The #21 Kentucky Gymnastics team claimed the victory in their season opening “Excite Night” against West Virginia, Ball State, and Penn State tonight in Memorial Coliseum. The Cats finished the meet with a score of 195.00, as opposed to Penn State’s score of 194.050, WVU’s 193.700, and Ball State’s 190.950.
The Cats, per usual for home meets, competed in the Olympic rotation starting with vault with a line-up of Holly Cunningham, Audrey Harrison, Kayla Hartley, Kenzie Hedges, Shelby Hilton, and Shannon Mitchell. Holly Cunningham kicked them off with a 9.8, Hedges vaulted a nice 9.775, while Shannon Mitchell and Audrey Harrison posted a 9.725 and 9.7 respectively. Junior Shelby Hilton rounded out the rotation with a respectable 9.6.
From there, Kentucky competed on the bars. Amy Roemmele lead the way with a career best 9.825, and redshirt junior Kayla Hartley gave the Cats a solid 9.8. Montana Whittle contributed a 9.775, and all-around competitor Audrey Harrison scored a 9.7. Kayla Sienkowski finished with a 9.675.
Audrey Harrison tied her career high on balance beam tonight with a 9.850, while Shannon Mitchell and Shelby Hilton both gave the Cats a solid 9.750. Sienkowski and Cunningham finished the rotation with a 9.675 and 9.650 respectively.
Finally, Kentucky got to display their crowd pleasing floor routines during the last rotation. Kayla Hartley contributed a 9.775, Harrison claimed a spectacular 9.825, and Hedges, Hilton, and Mitchell all scored a 9.750.
Senior Audrey Harrison, who lead the SEC with six all-around victories last season, claimed her first all-around title of the year with an average of 39.075. She also claimed the beam and floor individual titles.
Kentucky’s Individual Scores:
The Cats will take the floor again next Saturday at 7 pm in a neutral site competition in Audrey Harrison’s hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee for the Ozone Invite. Just to remind you of how tough the SEC is in gymnastics, the conference has won eight of the last nine national titles, including the last three.
It was a great way to kick off what is sure to be a tough schedule for the Wildcats. I am excited to see how far they progress in the coming months, especially coming off their record-shattering season last year.
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