Alabama Defeats Missouri To Open Season
COLUMBIA, Mo. – The two-time defending NCAA Champion Alabama gymnastics team opened the 2013 season with a 196.450-192.025 win over No. 21 ranked Missouri. Alabama, ranked No. 1 in the preseason coaches’ poll, is now 57-8-1 in season openers under Sarah and David Patterson, who are in their 35th season leading the Crimson Tide.
“I felt like we did a good job tonight, I didn’t feel like we were great, but I think that’s down the road,” UA head coach Sarah Patterson said. “We were pretty consistent, but we made little mistakes. For example, we hit all of our routines on the uneven bars, but we missed some handstands. We were just a little tight in some things like that.”
Alabama scored better than 49 on all four events and won all five individual titles. In her first all-around since her freshman year, junior All-American Kim Jacob won posted a 39.275 for the win.
In its first rotation, junior All-American Sarah DeMeo led the Tide to a 49.050 team score on the uneven bars with a 9.9. In addition to DeMeo’s winning score, senior All-Americans Ashley Sledge and Ashley Priess scored matching 9.925s to open and close the rotation.
Alabama came back on the vault and scored a 49.175 on the strength of junior All-American Diandra Milliner’s winning 9.925. Sophomore Kaitlyn Clark and All-American senior chipped in a pair of 9.825s to the Tide’s vault total.
On the floor exercise, junior All-American Kim Jacob won the event with a 9.875, pacing Alabama to a 49.075 team score. Sophomore Brooke Parker scored a career-best 9.825 while DeMeo and Milliner closed out the Tide’s set with matching 9.85s.
“We had a few mistakes on floor exercise, and that was the event that we had the most question marks about coming into the meet because that’s the event that is the hardest to get back into coming off the Christmas holidays,” Patterson said.
The Tide finished out the meet with a 49.150 on the balance beam, led by matching 9.9s from Jacob and DeMeo, which were the top scores on the event, while Milliner added a 9.8 to UA’s total.
Gym Dogs Earn Road Win Over Arkansas
Shayla Worley and Kaylan Earls closed the meet for Georgia with a 9.9 and 9.875 on beam, respectively, to help 11th-ranked Georgia beat No. 12 Arkansas, 196.200-195.775 Friday night at Barnhill Arena.
The Gym Dogs (1-1, 1-0 SEC) posted the high score on vault, bars and beam, and a Georgia gymnast turned in the meet’s best score in each of those three events. It was the first win at Georgia for first-year head coach Danna Durante.
“It means a great deal,” Durante said. “We struggled at the end of the meet last week and we had some goals this week. The major goal was to trust each other and we did that. It was a good finish to the week and a good starting point on the road.”
Arkansas took the early lead after one rotation with a 49.1 on vault, while Georgia posted a 49.025 on bars. Christa Tanella and Chelsea Davis led the team with a pair of 9.85s, while Brittany Rogers turned in a 9.825.
Georgia then went to vault and topped the 49.3 in last week’s opener with a 49.325 behind two 9.9s by Cat Hires and Lindsey Cheek. Arkansas scored a 48.725 on bars, and the Gym Dogs took the lead at the halfway point 98.35-97.825.
The Razorbacks (0-1, 0-1 SEC) cut into the lead in the third rotation, but Georgia still maintained a four-tenths lead with a 48.825 on floor. Tanella had a career-high 9.875 in the No. 2 position.
Georgia sealed the win by outscoring the Razorbacks 49.025-49.0 in the final rotation. Cheek led off with a 9.85, and after a fall in the No. 4 spot, Worley and Earls clinched the win by going 9.9 and 9.875 at Nos. 5 and 6.
UK Earns Road Victory
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The University of Kentucky gymnastics team used a solid performance on all four events to gather an overall team score of 195.525, defeating Auburn inside Auburn Arena on Friday night. The victory was the first road win for the Wildcats in a Southeastern Conference dual meet since UK topped Auburn in 1999, and the first SEC season-opening win since 2008.
Kentucky (3-1, 1-0 SEC) has now won four-consecutive meets over the Tigers, including postseason play. UK posted a season-opening win against the Tigers last Sunday in California, while UK also defeated Auburn in a home tri-meet with Pittsburgh and in the SEC Championship meet last season. The four-meet winning streak against Auburn is the longest since UK claimed 11 straight victories over the Tigers from 1995-99. UK is 30-34 all-time against Auburn.
"We made 23 of 24 routines competed today," head coach Tim Garrison said. "We were consistent, but not exceptional. We are leaving Auburn feeling good about the win, but well aware that we are capable of much more."
The 195.525 team score and SEC victory continues the best start in school history for the Wildcats, who have never earned back-to-back 195-plus team scores to start a season. UK posted the ninth-highest score in the nation last weekend when it earned a 195.125 in a quad-meet with California, Auburn and Arizona. The team score was the highest in a season-opening meet in school history for Kentucky. The sensational start bests UK’s previous best start to a season when it posted a then-season opening school record score of 194.850 followed by a 195.525 in 2010.
Junior Audrey Harrison had a great meet, earning a 39.2 to win the all-around competition. Harrison started the night with a 9.775 on uneven bars, followed by a 9.8 on vault and balance beam, and a 9.85 on floor exercise. The all-around win for Harrison was the fifth of her career and first of the season. Overall, Kentucky earned 13 season or career-high scores in the meet.
The Wildcats started the night on uneven bars, posting a team score of 48.9 behind several career bests. Juniors Kayla Hartley and Kayla Sienkowski led the Wildcats by posting career-high numbers of 9.825 and 9.8, respectively. Sophomores Sara Shipley and Shelby Hilton also had career-highs on the event, both earning 9.75s. Harrison posted a 9.775, followed by sophomore Alexis Gross earning a 9.725.
Sophomore Kenzie Hedges paced the Wildcats on vault with a career-high tying 9.85, leading UK to a season-high team score of 48.975 on the event. The strong score from Hedges earned her vault honors, which is the second event title of her career. Junior Holly Cunningham finished second on the team on vault with a 9.825, followed by Harrison’s 9.8. Hilton posted a solid score of 9.775, while Hartley and freshman Jill Chappel earned 9.725s.
UK earned a team score of 48.875 on floor led by Hartley’s 9.85, which tied her for event honors. Harrison’s season-high of 9.825 was second on the team and third overall. Freshman Tiarra Phipps finished third on the team with a 9.775, which was a career-high mark, while Hedges posted a 9.725. Hilton and sophomore Shannon Mitchell each posted a 9.7.
The Wildcats performed well on balance beam, earning a team score of 48.775 to seal the victory. Harrison led the Wildcats with a season-best 9.8, while Mitchell earned a season-high 9.775. Sienkowski also had a season high score with a 9.75, while Gross and Shipley both posted 9.75s. Cunningham concluded the scoring with a 9.050.
Harrison won the all-around title over Auburn’s Caitlin Atkinson (39.150) and Brianna Guy (38.2).
LSU UPSETS NO. 3 FLORIDA IN SEC OPENER
BATON ROUGE – It came down to the final performers for each team, and in the end it was the eighth-ranked LSU gymnastics team that rallied for the upset win over No. 3 Florida, 196.875-196.575, in front of 4,074 fans Friday night inside the Maravich Center.
With the raucous crowd cheering her on, Lloimincia Hall nailed her floor routine to score a 9.95 and give the Tigers the win after Florida’s final performer Marissa King slipped off the beam, forcing the Gators to count a fall.
For LSU (2-0, 1-0 SEC), the win snaps an eight-meet losing streak against Florida dating back to 2009, and the victory increases LSU’s record to 14-10 against Florida in the Maravich Center.
The 196.875 marks LSU’s highest team score since a 197.150 against Iowa on March 12, 2010, and it is the highest-ranked win for the Tigers since LSU beat No. 1 Alabama 196.475-196.050 on Feb. 5, 2010.
“We beat an outstanding Florida team that has vied for the national title the last three years, so we are extremely proud,” LSU head coach D-D Breaux said. “We worked hard, we stayed in the process and we carried the same message throughout our training. It showed tonight that our team has a lot of desire and heart.”
LSU opened the meet with a 49.300-49.250 lead after the first rotation. Rheagan Courville and Sarie Morrison posted 9.90’s on vault to lead the way, followed by 9.85’s from Maliah Mathis and Jessica Savona and a 9.80 from Lloimincia Hall.
Florida (1-1, 0-1) took the lead after the second rotation 98.625-98.475, but the Tigers earned a solid 49.175 on bars to stay within striking distance. Jessie Jordan led off bars with a career-high 9.825, and Mckenzie Fox registered a career-best 9.80 in the second spot. Lloimincia Hall posted a 9.825, while Rheagan Courville scored a 9.825 and Sarie Morrison anchored with a 9.90 to tie for the event title with Florida’s Kytra Hunter.
The teams remained close after three rotations with the Gators leading 147.800-147.550 after LSU tallied a 49.075 on beam and Florida scored a 49.175 on floor. Ericka Garcia opened up with a 9.80 on beam, and Kaleigh Dickson followed with a 9.775. Savona posted a season-high 9.825, and Hall tied her career-best with a 9.875 after a fantastic stuck dismount. Courville earned a 9.80 to give the Tigers their final counting score.
In the final rotation, Dickson got the Tigers off to a great start on floor with a 9.825, and Jordan posted a 9.80 in the second spot. Savona fell and finished with a 9.250, and in the same spot in the rotation Florida’s Bridget Sloan fell off beam to score a 9.350.
Neither team could afford another fall, and LSU’s final three performers delivered outstanding routines. Mathis scored a 9.85, while Courville tallied a 9.90 and Hall produced the 9.95 to win the floor title. Florida received a 9.90 from Hunter and a 9.95 from Mackenzie Caquatto before King fell to finish with a 9.225. In the final rotation, LSU outscored Florida 49.325-48.775 to pull off the comeback win.
Hall’s floor title is her first of the season and the eighth of her career in the event. The bars title is the second of the year for Morrison and the 10th of her career. Hall finished second in the all-around with a career-high tying 39.450, and Courville placed third with a 39.425. Florida’s Hunter captured the all-around crown with a 39.675.