By Jacob Most
Dec. 5, 2012 -
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The University of Kentucky gymnastics team will get back into Memorial Coliseum for the first time this season Thursday at 6 p.m. ET, just days after the team checked in at No. 25 in the GymInfo Preseason Coaches Poll.
Admission to the scrimmage is free. The Wildcats will compete in an intra-squad meet as the final tune-up ahead of the 2013 season opener Jan. 6 with a four-team meet between host California, No. 13 Auburn and No. 19 Arizona in Berkeley, Calif.
“Our Blue/White meet in Memorial Coliseum allows us to perform in a large arena on competitive surfaces prior to hitting the road to California to start our season,” head coach Tim Garrison said. “To give it a true competition feel, we are splitting our squad into two teams that will warm-up and compete separately.”
Kentucky already took part in one intra-squad scrimmage in November, which ended in a tie inside the Nutter Fieldhouse Gymnastics Training Facility.
“The athletes had a good time with this format during our last intra-squad,” Garrison said. “I expect this time to be no different. With new skills for some of our returning athletes and several new faces on the team, it will be interesting to see who embraces the big stage and performs to their ability.
“This event will be an objective way of evaluating our team in an often very subjective sport. I’m looking forward to it.”
The No. 25 preseason ranking marks the third-straight season the Wildcats begin the season ranked inside the top 25, and the sixth time in the last seven years Kentucky begins the season ranked in the preseason poll.
Kentucky is coming off one of the finest seasons in program history after posting three consecutive scores of 195.875 or higher to finish the season with Kentucky’s best-ever three meet stretch.
The Wildcats return 10 letterwinners from the 2012 team, which finished the season ranked No. 25. The final rating made Garrison the first head coach in school history to take his team to a top-25 final ranking in his first season, based on records dating to 1996.
The Wildcats will face a challenging slate in 2013, which include home meets against five ranked opponents and traveling to face five more elite teams in dual meets. All eight Southeastern Conference programs were ranked in the preseason poll.
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