UK Gymnastics Off To Hot Start

02/21/2017 06:00 PM

Over the weekend UK gymnastics won the Maryland quad meet, defeating Maryland, Penn and William & Mary. They posted the highest vault score in school history with a 49.425, and this isn’t new; they’ve been shattering records left and right this season.

“It’s been an exciting journey just because this team has so much talent and we all work really well together so I think that’s whats gotten us this far and it’s been a really fun season. We still have a lot left, said sophomore Sidney Dukes.

So far this season, the Cats have posted program-high scores three times. Upset after upset, they continue to climb the rankings- they’re in at #11 currently.

“I mean, we broke our first record, we were really excited…I mean, we didn’t think anything of it, but like, we were very excited,” said sophomore Alex Hyland. “We didn’t think we were going to break it again and then we did and then we did a third time and just every time we do it it just shows what we’re capable of.”

Dukes agreed.

“No, I don’t think that we expected to get that high, but we knew it could happen.”

Head Coach Tim Garrison said his team is unlike any he’s coached in the past. The girls went through an intense summer and preseason to get to this point.

“These athletes have just taken it to a different level. You know, their competitive expectations of one another are high, very high,” Garrison told KSTV. “They can achieve bigger goals than what we could achieve in the past. So I think they’re competing at a level they’re comfortable with, whereas sometimes, I think in the past, we’ve been competing, trying to achieve more than what we were really capable of and hoping for an outstanding day and the best day of our life when we go into a meet to be able to compete- or at least be competitive against the teams we were competing with and now I don’t feel that’s the case. We need to go in and just have a normal day to be competitive and to beat most of the people we go against. Whereas before, that wasn’t the case, so that’s really where it is. It’s the fact that we don’t have to overachieve to achieve.”

Something unique about the Wildcats this season is their youth.

“The fact that we have a young team and we have no seniors right now and they’re doing so well definitely bodes well for whats to come in the future for sure,” Garrison added.

Hyland agreed.

“The future is amazing. We have no seniors right now so next year we have the same team members plus the new freshmen coming in, so I think we’re only going to go up from here.”

But for the time being, they’re focused on their present goals: being in the night portion for the SEC Championships, posting their highest regional score, making a run at nationals and keeping meet scores around 195.5.

“They’ve taken that challenge and really risen to it and I’ll tell you what, we’re looking for more in the next few weeks to come,” Garrison said.

“Our cheer is ‘one team, one dream, Wildcats’ and I think that we have a goal to achieve and we’re going to do it,” Hyland added.

The GymCats are back at home Friday night in a quad meet against Washington, Illinois and Northern Illinois. It is their annual alumni night. They’ve only got three meets to go before the SEC Championships, two of which are at home. Alumni night will be in Memorial Coliseum on Friday. The doors open at 5:30 p.m., where you can get your school spirit on with a face painter, and the meet begins at 7:00 p.m. eastern.

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