After winning three consecutive meets, UK Gymnastics headed to Fayetteville, Arkansas, ready to compete against one of the top teams in the nation, the Arkansas Razorbacks.
But coming off the winning streak was not enough to get the job done, as UK lost in heartbreaking fashion, losing 196.7-197.225.
UK freshman Katie Stuart dominated in the last meet, with career highs on both vault and beam, and she was ready to continue this success as the underdog against ninth ranked Arkansas. Stuart did exactly that by winning the vault event with a score of 9.90. She was followed closely by UK’s Aubree Rosa, who finished with a 9.875.
The deciding factor of the day came on bars, where Arkansas absolutely flourished. All six Razorbacks scored ahead of UK, four of which finishing with a 9.90 or above. UK’s Sydney Waltz led the Cats with a 9.825, but it wasn’t enough to stay competitive with Arkansas in this event.
The balance beam was one of the most competitive events of the nights, as both UK and Arkansas combined for eleven of twelve competitors scoring a 9.8 or higher, led by UK’s Alex Hyland with a score of 9.925. UK’s lone slip up on the event was with Amy Roemmele, who scored a 9.350.
UK competed well on floor as well, as all gymnasts finished with a 9.775 or above. Even with UK’s success, Arkansas dominated the event with three girls scoring over a 9.900, including all-around champion Amanda Wellick with a near-perfect 9.95.
Though Arkansas’ Wellick won the all-around with a score of 39.600, UK’s Sidney Dukes and Katie Stuart didn’t come far behind, as they tied for second with a 39.325.
It was a close battle up to the final event, but it just wasn’t enough to hold off one of the best teams in the nation on the road. Even with a season-best, and second highest score in team history of 196.700 for UK, the Razorbacks’ record setting display sadly could not be topped.
Despite the loss moving the Cats to 6-5 on the year and 1-5 in the SEC, the girls have plenty to keep their heads held high for. This was one of the most impressive performances in the history of UK gymnastics, and the team will be able to use that as motivation to build off of this for the future. They saw just a glimpse of their potential tonight.
UK will have to put that potential to use soon, as they have a tough, yet exciting matchup to look forward to next, as the girls will host No. 2 Florida Gators in Memorial Coliseum on March 4 at 7 p.m.