FORT WORTH, Texas – Though their team’s historic 2019 season ended at the NCAA Regional Final in Athens, Georgia on April 6, three Kentucky Wildcats still have an opportunity to bring a national title back to Lexington, Kentucky. Seniors Alex Hyland and Sidney Dukes, as well as freshman Cally Nixon, will compete as individuals in the 2019 Women’s National Collegiate Gymnastics Championships on Friday at noon ET at Fort Worth Convention Center Arena, televised live on ESPN2.
Each Wildcat earned her spot on the sport’s biggest stage by posting the highest score among individuals whose teams did not qualify for nationals at the second round of their respective NCAA Regionals. Ties were broken by National Qualifying Scores on the season.
Hyland will participate as an all-around competitor after recording a 39.500 on April 5 in Athens. She finished second overall behind Oklahoma’s Brenna Dowell, whose team was crowned champion of the region. Hyland’s beam score of 9.900 would have also have been enough to earn a chance at a national title on the apparatus alone. The WGCA Regular Season All-American will rotate alongside UCLA in Friday’s afternoon meet.
Dukes’ floor routine will be on display in her home state of Texas. In addition to tying three different Oklahoma Sooners, Dukes’ 9.900 on April 5 matched that of Iowa State’s Meaghan Sievers, Rutgers’ Belle Huang and Kentucky’s own Mollie Korth. However, Dukes was ultimately given the nod based off the highest NQS among the four. She will compete alongside Southeastern Conference foe LSU when the Tigers take the floor on Friday.
Nixon’s work on uneven bars will continue for one more night. The Miami native’s 9.900 on April 5 finished behind three Oklahoma competitors and tied three more, equaling results from Georgia’s Alexa Al-Hameed, as well. For purposes of national championship qualification, Nixon’s NQS only needed to beat that of Missouri’s Morgan Porter. Like Dukes, Nixon will compete on bars during LSU’s rotation.
Hyland joins Jenny Hansen (1993, 1994, 1995, 1996) as the only Wildcats to compete in the national championship in all four of their collegiate seasons. Dukes was an individual participant in 2016 and joined the rest of her squad last season in UK’s first team appearance in school history.