No. 5 Auburn Gymnastics to Host Kentucky Friday
Feb. 19, 2009
The fifth-ranked Auburn gymnastics team (4-3, 2-2 SEC) will host Kentucky (2-5, 0-5 SEC) on Friday at 7 p.m. in Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum. Live stats and video will be available on auburntigers.com.
Head gymnastics coach Jeff Thompson's Tigers will be looking for their second-straight Southeastern Conference win against Kentucky.
"We are looking to go out and just do what we have been doing, being consistent on all four events," Thompson said. "Hopefully we will be rewarded with great scores. This team is ready to go 197-plus and we hope it is Friday night.
"I've liked the intensity in the gym this week and the effort that everyone has put into improving," Thompson stated. "We have been doing a great job of hitting our handstands and sticking our dismounts. This has also been the best week of practice this year on both vault and floor."
Auburn improved to .500 in SEC action with a 196.175-195.400 win over seventh-ranked Arkansas on Feb. 13. Auburn was forced to count its first fall of the season, but rallied for the victory.
"The team learned last week that, even though we had to count a fall on balance beam, the meet wasn't over until Lindsey Puckett finished floor," Thompson said. "They learned that they can overcome adversity and that, if they believe in each other, they can accomplish anything."
For her performance against the Razorbacks, senior A.J. Mills was named SEC Gymnast of the Week. She is the second Tiger to be honored this season along with Allyson Sandusky who earned Freshman of the Week honors (Feb. 3).
Kentucky enters its final league meet of the season following a second-place finish last weekend at a tri-meet with third-ranked Georgia and Centenary. Georgia won the meet by posting a 196.975, followed by Kentucky's 195.150 and Centenary with a 187.350. On beam, the Wildcats registered a season-high 48.575. Highlighting the beam rotation was the return of junior Emilie Rymer to the event line-up. Rymer had been out for six weeks due to injury. She contributed a 9.650.
"Kentucky has the potential to score very well on all four events, but they have struggled on bars and beam, at times, this season," Thompson said. "If they get on a roll, it could make for a very exciting night. We just need to focus on doing our jobs and finishing every routine and we should have a very good result."
GymInfo's rankings moved to the regional qualifying score (RQS) system this week. Auburn moved up to fifth with a 196.200 average. The Tigers are ranked third on floor (49.165), seventh on beam (48.950), tied for eighth on bars (48.985) and is 12th on vault (49.000).
Kentucky has not met the qualifications for a RQS and does not appear on GymInfo's team or individual event rankings. Through six meets, the Wildcats are averaging a 49.042 on vault, 48.492 on bars, 47.712 on beam and a floor average of 48.737 for an overall average of 193.983.
Friday's meet will be the 65th all-time meeting between Auburn and Kentucky. The Wildcats own a 38-27 all-time series advantage over the Tigers. Last year Auburn traveled to Lexington, Ky., to open the season and lost 193.450-191.950. Meeting again at the SEC Championship, the Tigers outscored Kentucky 196.100-194.025. When the Wildcats last competed in Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum on Jan. 19, 2007, Auburn was victorious by a score of 196.475-193.800.
The meet has been tabbed as Dad-Daughter Night, with one free child admission with the purchase of an adult ticket. Also, SAA members will receive a prize for wearing their t-shirt to the meet, Tigers Unlimited Members receive two-for-one admission by showing their membership card at the box office and Project Uplift Night members receive one free youth admission by showing their membership card at the box office.
The first 1,000 fans will receive light-up shakers.
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