[Moderated by Matt Jones]
The Kentucky Gymnastics team rallied from a dismal balance beam rotation to take the win from the SEC newcomers 194.25-194.2. Audrey Harrison was amazingly solid for the Cats, as always, and took the all-around title with a 39.3.
As usual for a home meet, the girls took to the vault first. Marissa Beucler and Shelby Hilton both posted a 9.725, Jill Chappel and Kenzie Hedges both contributed solid 9.8s and Audrey Harrison gave the Cats a 9.725. Holly Cunningham was solid and gave Kentucky a 9.85, tying her season and career high.
From the vault, the girls transitioned to the uneven bars. Kayla Sienkowski kicked off the rotation for the Cats with a 9.575. Sara Shipley contributed a 9.75, with Shelby Hilton posting a 9.775. Harrison was near perfect with a career high tying 9.9. Kayla Hartley also gave a career performance, securing a 9.85 along with Alexis Gross who tied her career high of 9.875.
Now for the bad part of the night. From the get-go the girls struggled on beam tonight, an apparatus they usually dominate. The first fall by Kayla Sienkowski (8.95) seemed to shake the Cats’ heads up a bit. Beucler fell to give the Wildcats a 8.6, while Sara Shipley also lost her balance and scored a 9.025. Shannon Mitchell, Alexis Gross, and Audrey Harrison were the only bright spots in the rotation, posting a 9.775, 9.825, and a 9.575 respectively.
Kentucky rallied on the floor. Tiara Phipps rocked Memorial Coliseum with a high energy routine that landed her a 9.8. Kenzie Hedges posted a 9.75 and Shannon Mitchell gave the Cats a 9.85. As I said in my live-tweets, Audrey Harrison consistently kills any apparatus she is on, in this case she killed the floor with a 9.85. Kayla Hartley finished the night with a 9.7.
I can’t talk enough about how consistent Audrey Harrison is. It seems that she is Kentucky Gymnastic’s steady guiding light this season. The whole team is relatively consistent, but Audrey Harrison stands in the spotlight on every apparatus. Coach Garrison has himself one heck of a gymnast in her. The number one thing to take from this meet is that even the best athletes get shaken up sometimes. Overall this meet won’t be remembered for the unbalanced performance on the beam (see what I did there?) It will be remembered for a nail-biting close meet at home in Memorial Coliseum. The Cats are back in action again Friday (2/22) against the Gators in Gainesville at 7pm.
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