ST. LOUIS – For the second-straight year, Kentucky has a Southeastern Conference Champion. Junior Sidney Dukes took home a share of the SEC floor title after a 9.9 at the SEC Championships on Saturday night. As a team, UK finished fourth with a score of 196.550.
“It feels good to finish in the top four of the SEC for the first time in program history,” head coach Tim Garrison said. “Progress is always the goal and in many ways we progressed tonight. On the big stage against stiff competition, we got off to a strong start and showed no signs of being intimidated. Although we had our struggles, the team stayed energized and that is also growth. In a sport where tenths make the difference in winning or losing, advancing or going home, staying up and strong mentally is many times the deciding factor. I’m very proud of our All-SEC award winners and our SEC Champion Sidney Dukes.”
Dukes joined Alex Hyland and Jenny Hansen as the only SEC Champions for UK in program history. Hyland won on beam in 2017, and Hansen won nine titles from 1993-95.
“It was an amazing night and the team had so much energy,” Dukes said. “It was so much fun and so well deserved for this team to be in the night session and finish No. 4 in the SEC. It’s an amazing feeling continuing postseason to be able to win the floor title at the SEC’s. It shows all the hard work and dedication that has gone into this season. It’s a lot of fun being able to do what I love and make history in the progress.
UK’s fourth place finish as a team tied its best finish in program history and was the highest since the SEC went to the current format. UK’s 196.550 was the second-best score at the event, beat by only the 2017 score of 196.625.
LSU won the SEC Championship with a 197.400. Alabama and Florida finished in front of UK with scores of 196.975 and 196.825, respectively.
Three Wildcats were named All-SEC for their performance at the SEC Championships. The top-two scores from each session earn All-SEC honors, and Dukes, junior Alex Hyland and sophomore Mollie Korth won the award.
Dukes, was named All-SEC for her SEC Championship performance on the floor with a 9.9. Dukes placed 13th on the vault with a 9.875 and also competed on beam but did not score.
Hyland earned All-SEC after tying for the second-best second-session score on the vault with a 9.9. That score was good enough for a fourth-place finish. Hyland competed in every event, going 39.1 in the all-around. She scored on the beam with a 9.8, and went 9.725 on the bars and 9.675 on the floor.
Korth tied Hyland with a vault score of 9.9, handing her All-SEC honors. Korth’s 39.325 in the all-around placed her seventh overall. Korth scored in every event for UK after putting up a 9.850 on the bars, a 9.825 on the floor and a 9.750 on beam.
Kentucky started the meet on the floor and posted a 49.275. Sophomore Hailey Poland, freshman Ella Warren and senior Cori Rechenmacher all went 9.85 to begin the meet. Dukes performed her SEC Championship routine and Korth rounded out the scoring with a 9.9.
UK went to the vault, where Dukes started things off with a 9.875. Sophomore Alaina Kwan, competing in her first vault lineup of the year, did not disappoint with a 9.875 of her own. Junior Danaea Davis went 9.750, and Hyland and Korth earned All-SEC with back-to-back 9.9s. The vault was Kentucky’s best event at 49.300.
On the bars, the Cats were paced by Korth with a 9.850. Senior Katie Carlisle and junior Katrina Coca went 9.825, and Warren and senior Katie Stuart finished off the event scoring with 9.8s.
UK finished on the beam and posted a 48.875. Stuart paced the Cats with a 9.825 out of the lead off spot. Rechenmacher and Hyland went 9.8, while Korth had a 9.75. Poland finished the scoring with a 9.7.
Kentucky, a mathematical lock for the NCAA Regionals, will find out where it is headed on Monday afternoon. The selection will be shown live on the NCAA website at 4 p.m.