Dec. 2, 2010
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The 2011 University of Kentucky gymnastics team is set to compete against outside competition for the first time this season when it travels to Muncie, Ind., to face Ball State in its lone preseason exhibition, Friday at 7 p.m. ET inside John E. Worthen Arena.
“I really like how the girls came back ready to compete and get to work after Thanksgiving break,” assistant coach Heather Hite said. “There was a little bit of transition that first day to get their bodies moving and get back into the swing of things but that is expected. They worked really hard to get back in the competitive mode quickly and we are looking forward to the exhibition Friday.”
This will mark the second consecutive season that Kentucky has traveled to Ball State for an exhibition meet. Last year, behind an impressive performance from junior Whitney Rose (Frisco, Texas) and then-senior Emily Green, Kentucky defeated the Cardinals 192.150-187.450. Rose won the all-around and vault title last year, while sharing the beam title with Green, who was the overall title winner on floor.
The Wildcats return eight lettermen from last season’s team, including Rose, who advanced to the NCAA Gymnastics Championships on vault, becoming the first gymnasts to accomplish that feat at Kentucky since 2006. Kentucky also returns four seniors in Jasmine Minion (Memphis, Tenn.), Andrea Mitchell (Knoxville, Tenn.), Phylicia Reshard (West Chester, Ohio) and Colleen Williams (Naperville, Ill.), two juniors in Rose and Storey Morris (Tyler, Texas) and two sophomores in Caitlyn Ciokajlo (Brooklyn, Mich.) and Caitlin Satkowiak (Westerville, Ohio).
Kentucky will have seven athletes seeing their first collegiate action Friday night as the Wildcats have seven freshmen this season in Brittany Canfield (Chicago, Ill.), Karissa Carpenter (Indianapolis, Ind.), Holly Cunningham (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Audrey Harrison (Knoxville, Tenn.), Kayla Hartley (Versailles, Ky.), Paige Krall (Centreville, Va.) and Kayla Sienkowski (Frederick, Md.).
UK performed well in its Meet the Team event in mid November with Hite and fellow assistant coach Chuck Dickerson both saying they were pleased with the team’s performance after the meet. The exhibition will be held like a normal meet, with participants from each team performing on all four events.
“We are just looking for a little consistency than we saw at our Meet the Team event a few weeks ago,” Hite said. “We were very happy with the Meet the Team but we want to see this team take the next step in this exhibition. This is a great opportunity for our girls to get on some different equipment and in a different facility with a more competitive atmosphere. Meet the Team was more like a practice atmosphere, so it will be great to get out there and have that experience, especially with our freshman.”
The Wildcats kick off regular-season competition with Excite Night against Illinois and Northern Illinois, Saturday, Jan. 8 at 6:30 p.m. EST at Memorial Coliseum. This year’s event, which is being called “Excite Night…and all that jazz!”, will feature Cabaret-themed performances from the hit musical Chicago and is sure to entertain fans of all ages. Numerous UK prizes will be given away throughout the evening and the entire team will sign autographs following the meet.
Season tickets are available for only $15 for five exciting home meets. Season and single meet tickets can be purchased by calling the UK ticket office at 1-800-928-CATS. Tickets are also sold at the Joe Craft Center Ticket Office on the night of the event. Group tickets (20 or more people) are available by calling the ticket office in advance of the event.