – and we are capable of doing big things when we set our minds to it and trust ourselves. We need to put it all on the line and I think we’ll do just that.
No. 20 Kentucky (14-12) travels to Baton Rouge, La. and host Louisiana State University this Friday for the NCAA Central Regional. The Cats enter the meet as the fourth seed in a six-team field, with the top two teams advancing to the NCAA Championships. The meet begins at 6 p.m. CT, with live stats available on ukathletics.com.