LEXINGTON, Ky. (2/7/14) – After three consecutive road meets, the University of Kentucky gymnastics team returns home to host top-ranked and undefeated Florida, tonight, Friday at 7 p.m. ET on DanceBlue Night in Memorial Coliseum.
In support of UK’s Pediatric Oncology Clinic and the on-campus organization DanceBlue, the Wildcats will wear special gold warm-up tops and fans are encouraged to wear gold to help join the fight against Pediatric Cancer.
A live video stream of the meet along with live results can be found on UKathletics.com.
Live updates from Memorial Coliseum will also be available on Twitter at @UKgymnastics.
The contest will be broadcast on Fox Sports Net and air on Feb. 15 at 3 p.m. ET with Brian Drebber and Lori Strong-Ballard on the call.
Wildcats welcome defending national champion Gators to Memorial Coliseum Friday
The Wildcats (4-3, 1-2 SEC) are 35th in the latest GymInfo rankings after four weeks of competition.
- UK is coming off a 197.300-190.950 loss at then-No. 6 Georgia on Feb. 1.
- The Gators (4-0, 2-0 SEC) are the top-ranked team in the country with a 197.413 average.
- UF, the defending NCAA and SEC champions, topped then-No. 1 Oklahoma on Jan. 31 in Gainesville.
As part of Friday’s DanceBlue Night, UK’s gold warm-up tops, along with head coach Tim Garrison’s gold tie, will be auctioned off on UKathletics.com.
Fans will also have the opportunity to purchase flowers and ribbons, and make cards and pictures for the children at the Pediatric Oncology Hematology Clinic.
All proceeds will go to DanceBlue, a year-long fundraising effort that culminates with a 24-hour dance marathon each February.
All money raised goes to the Golden Matrix Fund of UK’s Pediatric Clinic.
TICKET AND PARKING INFORMATION
Season tickets for the 2014 season are $15 for reserved seating in Sections C through G. General admission seating is located in all other sections. Reserved tickets for single meets are $5.00 each, regardless of age. General admission tickets are $5.00 for adults, $2.00 for Seniors (65+) and Youth (6-18). Children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge.
Tickets can be purchased by calling the ticket office at 1-800-928-2287. Tickets are also sold at the Joe Craft Center Ticket Office on the night of the event. Group tickets (20+ people) are available by calling the ticket office in advance of the event.
Parking will be available in all E-Lots (Employee Lots) surrounding Memorial Coliseum beginning 3 hours prior to the start of the meet. Additional parking will be available in Parking Structure #5 (adjacent to Kennedy’s Bookstore), which is a 5-10 minute walk or a short shuttle ride over to the Coliseum. The PS#5 shuttle picks up/drops off on Administration Drive, at the end of the pedestrian sky bridge accessed from the 3rd floor of the parking garage. The shuttle will be available beginning at 5:30pm and will end 1 hour post-meet.
Handicap parking is available in the E-Lot (Employee Lot) north of the Joe Craft Center, adjacent to the metered spaces, with a valid, state-issued handicap tag. These spaces are available on a first-come, first-serve basis until full. Please note that parking is prohibited in any R-Lot (Residential Lot). Vehicles parking in R-Lots without a proper permit, along yellow curbs, grass spaces or other non-specified and unapproved areas may be subject to ticket and/or tow.
SCOUTING NO. 1 FLORIDA
After winning the program’s first national championship in 2013, Florida hasn’t missed a beat in 2014 and is 4-0 on the season. The Gators opened the year with wins at then-No. 4 UCLA and 18th-ranked Auburn before home victories over No. 6 Georgia and previously top-ranked Oklahoma. UF has notched three scores of 197.075 or higher with a season-best 198.050 on Jan. 24 against UGA.
With a 197.413 season average, Florida is one of just three teams to average a team score of 197.000 or higher. The Gators are the nation’s top team on balance beam and floor, with a 49.331 and 49.444 average, respectively. UF is ranked second on uneven bars with a 49.344 and sixth on vault, with a 49.294. Gator gymnasts are in the top 20 on individual events a total of 13 times, including junior Kytra Hunter’s No. 1 ranking in both the all-around and on floor. Sophomore Bridget Sloan is first on vault and sixth nationally in the all-around. Sloan has been named SEC Gymnast of the Week three times, while Hunter has earned the honor twice, including when the duo shared the accolades on Jan. 28.
The Kentucky gymnastics team will host its first-annual DanceBlue Night Friday in Memorial Coliseum. In support of the on-campus organization DanceBlue, the team will raise awareness and money to benefit children with cancer who are treated at the Pediatric Oncology Hematology Clinic on the UK campus.
The teams will wear gold warm-up tops, which will be auctioned off on UKathletics.com following the meet. All fans are encouraged to wear gold, and flowers and ribbons will be sold to support DanceBlue. Fans will also be able to make cards and pictures for children at the Pediatric Clinic. All proceeds go to DanceBlue 2014, a fundraiser for UK’s Pediatric Oncology Clinic.
DanceBlue is a year-long fundraising effort, which culminates with a 24-hour dance marathon each February.
All money raised goes to the Golden Matrix Fund of UK’s Pediatric Oncology Clinic. Last year, the organization raised more than $1.1 million. More information about DanceBlue can be found at DanceBlue.org.
In the fall, the UK women’s soccer and volleyball teams each hosted a DanceBlue contest and combined to raise nearly $5,000 for the organization.
LAST YEAR VS. THE GATORS
For the second consecutive year, the Gators are the top-ranked team in the country against the Wildcats. Last year in Gainesville, UK turned in a then-season-best score in a 196.975-196.075 loss to No. 1 UF on Feb. 22, 2013.
The Wildcats used season-high scores on vault and beam to reach 196.000 for the first time in the season. Audrey Harrison also notched her fourth consecutive all-around win with a 39.225.
UP NEXT: AT METROPLEX CHALLENGE
The Wildcats return to the road Feb. 15 at the Metroplex Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas. UK will face a trio of top-15 teams in No. 2 Oklahoma, No. 3 LSU and 13th-ranked Arizona.
Kentucky travels to the Lone Star State for the first time since 2008, when UK won a four-team invitational hosted by Texas Women’s University.
LAST TIME OUT: AT NO. 6 GEORGIA
In the final competition of a season-long-tying three-meet roadtrip, UK lost to Georgia, 197.300-190.950, Saturday evening in Athens, Ga.
Despite the season-low score, the Wildcats fell just 0.050 points shy of a season-best performance on vault with a 48.850, and 0.125 points shy of a 2014-high on floor with a 49.000. UK’s floor score was its second mark of 49.000 or higher of the season.
Individually, five career high scores, in addition to three season-best scores, were set or tied in front of 9.380 fans in Stegeman Coliseum. Juniors Shelby Hilton’s 9.825 on floor and Shannon Mitchell’s 9.850 on vault, both career highs, and sophomore Amy Roemmele’s career-high-tying 9.825 on bars all resulted in team-bests for the Wildcats on each apparatus.
CATS RANKED 17TH ON FLOOR
Through four weeks of competition, the Wildcats are ranked 17th nationally on floor with a 48.988 average. Four of UK’s five best team scores have come on floor, with two scores of 49.000 or higher.
Kentucky recorded a 49.125 at Missouri, followed by a 49.000 at Georgia. In both meets, it was a consistent effort from the Wildcats that resulted in the high totals. At Mizzou, all six UK gymnasts scored a 9.700 or higher, while all five Wildcats to score at UGA posted at least a 9.775.
RECORD CROWD SEES EXCITE NIGHT WIN
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.
CATS BEAT THREE TO WIN OPENER
In front of a lively crowd of nearly 6,000 fans, Kentucky defeated three teams and won the annual Excite Night at the Kentucky Classic event to open the 2014 season in Memorial Coliseum on Jan. 10.
The Wildcats scored a 195.000, ahead of No. 15 Penn State’s 193.975. West Virginia placed third with a 193.700, while Ball State recorded a 190.875. UK senior Audrey Harrison won the all-around title with a 39.075 along with a win on beam with a 9.850. She joined redshirt junior Kayla Hartley with a meet-best 9.825 on floor.
The Wildcats claimed the top scores on vault with a 48.600, beam with a 48.675 and floor with a 48.950. UK’s uneven bars score of 48.775 was second to West Virginia’s.
2014 SCHEDULE NOTHING TO LAUGH AT
With 10 top-25 teams on Kentucky’s 2014 slate, including four of the top five, ranked in the preseason coaches poll, the Wildcats face one of the most grueling schedules in the nation. Among top-25 teams, CollegeGymFans.com has tabbed UK’s schedule as the toughest in the country, while RoadtoNationals.com ranks the Blue and White’s schedule as the second-best strength of schedule among all NCAA teams. Seven of the SEC’s eight teams enter the season ranked nationally, with the eighth, Missouri, receiving votes.
HIGHEST PRESEASON RANKING
The Wildcats earned their highest preseason ranking in team history at 21st. In the GymInfo Preseason Coaches Poll, UK is one of seven SEC teams ranked nationally, led by top-ranked and defending national champion Florida and No. 2 Alabama. In 2012, head coach Tim Garrison’s first season, the Wildcats were ranked 23rd while they were voted 25th last season.
UK returns 13 letterwinners from the record-setting 2013 team and lost just two. Among the returners are seniors Holly Cunningham, Audrey Harrison and Kayla Sienkowski along with redshirt junior Kayla Hartley. Harrison returns after winning a league-leading six all-around titles in SEC competition last year. The Wildcats welcome three freshmen, Alyssa Bertoni, Kirsten Canini and Taylor Puryear to the team in 2014.
SEC’S ALL-AROUND LEADER IS BACK
Senior Audrey Harrison is coming off a record-setting 2013 season. One of the most consistent competitors in the nation last season, the Knoxville, Tenn., native tallied a league-leading six all-around titles in SEC meets and totaled seven in all competitions. Harrison scored a career-high score of 39.425 at Ball State and also won all-around titles against then-No. 13 Auburn, No. 9 Arkansas, No. 6 LSU, No. 6 Georgia and No. 1 Florida.
A LOOK BACK AT A RECORD-SETTING 2013
Kentucky is coming off a record-setting 2013 campaign that saw numerous school records fall. UK earned a ninth-consecutive NCAA Regional bid with a school-record regional qualifying score of 196.06 after breaking the team best score twice. A 196.775 in the regular season finale at Penn State bested the previous high score, set earlier in the season at Ball State.
The Wildcats notched three wins against SEC opponents, the most in program history and earned a 3-3-1 league mark, also a school best. All three wins were against teams ranked in the top 15, with two over top-nine foes. In postseason play, UK tallied the program’s highest-ever NCAA Regional team score of 195.575 and finished fourth at the regional.
WINNING BIG AT THE CATSPY AWARDS
The Kentucky gymnastics team wrapped up a historic 2013 season by claiming the prestigious “Team of the Year Award” at the annual CATSPY Awards along with two individual awards.
Tim Garrison was named Coach of the Year alongside baseball coach Gary Henderson and rifle coach Harry Mullins, while sophomore Shannon Mitchell picked up the Scratch Award, given to the top non-scholarship student-athlete.
The 11th-annual CATSPYs recognized UK’s athletic and academic performance during the year.
Information provided by UK Athletics
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