Errors cost UK in gymnastics meet against Florida



Mohammad Ahmad

After securing its first all-time win on the road against the then ranked No. 11 Arkansas Razorbacks, the UK gymnastics team returned to Lexington to take on the Florida Gators on Friday night. In their first meet at Memorial Coliseum this season, the Cats lost to Florida 196.325-195.950.

Kentucky is now 1-83 all-time against the Gators. The Cats’ last win against Florida came back in 1998 when the Cats upset the Gators in Lexington.

Today’s competition marked the first time these two competed against one other with each team ranked in the Top 10. Florida and Kentucky came into the meet tied at No. 5 in the College Gymnastics Association’s Coaches Poll.

UK opened the match with the vault event, scoring 49.100 points as a team. Mollie Korth had the highest score on the vault for the Cats with a 9.925.

Korth also led the team in the bars with a 9.8 and was the only all-around player deployed by head coach Tim Garrison, finishing with a 39.5 overall.

As the Cats went into the bars down by .275 points, Kentucky was slightly hindered after Alaina Kwan and Cori Rechenmacher each had a 8.85 and a 9.175, respectively. Kentucky was eventually down by 1.075 points by that moment in the match.

“We made a mistake, but we don’t want to dwell on that tonight. We’re moving forward with the same momentum we had coming in, and we just need to address what we can with each athlete,” Garrison said.

Despite the setback, the Cats came out determined to work with little margin for error. In the beam and floor events, UK scored a total of 49.350 points for each event.

Each of those totals are team highs for Kentucky this season in those events.

“One of the big things we’re taking away from this is how well we came back from the two falls on bars, so this is just a learning experience that will motivate us to work hard in the gym,” Korth said.

In addition to Korth, Alex Hyland and Sidney Dukes also had notable performances. Dukes and Hyland were tied for the team lead in the beam event with a 9.9.

The 9.9 score tied Dukes’ highest score on the beam this year, while it was Hyland’s best beam score this year. Dukes set another season high on the floor with a 9.925, tying her career high.

“I just came out and did what I usually do. Tonight I was able to let loose and have fun, and this is something we need to carry on with as a team,” Dukes said.

Kentucky’s next meet is on the road against the Auburn Tigers next Friday at 8:30 p.m.