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Gymnastics Wins on Senior Night

The 20th-ranked Kentucky Gymnastics team topped 196 for the third consecutive meet in a 196.375-192.7 win over Bowling Green during Senior Night inside Memorial Coliseum on Friday.

Kayla Hartley clinched the second-highest team score in school history with a nearly-flawless floor exercise routine, which scored 9.9.

The Versailles, Ky., native nailed all her tumbling passes and executed her dance elements tremendously in the anchor spot, igniting the crowd into a deafening roar as a fitting end to the 2013 home season.

The performance gave Hartley the event title for the second week in a row, as it was also her first 9.9 since the season-opener. The junior has three event crowns from the past two meets.

The Wildcats excelled on floor overall on Friday as they scored 49.125, which tied the season-high on the evening’s closing rotation.

Holly Cunningham has also claimed three event titles in the most recent two competitions as she won balance beam on Friday with a 9.875, which matched the career-high beam score she first received last week.

Kenzie Hedges took the event honors on vault as she stuck her landing for a career-best 9.875.

“I feel great about the team's performance tonight," head coach Tim Garrison said. "More importantly, I feel really good about where we are as a team. We're still making mistakes, but there are fewer of them now. We still have work to do and we will be back in the gym Sunday focused and ready.

"One thing I do not feel we need to work on is our expectation level. This team wants more."

Kentucky began the meet on vault behind Hedges’ career-score, and a 9.85 from Cunningham. The Wildcats led 49.1-48.725 after the first rotation.

Sara Shipley began uneven bars for UK in style with a career-high 9.85. Hartley and Alexis Gross produced quality routines, which were judged at 9.825. Harrison also had a great bars routine, including a stick dismount, which garnered a 9.8.

Kentucky totaled 49.025 on bars, and led 98.125-97.65 after two rotations.

The Wildcats would enjoy a solid run through beam as all five scores, which counted were 9.8 or higher. Cunningham led the way for the second week in a row, while Kayla Sienkowski also tied her career-high with a 9.825 on the back of a very nice dismount.

Kentucky scored more than 49 on beam (49.125) for the fourth time this season, and the third time in a row as another 196+ performance was well within reach heading to floor.

Hedges tied her season-best floor score with a 9.825 as she methodically went through all her passes. Shannon Mitchell also notched a 9.825 before Audrey Harrison recovered nicely from a disappointing beam routine with a top-notch 9.85 to set the stage for Hartley.

The hometown-favorite has enjoyed a top-quality junior season, and she capped off a great home win on Friday with arguably the best floor routine of her career to send the local fans home happy.

Seniors Caitlyn Ciokajlo, Caitlin Satkowiak and Courtney Ehrler were honored for their valuable contributions to the Kentucky Gymnastics program over the past few seasons in a touching ceremony following the meet.

The Wildcats travel to Penn State next Saturday.

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Photo courtesy of UK Athletics

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