MINNEAPOLIS – After scoring above 197 for the fourth time ever, the Kentucky gymnastics team made history. UK posted a 197.050, sending them to the National Semifinals for the first time in program history. Oklahoma finished first in the regional, while UK defeated Denver, Iowa, Iowa State and Minnesota. The National Semifinal round will take place on April 20 at 7 p.m., live on ESPNU from St. Louis.
“This regional was a solid meet for us beginning to end,” head coach Tim Garrison said. “Beam is a tough place to start, but the team showed toughness and tremendous poise to give us a great starting score. Floor proved that we were her to perform and the lineup did well. The vault team continued the momentum and set up the last rotation as a head-to-head battle with Denver for a trip to the NCAA’s. The bar team closed the door with one of the best rotations I have been a part of as a coach. I am so incredibly proud of this team, not just for today but for what they have done since arriving on campus to make this day possible. They made history today.”
The Wildcats went into the final rotation down .150 to Denver. UK responded with a 49.400 on the bars, pushing past the Pioneers to send UK to St. Louis.
“This feeling is hard to describe,” senior Cori Rechenmacher said. “Just how far we’ve come as an entire team. The feeling I got my freshman year, knowing the senior’s careers were over. That was me this year, and my career isn’t over. I’m happier than words could describe.”
This is the moment the program has been working toward.
“We’ve worked so hard at this,” senior Katie Carlisle said. “Coming in and building the program, it feels amazing. As soon as the meet was over Cori and I burst into tears. We’ve worked this whole season and our entire careers, it’s an incredible feeling.
Kentucky started the six team event on the beam and went 49.025. Junior Sidney Dukes led the way on the beam with a 9.9, good for a third place finish in the event. Junior Alex Hyland followed with a 9.875, finishing sixth. Mollie Korth went 9.8, while senior Cori Rechenmacher and sophomore Hailey Poland rounded out the scoring with 9.725s. Katie Stuart started things of for the Wildcats and posted a 9.65.
Kentucky had a bye before heading to the floor. UK tied its postseason high floor score with a 49.400. Hyland scored a 9.9, good for fourth, while Poland, Cori Rechenmacher, Dukes and Korth finished off the scoring with 9.875s. Rechenmacher and Poland both tied their career highs in that event.
UK moved to the vault, where they scored a 49.225. Korth and Hyland paced the Cats with scores of 9.9s. Junior Danaea Davis went 9.85, and sophomore Alaina Kwan posted a 9.825 in her second competitive vault of the season. Dukes rounded out the scoring with a 9.75.
With their backs against the walls, UK went to the bars, and pulled out an impressive 49.400. Korth, Coca and Warren all pulled out 9.9s, with Warren’s being a career high. Hyland went 9.875, and Stuart rounded out the scoring.
“The feeling coming out of the locker room before bars didn’t affect us and we just wanted to keep the momentum going since we had a great meet so far,” Hyland said. “We’ve been working so much in the gym and we’ve done a lot of one around’s and we just needed to do what we have been doing in the gym.”
Kentucky had two in the all-around competition. Alex Hyland tied for second with a 39.550. Mollie Korth finished sixth with a 39.475.
UK will head to Nationals on April 20 in St. Louis at the Chaifietz Arena.