In front of sold out Rupp Arena, No. 10 Kentucky gymnastics earned its highest opening-meet score in program history and earned an Excite Night win. The Wildcats scored a 196.075 in their home opener and beat Ball State (194.475), George Washington (193.775) and Southeast Missouri State (189.675) to improve to 3-0.
“I guess anticipation is the greatest word (to describe tonight). We were anticipating this night for the longest time,” head coach Tim Garrison said. “We heard a few weeks back that is was a sell out and we knew what the environment was going to be like. Just the feel of this arena is a completely different feel for us.”
Kentucky took home a title in every individual event. Junior Sidney Dukes ended Excite Night with the highest score of the meet, a 9.9, in front of 10,006 fans. UK took the top three spots on the floor, as junior Alex Hyland scored 9.875 and sophomore Mollie Korth scored a 9.850.
“I finished that routine and I had a pretty good feeling about it,” Dukes said. “I wasn’t sure if they’d put up a 9.9 this early in the season. It’s due to all of the hard work our team put in. Every person before me set up a good routine and that’s how I was able to get my score. The score just sets us up for the meets for the rest of the year and really helps our confidence.”
Sophomore Hailey Poland and senior Cori Rechenmacher scored back-to-back 9.825s to round out the scoring on the floor, as the team put up a meet-high 49.275.
“We need floor to be a solid event for us this year and floor has had potential,” Garrison added. “We were good on floor (last year) but we never really realized our full potential. This right here, starting on floor tonight, is huge for us.”
Junior Danaea Davis and Korth spilt the vault crown with scores of 9.850. Junior Aubree Rosa posted a 9.775, while junior Katrina Coca and Dukes rounded out the scoring with 9.750s. As a team, UK had the highest vault score with a 48.975.
Rechenmacher spilt the bars title with Maddie MacDonald of Ball State with a score of 9.850. In her Kentucky debut, freshman Ella Warren scored a 9.8, while senior Katie Carlisle scored a 9.775. Coca scored a 9.775 and sophomore Alaina Kwan also scored with a 9.700. UK finished with a 48.875 and shared the bars crown with Ball State.
2017 SEC Beam Champion Alex Hyland continued her winning ways into 2018 with an Excite Night beam title with a score of 9.850. UK took the top four spots on beam, as Dukes, Korth and Stuart finished behind her with scores of 9.825, 9.8 and 9.750, respectively. Poland scored a 9.7 to give the Wildcats a 48.950 and the team beam title.
Kentucky only had one all-arounder, and Korth finished fourth with a 38.600. Cami Drouin-Allaire of George Washington won the all-around title with a 39.100.
Kentucky will begin SEC play next weekend when the Cats travel to Arkansas on Jan. 12. The meet is set to begin at 8 p.m.
‑ GO CATS –
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