UK gymnastics to face reigning national champion Florida


Kayla Hartley competes during her floor routine on Friday, February 20, 2015 in Lexington, Ky. Photo by Hunter Mitchell


By Madison Tinder

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After a record-breaking weekend for No. 25 UK gymnastics against Arkansas on Friday, the Cats now travel to Gainesville, Fl. to take on back-to-back national champion Florida.

The match is Florida’s annual Link to Pink match, which is aimed at raising awareness and prevention for breast cancer. Both teams will wear pink for the meet.

No. 3 Florida (5-2, 4-2 SEC) is back at home after losing against No. 2 LSU this past Friday. The Gators score of 197.425 is the nation’s fourth highest road mark of the season, but was not enough to top a consistent Tigers team that pulled away during the second rotation.

Two standout freshmen, Alex McMurtry and Kennedy Baker, posted scores over 9.95 on vault and on the floor against LSU. McMurty won her fourth vault title of 2015 while Baker placed second on the floor event.

Five different Gators have earned SEC Player of the Week honors so far this season including two who have earned the honor multiple times.

UK, on the other hand, is 4-4 and 2-3 in the SEC and is coming off a huge upset of No. 14 Arkansas.

Six Wildcats had their career-best performances on Friday night against the Razorbacks. Syndey Waltz had a career-best 9.9 on vault, while Kayla Hartley and Marissa Beucler tied their career highs. Cori Rechenmacher posted a career-high 9.875 on the balance beam, and Shannon Mitchell won the event and tied her all-time best with a 9.9.

The meet will be at 6:45 p.m. on Friday in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.