Senior Audrey Harrison Set for NCAA Championships Friday
April 17, 2014
2014 NCAA GYMNASTICS CHAMPIONSHIPS
At the NCAA Championships, Harrison will compete on beam in the same rotation as the University of Georgia in the fourth of six rotations in the semifinal. The championship field features 12 teams and 12 all-around competitors in addition to each event winner at the six regionals that were not part of an advancing team. A total 45 competitors in the first semifinal, including Harrison, will vie for four spots in the individual finals on April 20. The total includes 36 competitors on the six teams, six all-arounders and three beam specialists.
The NCAA Championships will be held at the BJCC Arena, the same site as the 2014 SEC Championships. The top three teams from each semifinal will advance to the Super Six competition on April 19, at 6 p.m. The top four individuals in each event (including ties) from the semifinals will compete in the individual-event competition on April 20 at 2 p.m.
Live results from the three-day championships can be found on NCAA.com. For a behind-the-scenes look on UK's postseason travels, including videos, photos, commentary and more from team headquarters in Birmingham, visit UK Gymnastics Championship Central.
HARRISON'S CAREER HIGHLIGHTS
Became the 11th gymnast in UK history and the first since 2010 to qualify for the NCAA Championships after a 9.850 on balance beam at the 2014 NCAA Regionals.
Has been the team's all-around leader in each of the past three seasons and has tallied a total of 31 team-high scores in 2014.
Has won 33 event titles in her career, including a team-best 11 in 2014.
Was named to the 2014 All-SEC Team after a 39.125 in the all-around to place second in session 1 of the SEC Championships.
With a career-high 9.925 on balance beam on Feb. 28 against Auburn, became just the second gymnast in UK history to record a 9.900 or higher on all four events.
Won seven all-around titles in 2013, including an SEC-best six in conference meets.
In her UK career, has helped the Wildcats record the top three team scores in program history, a school-record regional score in 2013 and 2014 along with the best team score in UK history on all four events.
KENTUCKY'S NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS HISTORY
Senior Audrey Harrison is the 11th Wildcat in program history to qualify for the NCAA Championships and the first since 2010. Harrison, who will compete on balance beam, is the fifth to qualify on a single event and the first on beam. Whitney Rose, who finished tied for 16th on vault in 2010, was the last gymnast to represent UK at the national championship meet.
Jenny Hansen won an NCAA-record eight national titles from 1993-95, including four in 1995, also an NCAA record. Along with all-around titles in 1993, 94 and 95, she won vault and beam in 1994 and vault, beam and floor in 1995.
Harrison will be the 10th UK gymnast to compete at the NCAA Championships after Jennifer Simmons, who qualified in 1999 on vault, did not compete.
HARRISON IN THE RECORD BOOKS
With a 9.925 on beam on Feb. 28 against Auburn, senior Audrey Harrison became just the second Wildcat in program history to score a 9.900 or higher on all four events in her career. The Knoxville, Tenn., native had notched a 9.900 on vault, bars and floor entering her senior season, but her career-best on beam was a 9.850 until her 9.925 in UK's third home meet. That same night, she bested her career-high on floor, with a 9.950.
The conference's leading all-around winner in SEC competition last season, Harrison has won 11 event titles this year and has posted the teams' top score on floor, beam and all-around. Her RQS scores also rank within the top two on the team on two events plus the all-around.
LAST TIME OUT: RECORD-SETTING NCAA REGIONAL
For the second consecutive season, Kentucky broke the school record NCAA Regional score with a 195.925 to place fourth on April 5 at Rec Hall in State College, Pa.
The Wildcats set a UK record by 0.350 points a year after a 195.575 broke the previous UK record. No. 1 Florida won the 2014 Regional with a 197.050, while host-Penn State finished second with a 196.725.
Along with a win on beam, senior Audrey Harrison added an all-around score of 39.300 to place sixth, just shy of an NCAA qualifying score in the event. Sophomore Tiara Phipps finished tied for second on floor with a 9.925, while freshman Taylor Puryear also reached the podium with a 9.900 on floor to tie for fourth.
RECORD-BREAKERS ON FLOOR
UK's most consistent and highest-scoring event this season has been floor exercise. Kentucky is ranked 18h nationally with a 49.185 RQS, led by a program-record 49.650 on Feb. 28.
Kentucky's highest event scores in all but three meets have come on floor, while three of UK's top four team scores also are on floor exercise. The Wildcats have scored a 49.000 or higher in eight of their last 10 meets.
In Feb. 28's upset win over Auburn, the Wildcats closed with a school-record 49.650 on floor. The third-highest floor score in the country at the time, Kentucky became the third team this season to count five scores of 9.925 or higher in one meet. Led by senior Audrey Harrison's 9.950, juniors Shelby Hilton, Kenzie Hedges and Kayla Hartley and freshman Taylor Puryear all recorded a 9.925.
In nearly all of UK's 12 meets, it has been a consistent effort from the Wildcats that resulted in high totals. Kentucky has had 10 meets where it counted all five scores at 9.725 or higher and six with five scores of 9.775 or above. The Wildcats have also racked up seven meets with all six scores recorded at a 9.700 or better.
NO ONE HAS FACED MORE RANKED TEAMS
No SEC team has faced more ranked opponents than the Wildcats. In Kentucky's 11 regular season meets this year, UK has squared off against 13 ranked teams, two more than Alabama's 11, the next-highest team. Just one of Kentucky's meets, at Missouri on Jan. 24, did not feature a ranked opponent.
In the regular season, UK has faced the No. 1 team twice, vs. Florida on Feb. 7 and again at LSU on March 14, while the Wildcats have faced eight teams ranked eighth or higher.
In the current GymInfo Top 25, Kentucky has competed against all of the top four teams at least once and six of the top nine. When the Wildcats go up against No. 12 Oregon State and No. 23 New Hampshire at the NCAA Regionals, it will mark the 12th and 13th school in the current top 25 that UK has faced in 2014.
THE WILDCATS VS. THE SEC
Kentucky finished its SEC schedule with a 2-5 record, with wins over No. 11 Auburn and at Missouri. The Wildcats' win at Mizzou gave them road wins in league competition in back-to-back seasons after a win at Auburn in 2013. Before last season, UK's last road SEC win came in 1999.
UK's five losses all came to higher-ranked teams, including two meets against the No. 1 team, vs. Florida and at LSU. All but one of UK's seven league meets came against ranked opponents, while Kentucky faced 13 ranked teams this season, the most of any SEC team.
HARRISON, HARTLEY & MITCHELL EARN ALL-SEC HONORS
Audrey Harrison, Kayla Hartley and Shannon Mitchell were named to the All-SEC Team. Harrison earned All-SEC honors for the first time in her career thanks to a 39.125 all-around score at the SEC Championships, the second-highest in the first session. Hartley was named All-SEC for the second time in her career after a 9.850 on uneven bars and Mitchell earned her first career award thanks to a 9.875 on vault along with a 9.850 on balance beam.
RECORD SCORES AT HOME
Kentucky has had unparalleled success at home in 2014. The friendly confines of Memorial Coliseum has yielded a 6-1 record for the home team, the best mark since 1991 when UK also went 6-1. The mark includes a win over then-No. 15 Penn State to open the season, along with victories over No. 11 Auburn and No. 22 California, all upsets.
With the wins have come record-breaking scores. In Feb. 28's win over AU, Kentucky's 49.650 on floor was a new school record by 0.200 points, while its 196.275 team score is the fifth-best in program history and the second best at home. A week later, a 196.150 went down as the third-best at home in team history.
RECORD CROWDS AT HOME
In UK's four home meets this season, the Wildcats averaged 3,265 fans in Memorial Coliseum. The average, ranked eighth nationally, marks the best home attendance for UK since at least the 1998 season, when records became available. Since 1998, the Wildcats have never averaged more than 3,000 fans.
As Kentucky beat three teams to win its season-opener on Jan. 10, it did so in front of one of the largest crowds in UK gymnastics history. A crowd of 5,839 witnessed the Excite Night victory, which marked the largest since 2007, when 6,875 were in attendance. It also marked the third-largest UK home crowd since at least 1997.