Georgia will return to action Friday, March 1 at LSU.
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - The No. 4 ranked Alabama gymnastics team tied with No. 19 Arkansas with both teams posting scores of 197.100. It was the Crimson Tide's highest road score of the season and the second highest score of the season.
"I'm so pleased with how our ladies stepped up tonight," UA head coach Sarah Patterson said. "It was our second highest score of the season and our second 197 in a row. I definitely think we're moving in the right direction. "
Despite the 197-plus score, the Tide experienced some adversity at the end of its floor exercise rotation when senior Marissa Gutierrez had an awkward landing on her first tumbling pass and had to be carried off the floor.
"We'll have our doctor's evaluate Marissa's injury when we get home," Patterson said. "We certainly appreciate Arkansas having a physician here. It was a bad landing and her foot was a little turned. We held Diandra (Milliner) out of the floor lineup because of a strained muscle in her hip. At the end of the day, I control the things what I can control. I never would have guessed that Marissa would have had a landing like that."
Her injury came on the heels of another 9.95 by the Houston, Texas native on the vault.
"This is definitely an opportunity for some of our young people to step forward and step up," Patterson said.
Alabama got things started with a 49.175 on the uneven bars, led by junior Sarah DeMeo's 9.9, which ties her career-best mark. Gutierrez scored her second 9.95 vault of the season, tying her career best and pacing Alabama to a 49.425.
"We scored well on vault, but we still have a lot of things we can improve on," Patterson said.
Alabama scored a 49.200 on the floor exercise, led by junior Kim Jacob's 9.9. It was her sixth consecutive 9.9 or better score on the floor exercise this season.
Alabama came fighting back after Gutierrez's injury, posting a 49.300 on the balance beam paced by 9.9s from junior Diandra Milliner, DeMeo and senior Ashley Priess.
"We had to go to beam right after Marissa got hurt and I told our ladies `We're going to do this for Marissa,'" Patterson said. "I'm proud of how we responded."
Alabama returns home to take on No. 5 UCLA on Friday, March 1 at 7:30 p.m. The Tide and Bruins last faced off in the NCAA Championship Super Six Team Finals when Alabama took first and UCLA was third by a tenth of a point. Tickets are available through the Alabama Ticket Office ( 205.348.2262) located in the lobby of Coleman Coliseum or online at RollTide.com.
Auburn Takes Down LSU
AUBURN - Behind a school record score of 197.175, No. 14 Auburn gymnastics made history Friday night defeating No. 6 LSU at Auburn Arena 197.175-196.975. The previous school record was 197.00 against Florida in 2004.
"I'm excited," Auburn head coach Jeff Graba said. "This is what we expect to see every night. It still wasn't a perfect night for us, but it's as close as we've gotten all year. I'm really proud of the team."
Additionally, more history was made as Auburn posted its fifth consecutive score of 196 or higher for the first time in program history.
Auburn trailed entering the final rotation, but responded with its top event score of the season to upset the sixth-ranked LSU squad.
"We feel like we are one heck of a floor team when we are on," Graba said. "If we do what were are capable of, then we know that's what can happen. I'm just so proud of this team and how they performed tonight. This is really exciting."
Behind floor exercise career bests of 9.925 for Caitlin Atkinson, 9.900 for Toi Garcia, 9.850 for Brittany Webster and 9.850 for Petrina Yokay and a season high of 9.850 for Caryn Kadous, Auburn set its best score of the season on floor exercise with a total of 49.450, its best score for any event this season. Bri Guy also set a season high on floor with a 9.925. LSU's team mark on the floor was 49.350.
The score is the third-best floor total in Auburn history and the highest since 2004.
Auburn posted its highest team score of the season on the uneven bars, recording a 49.275 on the apparatus. Career bests from senior Petrina Yokay (9.950), sophomore Megan Walker (9.900) and freshman Caitlin Atkinson (9.900) led the terrific effort from the Tigers.
Yokay's score, winning that event, was an individual season high for Auburn and marked the third time in her career that the senior posted a 9.950 on bars. Other scores for Auburn were: Bri Guy (9.800), Abbey Habicht (9.725) and Kait Kluz (9.150). LSU had a team score of 49.175 on bars, led by Sarie Morrison (9.950).
In front of a raucous crowd of 4,448, Auburn started the meet strong on vault, posting a 49.275, its second highest mark of the season. Sophomore Bri Guy set a career high with a vault of 9.925, winning that event; Guy's vault mark tied the individual season high for Auburn.
Atkinson posted a 9.900 on vault and senior Toi Garcia tied her season best with a score of 9.875. Yokay scored a 9.875 and freshman Kait Kluz and sophomore Brittany Webster each had vaults of 9.775. LSU's team vault total was 49.550, a season high.
Auburn's score of 49.175 on balance beam tied its second-best mark of the season. Sophomore Caryn Kadous tied her career best with a beam score of 9.875. Other Auburn beam scores as part of the solid beam set included Walker (9.875), Habicht (9.825), Guy (9.825), Atkinson (9.825) and Yokay (9.725). LSU scored a 48.900 on the balance beam.
In the all-around competition, Atkinson scored a career-best 39.550 to win her third all-around title of the season. Additionally, Yokay (39.325) set a career high and Guy, with a score of 39.475, tied her career best total.
Friday was Auburn's final SEC meet this season; the Tigers have home meets against Maryland (March 1) and Lindenwood (March 8) and a road competition at Pitt (March 16) before competing in the SEC Championships at Arkansas March 23.
For the latest on Auburn gymnastics, follow @AUGymnastics on Twitter.
Kentucky Posts Season Best at Florida
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The Kentucky gymnastics team produced its best performance of the season in the final Southeastern Conference regular season meet on Friday in the Steven C. O’Connell Center. Kentucky finished with a total score of 196.075 against the top-ranked Florida Gators.
Though the Wildcats dropped the meet 196.975-196.075, UK’s score was good for the sixth best in program history in front of an energetic crowd of 4,321. The Wildcats used season-high event scores on vault and beam to reach 196 for the first time this season.
The performance was especially impressive given the Wildcats were facing the nation’s top-ranked team in a hostile environment.
“We’re happy to score 196-plus for the first time this season,” head coach Tim Garrison said. “Now we need to build on the momentum created tonight as we move out of the SEC competition. With a Sunday meet this next week, we can get in a solid week of training on necessary improvements.”
Audrey Harrison also notched her sixth all-around title of the season and fourth in a row, scoring a 39.225, but there were plenty of other quality performances that contributed to Friday’s season-high outcome.
Starting out on uneven bars for the first time since traveling to Alabama on Jan. 25, Garrison opted to start with Sara Shipley. The sophomore made her return to the leadoff spot for the first time since that very meet, and the Florida native did not disappoint as she started off the evening with a 9.75 to get the meet under way.
Alexis Gross would cap off bars with a team-high 9.85 to give UK a 48.95 for the event.
UK then rotated to vault, an event that Garrison had stressed the importance of to his team all week long. Though the Wildcats did not stick any of their dismounts, the extra practice and added emphasis certainly paid off.
Shipley, having not competed once this season on the vault, was moved into the leadoff spot on Friday. She rewarded her coach and team with a career-high tying performance of a 9.8 to set the tone once again.
Kenzie Hedges tied her career high with a 9.85, while Holly Cunningham posted a team-high score with a career high 9.875. After Shelby Hilton closed the event with a 9.775, UK had produced its season-high total on vault with a 49.05.
As the halfway point came and went, UK moved over to floor exercise with the Cats appearing to be on pace for a season-high performance.
UK got off to a slow start on floor, but the duo of Shannon Mitchell and Harrison rounded out the event with 9.85s consecutively to pull themselves back to within striking distance of their first 196-plus team score of the season, producing a floor score of 48.925. Mitchell’s 9.85 tied her season and career-high output.
Heading to the final event with a three-event total of 146.925, UK would need at least a beam score of 49.075 to achieve a 196 even. Kentucky’s season high on beam going into Florida was 49.0, and they were coming off a rough performance the previous meet.
Kentucky made one lineup change on beam, replacing last week’s anchor Shipley with Cunningham. The lineup tweak was a gamble, but it paid off immensely.
In much need of a bounce-back performance in the event, the beam competitors responded with their best performance of the season while the pressure was on.
In one of the most clutch performances of year, Kentucky pulled off four scores of 9.825 or better including three consecutive 9.85s on the last three routines of beam. Not only did the Cats reach their mark of 49.075, they exceeded it finishing with a season-high 49.15. That mark was good for the fourth-highest beam score in program history.
“It was a confidence-building rotation for our beam team to finish the meet tonight with a season-high score,” Garrison said.
The beam performance propelled UK to their first score of at least 196 since March 11, 2012 at home against Ball State and George Washington when UK posted a 196.025.
Kentucky finishes the SEC slate 3-3-1 in conference meets, setting a program record with three SEC victories on the season.
The Wildcats will head to Muncie, Ind., next Sunday, March 3 to take on Ball State at 1 p.m.